South Korean telecoms firms speaking to The Korea Herald have said that the iPhone 12 lineup will launch ahead of its usual schedule. Normally, the release of new iPhones in South Korea comes about one month after launch in the United States. Last year, the iPhone 11 arrived in South Korea on October 25, considerably later than its September 20 launch in the U.S.
South Korea was the first to commercialize 5G telecommunications in April 2019, and as of July this year, the country already has almost eight million 5G users. South Korea is expected to be a key market for Apple since the iPhone 12 lineup will be the first with 5G, so this may explain the earlier launch. Crucially, the iPhone 12 Pro Max may be the first smartphone available in South Korea to support the high-frequency 28GHz band for 5G communications, making it considerably more appealing to those with access to the frequency.
Apple is also likely looking to expand its South Korean market share, where it currently owns just 19 percent of the market. Samsung dominates the South Korean smartphone market at 67 percent. An earlier launch, in alignment with other key regions such as the United Kingdom and Germany, may help the company gain more of a foothold in South Korea, and indicates how the country is increasingly important to Apple.
The sources added that South Korean telecoms operators are preparing for the launch of iPhone 12 models in late October or early November. Rumors now seem to be pointing toward the iPhone 12 being unveiled on Tuesday, October 13, followed by a launch on October 23.