By CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — Apple is expected to unveil the company’s first-ever 5G iPhone at its highly-anticipated event on Tuesday.

“To set the scene, it is the biggest unveil in probably a decade for [Tim] Cook,” tech industry analyst Dan Ives, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities, told ABC News. “I think it’s a once-in-a-decade product cycle around 5G.”

“Going into the launch event, it’s really Apple laying the groundwork for why consumers should upgrade to 5G, and what makes it such a transformational technology upgrade for the iPhone 12,” he added.

The event is slated to kick off at 1 p.m. ET and will be streamed live on Apple’s website. In its only promotional material for the event, Apple teased it would be about “speed” — which seemed to confirm the leaks and reports that the next iPhone will be 5G-enabled.

5G, the much-hyped next generation of wireless technology, promises lightning-fast speeds on mobile devices. An example experts often give is that you can download the entire eight-season series of Game of Thrones in just a few minutes.

Apple’s top competitor, Samsung, has already rolled out a 5G phone, something that Ives said has hurt Apple in China and other Asian markets. The COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain issues have also delayed Apple’s iPhone 12 rollout.

Still, the iPhone 12 event comes at a time Ives dubs the “window of upgrade opportunity,” or when some 40% of iPhones in use worldwide haven’t been upgraded in nearly four years.

The coronavirus pandemic and its ensuing financial crisis also loom large, Ives noted.

“A $1,000 phone is more expensive today than it was a few months ago, given all the unemployment in the backdrop,” he said.

He went on, “There is going to be a lot of curiosity among consumers about what does 5G get me. And I think that’s the opportunity, but also the challenge for Cook and team in the unveil.”

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