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iPhone 12

iPhone 12

Last updated: 19 hours ago

The "iPhone 12" is rumored to come in four sizes in pro and non-pro variants. Each device will have an OLED display including the new 5.4-inch model. A new A14 chipset and 5G modem will make every interaction on the iPhone faster and smoother than before. Apple will announce its new lineup in the fall of 2020.

Expected to be announced October 13
A14 Processor
5G Connectivity
Launching Fall 2020
6.1-inch Max model and 5.4-inch budget model
Rear LiDAR
ProMotion Display
iPhone 4-inspired design
Reduced or No Notch

● Probably     ● Maybe     ● Probably not


Apple is expected to launch the "iPhone 12" in four distinct models at an October 2020 event. The new iPhones will differentiate themselves with screen size, camera technology, and materials used.

The launch event usually takes place in September, but it has been pushed back to October in light of the pandemic. The "Time Flies" event on September 15 would have usually included the new iPhone, but instead focused on Apple Watch Series 6, iPad Air 4, the 10.2-inch iPad, and the Apple One service bundle.

"iPhone 12" Pricing and Release

The pricing structure should remain very similar to that of the iPhone 11 lineup except for the new smaller screen size. Delays caused by the coronavirus could lead to a later than normal launch, similar to the iPhone X launch in 2017.

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The budget models would release a week or two after the keynote held in late September or early October, and the pro models a few weeks after that. 

  Display Memory Body Rear Cameras Storage Pricing
iPhone 12 mini 5.4-inch BOE OLED Super Retina 4GB Aluminum Dual camera 64GB, 128GB, 256GB $649, $749, $849
iPhone 12 Max 6.1-inch BOE OLED Super Retina 4GB Aluminum Dual camera 64GB, 128GB, 256GB $749, $849, $949
iPhone 12 Pro 6.1-inch Samsung OLED Super Retina XDR
with ProMotion and 10-bit Color Depth
6GB Stainless Steel Triple camera 128GB, 256GB, 512GB $999, $1,099, $1,299
iPhone 12 Pro Max 6.7-inch Samsung OLED Super Retina XDR
with ProMotion and 10-bit Color Depth
6GB Stainless Steel Triple camera + LiDAR 128GB, 256GB, 512GB $1,099, $1,199, $1,399

“iPhone 12” Features

iPhone lineup mockup From left to right: iPhone 12 Max, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 12 Pro; image credit: iSpazio

There are four rumored models expected in the fall lineup, and two will occupy the "iPhone 12" space for the first time. The model referred to as "iPhone 12 mini" will have a 5.4-inch OLED display with 4GB of RAM and a dual-camera system. The "iPhone 12 Max" is a 6.1-inch model which takes the place of the current iPhone 11. The naming is tentative until Apple makes an announcement, and it is likely that the 6.1-inch device without pro features will be referred to as the "iPhone 12," though until then the "Max" suffix will serve as a differentiator.

The new design and 5G may cause another iPhone 6-like super cycle of demand according to some analysts.

Design

After three years of using the iPhone X design, Apple is expected to change some characteristics of its entire lineup this fall. The same edge-to-edge screen with a notch is rumored, but some suggest a smaller notch might be used. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said that the notch might be reduced or removed entirely by using smaller camera technology. Mockups and rumors that have been made since the Kuo note suggest the notch will remain the same size, and the confusion on notch sizing stemmed from the slightly bigger "iPhone 12 Pro Max."

An old design paradigm might be returning in 2020 by making the sides flat rather than rounded-off. The last iPhone to feature that design was the original iPhone SE and could give the new iPhones a distinctive yet classic look and feel.

Multiple sources claim that the "iPhone 12" will have flat sides similar to the iPhone 4. The iPad Pro was the first device line to move to a flat-sided design. The iPad Air 4 followed in its 2020 refresh, so Apple seems to be pushing its entire device lineup to the same design language.

The move to 5G on iPhone will also require a change in motherboards to larger and more expensive versions, Ming-Chi Kuo suggested. The logic board is tipped to grow by 10% to accommodate the new technologies in use, increasing the cost of the component by 35%. 

Kuo also proposed Apple would increase the use of liquid crystal polymer (LCP) flexible printed circuit (FPC) antenna technology for the “iPhone 12." The higher number of units to enable 5G versus 4G LTE, as well as using LCP FPC for the upper antenna could cause supply chain issues over the increased demand.

The iPhone 11 Pro comes in three colors—silver, space gray, and midnight green. There have been numerous leaks suggesting that Apple may swap the Midnight Green with Navy Blue for the next generation, though the color would be restricted to the Pro lineup.

Concept; image credit: Tokar Three sizes across two classes of iPhone; image credit: Tokar

The standard “iPhone 12” may have two sizes as well. The smaller "mini" phone would be 5.4-inches and the larger “max” model would be 6.1 inches. The naming here is speculative as the 6.1-inch model would be a successor to the iPhone 11 which has no additional qualifier.

The addition of a smaller screen size might appeal to those looking for something with Face ID in a much smaller package. The iPhone 11 Pro offers a slightly smaller screen size at 5.8 inches but at a much higher $999 price point. The 5.4-inch model “iPhone 12” is expected to cost $650.

While the iPhone 12 Max model will remain 6.1-inches, the “iPhone 12 Pro” is moving up from 5.8inches to 6.1 inches. This means the only difference between the two models will be a dual-camera vs triple-camera system, quality of the OLED display, and aluminum vs stainless steel rim.

Apple tends to match colors across devices in a generational refresh. The Apple Watch has blue and red colors, so too could the "iPhone 12."

Display

All four models are expected to have OLED this year with the non-pro models receiving cheaper displays. Apple is expected to use lower-quality display types to maintain budget pricing while moving to thinner Y-Octa type displays for the premium range.

Alleged display panels for the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 Alleged display panels for the 5.4-inch iPhone 12

Conflicting reports point to BOE supplying OLED for the cheaper models while others assert LG and Samsung as the sole suppliers. Reports suggest that BOE cannot provide the right quality of display on a consistent basis.

Apple might implement 120Hz displays in the iPhone lineup, or ProMotion as it is called in the iPad Pro. Leakers like Jon Prosser seemed to agree that there will be a greater-than-60Hz refresh rate in the pro-models at least.

One person has reported on two separate occasions that the technology is not ready for the smaller device classes. Ross Young is the founder of Display Supply Chain Consultants and has stated that a 120Hz display would need LTPO technology to enable variable refresh rates, otherwise the battery life would be greatly affected by the higher refresh rate.

LTPO is used by the Apple Watch to achieve a near 1Hz refresh when the display is displaying static content. This helps achieve the always-on display without wasting battery life. Young asserts that not only is the technology not ready, that none of his associates in the supply chain can confirm any such display being ordered by Apple.

The latest information from the supply chain indicate that the ProMotion Display never reached final production. Apple tried to get the battery life requirements in line with their expectations but could not and had to abandon the feature for this generation.

Rear Cameras

3D-printed mockups; image credit: Mac Otakara 3D-printed mockups; image credit: Mac Otakara

The rear camera system on the "iPhone 12" should remain relatively the same with some small updates to its processing engine. Some rumors have said that the pro models will receive the same LiDAR system as the fourth-generation iPad Pros.

The dual-camera system used in the iPhone 11 uses a 12MP wide-angle lens and 12MP ultra-wide-angle lens. The sensor may increase or images may improve due to the better processing in the A14, but rumors have not shown signs of a significant change to this camera system.

Apple may implement a new 7-piece camera system as well, which will improve image quality over the iPhone 11 series of cameras. These lens arrays are expected to be "high end" and may add to the expected iPhone launch delay and limited availability.

Face ID

Leaked Face ID sensor array from Jon Prosser Leaked Face ID sensor array for “iPhone 12” image credit: Jon Prosser

For the notch to be smaller or removed, Apple will have to change or move the components used in the Face ID sensor array. Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that the front-facing camera could be reduced in physical size to allow for the change, while Jon Prosser has leaked diagrams with a more compact sensor placement.

Placing some or all of the components found in the notch into the bezel itself could allow the notch to be reduced as well. Prosser's leaked image shows the microphone and speaker being placed in the bezel above the Face ID sensor array rather than in the middle of it.

The front-facing camera is 12MP in the iPhone 11 Pro and will likely retain that spec for the new models.

Processor

Credit: Mr. White Credit: Mr. White

Apple introduced the A14 alongside the iPad Air 4 at its September "Time Flies" event. It was boasted as 40% faster than the A12 processor used in the iPad Air 3. That means the A14 will show modest improvements over the A13, though it is unknown how the chip performs in benchmarks.

TSMC supplies some of the current A-series processors for Apple using a 7-nanometer process. The company announced a new 6-nanometer process is ready for mass-production as of April 2019, and the 5-nanometer process was in a pre-production phase. It was then no surprise to learn that the A14 Bionic used the 5 nanometer process.

A benchmark for an unknown A-series processor showed up in Geekbench that may be for the A14. This benchmark showed a 50% gain in single-core performance over the A12Z Bionic used in iPad Pros. This would also be the first A-series chipset to ever clock over 3GHz.

Apple announced that it is moving its processors in Mac from Intel to Apple Silicon. This process will likely not affect the "iPhone 12" or other model's chips, but what Apple learns from producing Mac-class processors will likely trickle down to the mobile line.

5G and wireless connectivity

5G coming to iPhone 5G is coming to iPhone

Apple will likely upgrade from 4G LTE to 5G in the next-generation iPhones. Qualcomm is set to provide the modems this year since Intel has exited the 5G modem business.

Apple may start making modems after acquiring the patents from Intel in a billion-dollar deal. The Apple-designed modems wouldn't be ready until 2022 at the earliest, however.

Qualcomm has taken the opportunity to hint at supplying the modems for the 5G iPhone as well. Earlier rumors placed LTE in the smallest model, but Kuo and other leakers have suggested that all models will receive 5G.

It is not clear if the iPhones will receive mmWave or sub-6Ghz versions of 5G. Some rumors say that all models will receive the sub-6GHz band, as it covers the widest range at the longest distance even if it is slower overall.

Additional Leaks

  • No USB-C port, will be lightning
  • Will not include a charging plug in the box, may still have USB-C to Lightning cable
  • USB-C to Lightning cable could be braided
  • If a charging plug is included, it may be 20w for the pro models
  • Will not include EarPods in the box to boost AirPods sales
  • Dark Blue color could replace Midnight Green
  • 7-element lens system for increased image quality
  • 240fps 4K video recording may be possible
  • Magnets mounted to the rear of the device may help with positioning on wireless chargers

The "iPhone 12" will have an OLED screen, an aluminum frame, and a dual-camera system for an entry price of $649. Prosser predicts an announcement the week of October 12, and shipping a week later.

 

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