Apple fans have always been able to count on new iPhones to hit the market in late September or early October each year. Recent rumors about the Apple iPhone 12 challenged that decade-long tradition, but there could be a silver lining, and a new iPhone could still arrive on time. Here is an overview of what to expect from the new phones.
Apple generally updates the design of the iPhone every three years, and this cycle will bring some changes. After the iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone 11 had similar designs, the iPhone 12 will represent a shift for the iPhone. It can even bring back some design elements from the popular iPhone 4 series.
Early rumors suggested that Apple was giving the iPhone 12 series a new frame with a less rounded edge. It makes sense – the new iPad Pro looks similar, and with the iPhone 12, Apple will likely make its lineup a little more consistent in that regard. The front and back of the phones are made of glass.
Otherwise we do not expect any significant differences. Recent leaks reveal an internal structure that has changed slightly but still leaves the large notch and sensor array on top, so any dreams of a seamless iPhone will have to wait until the iPhone 13.
Apple may release four iPhone 12 models – one more than the iPhone 11 series on offer. There will be a base iPhone 12, a large-screen iPhone 12 Max, a powerful iPhone 12 Pro, and an even larger iPhone 12 Pro Max.
The iPhone 12 is said to have a 5.4-inch display, while the iPhone 12 Max and iPhone 12 Pro each have a 6.1-inch display. The iPhone 12 Pro Max has a huge 6.7-inch display. For the first time, all displays will be OLED, which should lead to deeper black levels and affect the battery life even less. Much data related to the screens has been leaked, including the resolution of each screen.
The iPhone 12 may be available in a new marine finish. Some circuit diagrams have leaked, and based on these leaks, renderings of the device have been made. Renderers created by EverythingApplePro can be seen in the video below.
Under the hood, the iPhone 12 comes with some upgrades that you would expect – and some that you wouldn't expect.
The iPhone 12 will have an updated A-series processor, which will likely be called the Apple A14 Bionic chip. The new chip could be manufactured in TSMC's state-of-the-art 5nm foundry. A reduction in the processor paths from 7 to 5 nm leads to better efficiency and more powerful processing. All four iPhone models will come with the chip, which means you'll get similar performance with the high-end iPhone 12 Pro Max and the less expensive standard iPhone 12.
The models are likely to have slightly different amounts of RAM, with rumors suggesting that the standard iPhone 12 model will get 4GB and the iPhone 12 Pro will get 6GB. Apple can also double the storage of the base model and give bargain hunters 128 GB of storage instead of 64 GB. The Pro models will reach 512 GB just like the current devices.
The display is also updated. According to EverythingApplePro, Apple will incorporate a 120Hz ProMotion display into the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. This should make for smoother animations and a more responsive feel. The iPad Pro has a ProMotion LCD display, so it is not surprising for Apple to switch to a higher refresh rate on the iPhone as well. The standard models of iPhone 12 are unlikely to get the faster refresh rate.
LG has ramped up production of its thinner display panels, called LTPO panels, which provide the Apple Watch 5 with sufficient battery backup to enable the display to be constantly on. It's not clear if production of this panel will be ready at a volume level enough to support the iPhone 12 launch. However, according to MacRumors, this is a technology to watch out for in future iPhones. With the new Apple Pro Extreme Dynamic Range (XDR) display, it is possible for Apple to bring the advanced backlight technology to its high-end iPhone Pro devices.
As you'd expect from a new iPhone, Apple is likely to add important new features to the iPhone 12 series phones.
For starters, the iPhone 12's camera array will be different. The phones will likely have a square camera bump like the iPhone 11 series. Rumor has it that the iPhone 12 Pro devices will also have a lidar sensor for Augmented Reality (AR), similar to the iPad Pro. We'll have to wait and see if Apple delivers software experiences that take advantage of the lidar sensor as the third-party support hasn't been as robust as Apple hoped. Rumors also suggest a more advanced stabilizer for the image sensors, which could help with trembling hands when using the wide-angle lens.
Andy Boxall / DigitalTrends
The next iPhones will stick to the current camera setup and give the iPhone 12 and the new iPhone 12 Max an arrangement with two cameras, while the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max each have three sensors. Apple added a lidar sensor to the latest iPad Pro, and it would make sense to show this improvement on new iPhone Pro models. Lidar improves the iPhone's AR capabilities and can help with depth detection in some pro camera applications.
5G is also rumored to be on the way to the iPhone 12. Apple and Qualcomm put their differences aside and reached an agreement for 5G modems. Because of this, we expect all four iPhone 12 models to have 5G support. Some rumors suggest that only the high-end iPhone 12 Pro models support the faster mmWave standard. However, if this is true, the standard devices will at least have the less impressive, but more reliable 5G standard below 6 GHz. We also heard that the mmWave-enabled iPhone will only be available in the US and will likely support Verizon's 5G network, which is focused on mmWave technology.
One thing the new iPhone 12 may not have is headphones. An Apple analyst believes Apple will ditch the wireless white EarPods and cut prices on wireless AirPods when the next device goes on sale.
Price and availability
The availability of the iPhone 12 is a big question mark given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Recent DigiTimes rumors suggest that Apple won't start building the iPhone until the third quarter of 2020, which would mean the iPhone won't be available until later in the year. Recently, Apple reportedly pulled its supply chain together in time to begin mass producing iPhones for a near-normal start in September.
IPhone 12 prices have been leaked and there may be a slight price drop for some iPhone 12 models. According to a leak by Jon Prosser, the base model iPhone 12 is $ 650, which is $ 50 cheaper than the entry-level iPhone 11. This is good news for those who want a powerful iPhone at a relatively affordable price.
Next up is the iPhone 12 Max, which starts at $ 750. Like last year's flagships, the iPhone 12 Pro will cost $ 1,000 while the iPhone 12 Max will start at $ 1,100.
One of Apple's largest chip suppliers warned investors that the fall would not lead to the usual (iPhone-related) sales declines, but according to Bloomberg it expects an upturn towards the end of the year.
Updated August 7, 2020: Added display component leak details.