Apple fans have always been able to count on a new slate of iPhones arriving in late September or early October each year. This year, it’s going to be the latter — Apple’s September 15 hardware event came and went, but now we know the new iPhones will be announced on October 13.
Dozens of rumors and leaks about the upcoming devices have been released, and we now have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the phones. Here’s everything we think we know about the iPhone 12 series so far.
iPhone 12 launch date, price, and availability
Apple has announced a second fall hardware event, set to take place on October 13. The company held its first fall event on September 15, where it released new iPad and Apple Watch models, and now we get a separate event just for the phones. The event will begin at 10 a.m. PT, and will be livestreamed.
The invitation for the event is tagged “Hi, Speed,” so it’s possible Apple will focus on performance boosts for the new iPhone — and likely talk about the speed improvements of 5G networking as well. As a side note, Apple also committed to launching two Macs with Apple Silicon before the end of the year, when it announced the switch away from Intel earlier this year, so it may also discuss those new Macs.
The actual availability of the iPhone is a bit of a question mark, given the ongoing pandemic. Recent rumors from Digitimes suggested that Apple would not begin building the iPhone until the third quarter of 2020, which would mean at least some models 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 launch, but that’s still slipping by a few weeks. Prosser’s latest leak suggests that only the iPhone 12 Mini and standard iPhone 12 will be available soon after the event — with the Pro models coming a little later in the year.
In its quarterly earnings call, Apple confirmed that though the iPhone 12 was on schedule, it would ship a few weeks later than normal.
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.
The leak says the iPhone 12 Max will start at $750. Like last year’s flagships, the iPhone 12 Pro will start at $1,000, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max will start at $1,100. That doesn’t seem too steep considering Samsung’s competition aligns very similarly.
iPhone 12 design
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 series will represent a shift for the iPhone. It may even bring back some design elements from the much-loved iPhone 4 series.
Pretty much all of the rumors have suggested that there will be four iPhone 12 rumors, but the naming of those models is yet to be truly revealed. According to a new leak from L0vetodream, the entry-level model will be called the iPhone 12 Mini, with the standard iPhone 12 being a larger version of that “mini” model. Since that rumor hit, more rumors have confirmed the new naming scheme, with leaker Jon Prosser claiming that the smaller device will be called the iPhone 12 Mini. Previously, we would have assumed that there would be a standard iPhone 12 and an iPhone 12 Max. The next step up will be the iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. This is confirmed in a report by Bloomberg, which notes that there will be two “basic” models and two “high-end” models.
The iPhone 12 Mini will reportedly feature a 5.4-inch display, while the iPhone 12 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 have even less of an impact on battery life. Plenty of data related to the screens has been leaked, including the resolution of each.
Another interesting leak comes from DigiTimes, which says that in addition to the new overall design, there will be new colors. Notably, the iPhone 12 will be available in a dark blue color. This reinforces rumors from XDA Developers writer Max Weinbach, who claimed in January that a navy blue color would replace the midnight green currently on offer by Apple. It’s unclear if only the Pro models will be available in Navy Blue, or if all iPhone 12 models will get the new color.
Another recent leak seems to show an iPhone 12 back panel, particularly highlighting the placement of the new LiDAR sensor. The image shows that the sensor lines up with the right-hand camera lens and the camera flash, and right next to the camera hole. This particular leak was shared by Twitter user @laobaiTD.
— Mr·white (@laobaiTD) September 1, 2020
A previous iPhone 12 design leaks come in the form of a series of images that show a “dummy” development device. These devices are often sent out to case makers so that they can design accessories for the phone — but they usually don’t actually function. They’re essentially iPhone-shaped slabs of metal. The leaked images come from Israeli fan group HaAppelistim, and show dummy devices in a variety of cases, and compared with a few previous iPhone models. Notably, they show the new iPhone 4-like blocky design. The images were first picked up from the Facebook page by 9to5Mac.
Early rumors pointed at Apple giving the iPhone 12 series a new frame, with a flat edge and sharper angles. It makes sense — the new iPad Pro has a similar look, and with the iPhone 12, Apple could easily make its lineup a little more unified in that regard. The front and the back of the phones will be glass, of course, keeping wireless charging. The “notch” on the screen, housing the front-facing camera and sensors for Face ID, looks to be a bit smaller than on the iPhone 11 series.
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 or later.
iPhone 12 specs and hardware
Under the hood, the iPhone 12 will feature some upgrades that you would expect — and some you wouldn’t. Here’s a quick rundown of the specs we’re expecting from the iPhone 12 series.
|iPhone 12||iPhone 12 Max||iPhone 12 Pro||iPhone 12 Pro Max|
|Screen size||5.4-inch OLED||6.1-inch OLED||6.1-inch OLED 120Hz||6.7-inch OLED 120Hz|
|Screen resolution||2340 x 1080 (475ppi)||2532 x 1170 (460ppi)||2532 x 1170 (460ppi)||2778 x 1284 (458ppi)|
|Operating system||iOS 14||iOS 14||iOS 14||iOS 14|
|Storage||64GB, 128GB, 256GB||64GB, 128GB, 256GB||128GB, 256GB||128GB, 256GB|
|Processor||Apple A14||Apple A14||Apple A14||Apple A14|
|Camera||Dual-wide and ultra-wide rear, 12MP TrueDepth front||Dual-wide and ultra-wide rear, 12MP TrueDepth front||Triple-wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto rear with LiDAR, 12MP TrueDepth front||Triple-wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto rear with LiDAR, 12MP TrueDepth front|
Qi wireless charging
Qi wireless charging
Qi wireless charging
Qi wireless charging
|Network Support||T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint||T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint||T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint||T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint|
The iPhone 12 will feature an upgraded A-series processor, which we now know to be called the A14 Bionic. Unlike previous years, the new chip was instead first shown off in an iPad model — the upgraded iPad Air. The new chip is based on a 5nm process, reducing the size of processor pathways and resulting in better efficiency and more powerful processing. All four iPhone 12 models are expected to feature this powerful chip.
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 — which would frankly feel cramped in late 2020. The Pro models will top out at 512GB, just like the current devices.
There have been conflicting rumors about whether the display on the iPhone 12 will get an upgrade too. Some rumors indicate that the iPhone 12 Pro will step things up to a 120Hz refresh rate, while others suggest that Apple has run into supply chain issues and will need to ship the iPhone with a 60Hz display. High refresh rates smooth out any motion shown on screen, and it’s incredible just how big of a difference it makes to the visual experience.
Even if some models get it, it’s unlikely that the standard iPhone 12 models will get a faster refresh rate, based on the added cost alone. Known leaker Jon Prosser has presented evidence that at least the iPhone 12 Pro models will have a high refresh rate display, with screenshots of a settings menu that allows users to turn the high refresh rate on. There’s also a setting allowing the user to turn on “Adaptive Refresh Rate,” which would switch between refresh rates depending on what the user is doing at the moment. Prosser claims the screenshots were taken with a PVT model (or pre-production model) of the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Camera and display settings for current PVT model of 6.7” iPhone 12 Pro Max
Want video too? pic.twitter.com/fnJk2LELgv
— Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser) August 25, 2020
LG has ramped up production on its thinner display panels, the so-called LTPO panels that give 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), Apple could bring the advanced backlighting technology to its higher-end iPhone Pro devices.
iPhone 12 new features
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) and depth-sensing in pro camera applications, 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 more help for shaky hands when using the wide-angle lens, and even better low-light photos. Otherwise, the next iPhones will likely stick with a similar camera arrangement. That means the iPhone 12 and the new iPhone 12 Max would have a dual-camera arrangement, while the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max will each have three sensors.
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 the standard devices will at least have the less impressive, but more reliable Sub-6 5G standard. We’ve also heard that the mmWave-enabled iPhone will only be available in the U.S., likely for use on Verizon’s network that relies on mmWave exclusively at the moment.
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.
Updated on October 6, 2020: Apple has announced an event for October 13.