Apple has finally, officially confirmed this year’s Apple iPhone event, and the launch of the next new iPhone, the iPhone 12.
We’re expecting major updates, including the first iPhone design overhaul since 2017, potentially across a four-strong range of new iPhone 12 models, featuring a spread of different screen sizes. Whereas the current iPhone – the iPhone 11 – was more a case of ‘evolution’ rather than ‘revolution’, the iPhone 12 could well feature an all-new aesthetic and is expected to be packed with plenty of ground-breaking tech.
But of course, there remain plenty of questions, not least around the iPhone 12 specs and features that will really set the new phone apart from the competition. Will the new iPhone 12 definitely feature 5G? (Almost certainly.) Will it have a 3D laser camera? Will it have a new Apple chip? Just how much will it cost? Will it really be a case of OLEDs across the board? Will it be the best phone we’ve ever tested? All valid questions.
Apple has of course been tight-lipped about the new iPhone 12, so you won’t find any official images, nor an official price or release date. Yet. What you will find on this page is confirmation of the next Apple event and iPhone 12 launch date, plus the latest iPhone 12 rumours, leaks and news, the trustworthy sorted from the outlandish, in order to help build a picture of the new iPhones for 2020. Read on for all the details…
Table of Contents
New iPhone 12: key details
- Four new iPhones, three sizes
- OLED screens, angular design, 3D laser camera
- Release date: slight delay but still autumn
- Price: cheaper entry-level, from £729/$699 to £1149/$1099
iPhone 12: release date
Apple has confirmed the iPhone 12 event will take place on 13th October at 10am PDT (6pm BST).
The invitation features the tagline “Hi, Speed.”, which likely points to the fact that the iPhone 12 will be the first iPhone to feature super-fast 5G connectivity.
Previously, the rumour mill struggled to tie down the launch of the new iPhone, with the Covid-19 pandemic playing havoc with the usual certainties of Apple iPhone launches.
A September iPhone launch is normally a dead cert, an annual event as reliable as Christmas. A handful of leakers tipped Apple to launch the iPhone 12 at the firm’s Time Flies even on 15th September. Instead, Apple rolled out the new Apple Watch Series 6 and SE, two new iPads, iOS 14 and the new Apple One subscription service.
Given that the iPhone 12 is set to be Apple’s biggest launch of the year, it seems that Apple felt the phone deserved its own event.
Breaking with tradition, it didn’t launch in September. The disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic is said to have affected Apple’s roadmap.
One source from a mobile network in the Netherlands was a little more specific. They told the Apple Insider blog that the launch would take place on Tuesday 13th October, with pre-orders starting on Friday 16th October. And now that seems to be confirmed.
This was backed up by noted Apple leaker Jon Prosser. He recently tweeted that the first shipment of iPhone 12 units will be sent to distributors on 5th October, with the device launching eight days later, on 13th October.
Plenty of others have pointed to an October launch event. Ever-reliable tipster Ming-Chi Kuo released an investor note (via 9to5Mac) the day before Apple’s 15th September event confirming that he expected an October announcement. And previously, Qualcomm’s Chief Financial Officer Akash Palkhiwala hinted that a delay in the 5G iPhone 12 launch – from September to October or perhaps even November – is likely.
In an interview with Reuters, Palkhiwala mentioned “a slight delay that pushes some of the units out from the September quarter to the December quarter for us.” (The company’s December quarter covers September, October and December).
That ties in with previous comments made by the CEO of Broadcom, a major supplier of components for the iPhone, who recently told analysts of a “major product cycle delay” at a “large North American mobile phone” customer, thought to be Apple. This delay is likely due to the coronavirus pandemic, and is in line with previous reports.
More pertinently, Apple itself confirmed in July 2020 that this year’s iPhones would arrive “a few weeks” later than the iPhone 11 did last year.
The iPhone 12 will now launch on 13th October and is expected to ship before Christmas, with the delay likely to be weeks rather than months. A previous report still put the handset in the regular autumn launch window.
iPhone 12: price
As for price, a recent leak suggests that starting prices for the iPhone 12 (6.1in) and iPhone 12 Pro will be $749 and $999 respectively – comparable, then, to those of the iPhone 11 series when it launched. The smaller iPhone 12 (5.4in) will cost $649 and the larger iPhone 12 Pro Max (6.7in) will start at $1099.
More recently, regular iPhone leaker Komiya has revealed what he believes to be the latest US pricing:
iPhone 12 5G (5.4in)
iPhone 12 Max 5G (6.1in)
iPhone 12 Pro (6.1in)
12 Pro Max (6.7in)
As a comparison, the current iPhone 11 prices are as follows:
– £729/$699 for iPhone 11
– £1049/$999 for iPhone 11 Pro
– £1149/$1099 for the iPhone 11 Pro Max
How will it feature brand-new tech and 5G chipsets and be a similar price? Well, according to trusted iPhone analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will not bundle EarPods or a charger with the handsets, instead filing them under optional extras.
iPhone 12: name
According to trusted iPhone analyst Ming-Chi Kuo the next iPhone will be called the iPhone 12, rather than the iPhone 11S, 11X, 11.5 or similar.
That makes perfect sense given that the iPhone 12 is rumoured to be a big leap forward in terms of both design and tech.
It sounds like naming the new iPhone the ’11S’ wouldn’t really do it justice, or set the stage for a truly ‘next-gen’ handset.
This will be joined by the smaller 5.4in model, which, according to one tipster, will be called the iPhone 12 mini. The ‘mini’ moniker is reminiscent of the name of Apple’s iPod mini portable music player, right down to the lower case ‘m’.
The more powerful 6.1in model will be called the iPhone 12 Pro, while the 6.7in model will be the iPhone 12 Pro Max, according to the same source. No great surprises there, seeing as that’s in keeping with the nomenclature of the current iPhone 11 range.
Though one accessories maker disagrees. Case maker Dbrand has listed some iPhone 12 cases for pre-order, suggesting that the handsets’ names will be iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Plus, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. On the money? Or just a publicity stunt? Only time will tell…
iPhone 12: design
Apple is expected to launch not one iPhone but four in 2020, including the standard iPhone 12 and an iPhone 12 Pro handset. The range is rumoured to include three display sizes: 5.4-inch, 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch – all of which are said to have OLED screens.
The latest leak – a video posted on Twitter by EverythingApplePro – appears to show the 6.1in iPhone 12 chassis.
The potential existence of a 5.4-inch model is reinforced by a video (also posted on Twitter by EverythingApplePro) of a bijou model said to represent the iPhone 12. These CADs are purportedly issued to protective case manufacturers ahead of phone launches, to aid production.
In addition to this, (and as noted by Apple Insider) a leaker known to have a good track record when it comes to Apple products recently tweeted a photo of what appears to be the inside view of a disassembled “iPhone 12,” (ie. the 5.4-in model) showing an OLED screen – although the tweet has since been deleted. The leaker, a Mr.White, is clearly a man of brevity, describing the image solely as “iPhone 12 OLED screen”. If the now-deleted leak proves genuine, it will be the first time that Apple’s entire flagship iPhone lineup features OLED screens.
Rumours suggest the 6.7-inch model, and one of the two 6.1-inch models, will be the high-end variants with triple-lens cameras and 5G capability. The smallest 5.4-inch model, and the cheaper 6.1-inch, will be classed as ‘affordable’ iPhones. If that comes to pass, the 6.7-inch will be the largest (and likely most expensive) iPhone ever released.
The iPhone 12 will feature a revamped design, too. Kuo says that the iPhone 12 will look “significantly” different thanks to a stainless steel frame that harks back to the legendary iPhone 4. This idea of a more angular iPhone design, has since been reiterated in the form of leaked molds and CAD drawings.
That said, others have suggested the new devices will look more like an iPad or an iPhone 5. According to sources quoted by Bloomberg, the successors to the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max will have flat stainless steel edges instead of the current models’ curved designs. They will also have more sharply rounded corners, resembling the iPad Pro that launched in 2018.
These two iPhones will have flat screens, the sources add, instead of the sloping edges of the 11 Pro and Pro Max. All of which sounds suspiciously close to the design of the iPhone 5.
This is backed up by the first video leak we’ve seen of the device.
Pocket space at a premium? The iPhone 12 could be the thinnest iPhone ever. Apple is said to be considering using a thinner type of OLED display featuring an in-screen fingerprint scanner. Together with a rumoured ‘custom battery protection’ circuit that’s tipped to be “50% smaller”, Apple’s designers could take the opportunity to slim the device down.
It could also be curtains for the camera ‘notch’. Apple is rumoured to be developing a new front-facing camera, along with new Face ID tech, that would enable Cupertino’s design department to drastically shrink or, with any luck, delete the notch. Though the aforementioned video leak contradicts this, showing an identical camera notch to the iPhone 11.
Another rumour says that the notch will remain but in a smaller, less intrusive form. Apple tipster Jon Prosser recently shared purported iPhone 12 schematics that show this will be achieved by moving the phone’s front speaker into the bezel. The ambient light and proximity sensors would also be more centrally positioned within the TrueDepth camera system.
Though one report flies in the face of all these rumours. Japanese Apple blog Macotakara (via CNET) quotes an unnamed Chinese supplier as saying the iPhone 12 will have a very similar chassis to the iPhone 11, just with slightly bowed edges. As ever with Apple, we’ll just have to wait and see…
iPhone 12: OLED display
The iPhone 12 is said to come in three screen sizes: 5.4-inch, 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch screen. All three are rumoured to be OLED, which means that the standard 6.1-inch iPhone 12 will get an upgrade from LCD to OLED.
Initially, Apple tipsters suggested one or more of the high-end models could feature a refresh rate of 120Hz (the iPhone 11 tops out at 60Hz). iPhone leaker @UniverseIce, for example, claimed that Apple was discussing the plan with Samsung and LG, the two largest suppliers of smartphone AMOLED displays.
The rumour was that top-of-the-range iPhone 12 could feature the same ProMotion display tech as the iPad Pro. This changes the screen’s refresh rate dynamically depending on what content is displayed. So if you’re watching a film or playing a game, it would refresh at 120Hz, but if you’re just reading text it would drop to a lower rate to conserve battery power.
But the day before Apple’s 15th September event, reliable leaker Ming-Chi Kuo revealed he doesn’t expect this year’s iPhone 12 to support a 120Hz refresh rate due to battery life concerns. Instead, he’s claims the iPhone 12 will have a 60Hz refresh rate, but that Apple’s 2021 iPhones will get 120Hz displays.
If Kuo prediction is correct, that would make the iPhone 12 inferior in terms of display response and smoothness compared to the Samsung Galaxy S20, Note 20, the OnePlus 8 Pro and a handful of other high-end Android handsets.
It’s a shame, ultra-smooth 120Hz screens would certainly play well with Apple Arcade, the company’s Netflix-style gaming platform. Surely Apple won’t want to fall behind its Android rivals?
iPhone 12: 8K video
The iPhone 11 Pro is capable of capturing the best 4K video of any iPhone yet. Could the iPhone 12 top that with 8K video?
There’s no word on whether the iPhone will capture 8K video. But the Samsung Galaxy S20 can. Unless Apple wants to cede pro customers to its arch rival Samsung, we would expect it to follow suit.
Ball’s in your court, Apple.
iPhone 12: 5G support
Now that most major mobile networks have launched 5G across towns and cities in the UK and US, it’s widely rumoured that Apple will finally join the 5G party this year.
And now the “Hi, Speed” tagline for the iPhone 12 launch event looks to confirm that.
Previously, iPhone analyst Kuo had predicted that all four 2020 iPhones would sport 5G. Wishful thinking? Perhaps. But perhaps not. The rumour was reiterated by Bloomberg‘s more recent report, hinting there is some truth in it after all. Analysts expect Apple’s first 5G phones to feature Qualcomm’s industry-leading 5G modem, which has already popped up in Samsung’s flagship smartphones.
UK mobile network EE has seemingly confirmed that at least one model in the range will be 5G. According to Apple Insider, EE’s CEO recently gave an internal presentation that touted Apple’s 5G iPhone to launch within days.
“We are just days away from Apple’s next major launch, a 5G iPhone, which will be a huge boost for 5G,” CEO Marc Allera told employees. “Teams in all parts of Consumer have been preparing all year to win this launch, and be Europe’s number one partner for Apple.”
Apple’s Eddy Cue even popped up to congratulate EE on being the first network to sell smartphone plans that are bundled with multiple Apple services. He might not have mentioned 5G, but his appearance alongside Allera’s comments seriously suggests 5G is on the cards.
What’s more, multiple analysts have tipped the iPhone 12 to get a faster A14 Bionic processor which should stretch the iPhone’s battery life and provide extra oomph when streaming 4K video content over 5G networks.
iPhone 12: camera
Rumour has it that the iPhone 12 will feature a laser-powered 3D camera. The futuristic tech uses a laser to calculate depth for objects in the room, dramatically improving the phone’s photography chops and augmented reality capabilities. It could also mean we get a Portrait mode for video.
How much difference would a laser really make? Well, currently, Apple’s infrared TrueDepth tech can scan objects 25-50cm away. The iPhone 12’s 3D laser tech is said to scan objects up to 15ft away. It could be a game-changer for photography fans.
It’s widely suggested that both high-end iPhones are due to get the triple-lens with the 3D laser snapper, while the cheaper models will make do with an upgraded dual-camera set-up. Apple’s 11 Pro and Pro Max have three rear cameras, while the cheaper iPhone 11 has two, so there’ll be no change to the number of snappers, it’s just the added functionality that should be different.
The iPhone 12 camera is also said to feature LIDAR tech, which should mean more augmented reality skills. Those rumours are now all but confirmed thanks to a number of leaks, including a video posted on Twitter by EverythingApplePro.
Given that the iPhone 11 Pro already has one of the most impressive cameras we’ve ever tested, it’ll be interesting to see what the iPhone 12 delivers. We’ll keep you updated will all the most exciting iPhones 12 camera news as the launch approaches.
iPhone 12: power
Some analysts claim that the iPhone 12 could be in for a power boost. According to MacRumours, Barclays says that the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max will have 6GB of RAM apiece, up from 4GB on their predecessors. The standard iPhone 12 is reported to stick with 4GB, however.
UBS analysts reportedly share this view, so there could well be something in it…
As previously mentioned, it seems Apple may not bundle the iPhone 12 with a power adapter, instead selling that separately. While the iPhone 11 Pro comes with an 18-watt USB-C power adapter, it appears the iPhone 12 will use a new 20-watt USB-C adapter. The 18-watt charger, as well as the 5-watt variant that comes with the standard iPhone 11, are expected to be discontinued towards the end of the year upon the new adapter’s arrival.
iPhone 12: other leaks and rumours
Needless to say, while many ‘leaks’ seem credible and will likely materialise, Google ‘iPhone 12’ and you’ll be bombarded with whacky predictions and wild rumours. Here are a few features that probably won’t make it into the iPhone 12…
Firstly, there’s talk of the next iPhone being ‘totally wireless’. In other words, Apple could ditch wired chargers and accessories altogether – much like it ditched 3.5mm headphone jacks back in 2016.
It would certainly make for a sleeker design, but it would also create huge backwards compatibility issues and force iPhone users to rely on Qi wireless chargers to juice up handsets and accessories. According to Kuo, Apple won’t go totally wireless until 2021… at the very earliest.
Though given Apple’s recent hoo-ha with the EU over its Lightning cables, maybe it will be motivated to go wireless earlier. In any event, Apple is said to be considering not bundling the iPhone with a power adaptor and free earphones. The idea being to reduce e-waste and make the box much thinner, which would reduce how much it costs Apple to ship the phones from its factories to Apple Stores and other retailers.
Trusted iPhone analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also claims that Apple will not bundle EarPods with the new iPhone – in an effort to push more consumers to splash out on the company’s wireless AirPods buds. This was seemingly confirmed by iOS code – spotted by Mac Rumors – which removed the word “supplied” from the phrase “supplied headphones”.
Apple could also axe the iPhone XR and 11 Pro when the 12 range launches, and slash the price of the iPhone 11 by $150 (£112, AU$210), according to one internet whisper.
A more outlandish rumour hints at a foldable iPhone in 2020, complete with a display supplied by LG. It seems unlikely given that 2019’s foldable phones didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory.
Samsung had to delay the launch of its foldable phone after several reviewers reported that their sample handsets had broken. LG’s foldable phone suffered a similar fate, with reports of early models ‘breaking in half’. Motorola’s recent RAZR also came with some disclaimers on how to take care of the delicate folding screen.
The iPhone 12 Foldable? We’d suggest taking that with a shovel of salt – but Apple is said to be exploring the concept for future iPhones.
Reliable iPhone tipster Jon Prosser has confirmed Apple is working on a form of foldable iPhone design. Rather than a display that folds in the middle, this would in fact have two separate displays around a central hinge, allowing the device to fold. “Even though they’re two separate panels, when the displays are extended, it looks fairly continuous and seamless,” he adds.
Finally, there’s long been talk of augmented reality glasses that would connect to the iPhone, using the handset as the ‘brain’ to power the specs.
Recently, rumours surfaced suggesting Apple had partnered with game developer Valve to bring the glasses to market. The specs would overlay maps, games and notifications over your field of vision. However, an insider who claims to have had eyes on Apple’s roadmap says the AR glasses are pencilled in for 2022/2023.
This year, we’re expecting iOS 14, Apple Tags (Tile-style trackers that tell you where your keys are) and a smaller, more affordable HomePod and Apple Studio over-ear headphones instead. All of which will do us nicely.
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