The iPhone 12 became the world’s best-selling 5G smartphone in October, despite preorders opening halfway through the month, says Counterpoint Research.

The company split out the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro …

That saw the iPhone 12 capture 16% of the total global market, while the iPhone 12 Pro achieved a further 8%. The closest competitor was Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G, which hit 4%. The top ten was completed by three Huawei models, two Oppo ones, and two other Samsung phones (see table below).

Counterpoint says three factors explain the success of the launch.

There is a large pent-up demand for 5G upgrade, especially within the iOS base, which is now getting converted into sales. This was complemented by strong carrier promos, especially in the US, which accounted for over one-third of the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro sales for the month. All carriers were offering the iPhone 12 for $0 through a mix of the trade-in and unlimited plans.

China and Japan also saw strong initial demand for the iPhone 12 series. Compared to most of the other 5G models, which have a regional presence, the iPhone 12 has a wider market coverage – it is available in over 140 countries, thus helping sales.

The market intelligence firm expects the latest iPhone models to continue to sell well into the new year.

Going forward, the demand for the iPhone 12 series is likely to remain strong through Q4 2020, especially during the festive season in December. Strong sales for Apple will also drive the volumes in the premium segment, raising the global ASP. Due to the late launch, some of the sales will be pushed to subsequent months, thus maintaining the momentum of the iPhone 12 series in early 2021 as well.

Finally, the report notes that the iPhone 12 will drive investment in the faster mmWave variant of 5G – which is important to Apple’s future plans.

The iPhone 12 series has also given a push to mmWave. The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro for the US are capable of mmWave support. As a result, the penetration of mmWave capable smartphones increased to 12% in October compared to 5% in September. The popularity of the iPhone 12 also means that there will be a large installed base of mmWave capable devices in the US. This is important because it gives operators an incentive to deploy mmWave infrastructure rapidly.

The high throughput and low latency provided by mmWave will help unlock the true potential of 5G. With the mmWave network and devices in place, it would lay a solid foundation for Apple to leverage the power of mmWave in segments like AR/VR.

The long-awaited Apple Glasses are also likely to make use of mmWave 5G.

A succession of supply-chain reports back the idea that iPhone 12 sales are living up to the hype.

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