Will an Apple iPhone 12 with 5G finally get you to upgrade?

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Many of you haven't felt compelled to update your iPhone or other smartphone lately.

The newest handsets from Apple, Samsung and all the rest have certainly been better. But recent improvements to the camera and other features have mostly been marginal, preventing you from shelling out big bucks for a replacement, even with trade-in sweeteners.

This my-current-phone-is good-enough attitude is the reason many of you hold onto your devices for as long as a presidential term.

Is the near four-year replacement cycle about to shrink?

An investor note from Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty—as reported by MarketWatch and other —raises the possibility, especially if Apple, as many observers expect, gets around to delivering its first 5G iPhone come September. That's the usual time period when Apple introduces new iPhones.

Samsung and others have already delivered their maiden devices with 5G, even though these are still relatively early days for the rollout of the speedy next-generation networks, which all the major U.S. wireless carriers are banking on.

But Apple has been in no hurry to join the 5G bandwagon, and there's not even a guarantee that they'll go all in on 5G in the fall with the iPhone 12 or whatever the next iteration of the flagship will be called.

And even if Apple does embrace 5G, there's the added question of how much it will add to the cost of a new iPhone, some models of which are already priced well past a grand.

New iPhones with longer battery life—always high on the consumer wish list—might also push customers to finally upgrade, especially if the extra juice gives a helpful jolt to augmented reality apps.

Morgan Stanley raised its price estimate for Apple to $368, up from an earlier $296 estimate. Apple shares closed Friday at $318.73.

Apple has not responded to a U.S. TODAY request for comment.


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