Apple fans have always been able to count on a new slate of iPhones arriving in late September or early October each year. Recent Apple iPhone 12 rumors called that decade-long tradition into question, but there may be a silver lining, and a new iPhone may still arrive on time. Here’s a rundown of what to expect from the new phones.
Apple generally refreshes 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 may even bring back some design elements from the much-loved iPhone 4 series.
Early rumors pointed at Apple giving the iPhone 12 series a new frame, with a less rounded edge. It makes sense — the new iPad Pro has a similar look, and with the iPhone 12, Apple will likely make its lineup a little more unified in that regard. The front and the back of the phones will be glass.
Otherwise, we’re not expecting significant differences. Recent leaks show an internal structure that is slightly changed but still leaves the large notch and sensor array up top, so any dreams of a seamless iPhone will have to wait until the iPhone 13.
Apple may release four iPhone 12 models — which is one more than the iPhone 11 series offered. There will be a base iPhone 12, a large-screen iPhone 12 Max, a high-powered iPhone 12 Pro, and an even larger iPhone 12 Pro Max.
The iPhone 12 will reportedly feature a 5.4-inch display, while the iPhone 12 Max and iPhone 12 Pro will each have a 6.1-inch display. The iPhone 12 Pro Max will sport a huge 6.7-inch display. For the first time, all displays will be OLED, which should make for deeper black levels and even have less of an impact on battery life. Plenty of data related to the screens has been leaked, including the resolution of each.
The iPhone 12 may be available in a new navy finish. Some schematics have been leaked, and renders of the device have been created based on those leaks. Renders made by EverythingApplePro can be seen in the video below.
Under the hood, the iPhone 12 will feature some upgrades that you would expect — and some you wouldn’t.
The iPhone 12 will feature an upgraded A-series processor, likely to be called the Apple A14 Bionic chip. The new chip could be manufactured on TSMC’s cutting-edge 5nm foundry, and reducing the size of the processor pathways from 7nm to 5nm will result in better efficiency and more powerful processing. All four models of the iPhone will feature the chip, meaning that you’ll get similar raw performance from the high-end iPhone 12 Pro Max and the more budget-minded standard iPhone 12.
The models will likely have slightly different amounts of RAM, with rumors pointing to the standard iPhone 12 model getting 4GB and the iPhone 12 Pro getting 6GB. Apple may also double the storage of the base model, giving bargain hunters 128GB of storage instead of 64GB. The Pro models will top out at 512GB, just like the current devices.
The display will get an upgrade, too. According to EverythingApplePro, Apple will be including a 120Hz ProMotion display in the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. This should make for smoother animations and a more responsive feel. The iPad Pro features a ProMotion LCD display, so it wouldn’t be surprising for Apple to move to a higher refresh rate on the iPhone, too. It’s unlikely the standard iPhone 12 models will get the faster refresh rate.
LG has ramped up production on its thinner display panels, the so-called LTPO panels that gives the Apple Watch 5 enough of a battery improvement to allow for an always-on display. It’s not clear if production of this panel will be ready at high enough volume to support the iPhone 12 launch, but this is a technology to watch for in future iPhones, according to MacRumors. With the new Apple Pro Display boasting Extreme Dynamic Range (XDR), it is possible Apple could bring the advanced backlighting technology to its higher-end iPhone Pro devices.
As you would expect from a new iPhone, Apple will likely include major new features in the iPhone 12 series phones.
For starters, the camera array will be different in the iPhone 12. The phones will likely sport a square camera bump like that on the iPhone 11 series. Rumors suggest that the iPhone 12 Pro devices will also have a lidar sensor for augmented reality (AR), similar to that in the iPad Pro. We’ll have to wait and see if Apple ships software experiences that leverage the lidar sensor, considering third-party support hasn’t been as robust as Apple might have hoped. Rumors also point to a more advanced stabilizer for the image sensors, which could mean help for shaky hands when using the wide-angle lens.
The next iPhones will stick with the current camera setup, giving the iPhone 12 and the new iPhone 12 Max a dual-camera arrangement, while the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max will each have three sensors. Apple added a lidar sensor to the latest iPad Pro, and it would make sense for this improvement to show up on new iPhone Pro models. lidar will improve the AR capabilities of the iPhone and could help with depth-sensing in some pro camera applications.
Also rumored to be en route to the iPhone 12 is 5G. Apple and Qualcomm have set aside their differences and penned an agreement for 5G modems. As a result, we expect all four iPhone 12 models to offer 5G support of some kind. Some rumors suggest only the higher-end iPhone 12 Pro models will have support for the faster mmWave standard, but if that’s true, the standard devices will at least have the less impressive, but more reliable sub-6GHz 5G standard. We’ve also heard that the mmWave-enabled iPhone will only be available in the US, likely supporting Verizon’s 5G network, which focuses on mmWave technology.
One thing the new iPhone 12 may not include is headphones. One Apple analyst believes that Apple will make a push to wireless by omitting the iconic white EarPods and dropping prices on wireless AirPods when the next device goes on sale.
Price and availability
Availability of the iPhone 12 is a big question mark, considering the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Recent rumors from DigiTimes suggested that Apple will not begin building the iPhone until the third quarter of 2020, which would mean the iPhone wouldn’t be available until later in the year. Recently, Apple is rumored to have pulled its supply chain together in time to begin mass-producing iPhones for a close-to-normal September launch.
Pricing for the iPhone 12 has leaked, and there may be a small price cut for some iPhone 12 models. According to a leak from Jon Prosser, the base model iPhone 12 will cost $650, which is $50 cheaper than the entry-level iPhone 11. That’s good news for those who want a high-powered iPhone at a relatively affordable price.
Next is the iPhone 12 Max, which will start 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 major chip suppliers warned investors that it won’t see the usual (iPhone-related) revenue bump in the fall, but expects things to pick up around the end of the year instead, according to Bloomberg.
Updated on August 7, 2020: Added details on the leak of display components.