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iPhone 12 Pro

iPhone 12 Pro

Last updated: 1 week ago

The "iPhone 12 Pro" is rumored to have a new design with flat sides, a 6.1-inch edge-to-edge display, and a smaller notch. 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 in October
A14 Processor
5G Connectivity
Launching Fall 2020
6.1-inch OLED Display
Rear LiDAR
ProMotion Display
iPhone 4-inspired design
Reduced or No Notch

● Probably     ● Maybe     ● Probably not


Apple is expected to launch the "iPhone 12 Pro" alongside the "iPhone 12," "iPhone 12 Max,"and "iPhone 12 Pro Max" at a fall 2020 event. The models will differentiate themselves with screen size, camera technology, and materials used.

The iPhone event usually takes place in September, but it may be pushed back to October in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

"iPhone 12 Pro" Features

iPhone lineup mockup From left to right: iPhone 12 Max, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 12 Pro

There are four rumored models expected in the fall lineup, but only one will occupy the "iPhone 12 Pro" space. This model is expected to have a bigger 6.1-inch OLED display with 6GB of RAM and a triple-camera system.

Design

Apple is expected to change some of the design characteristics of its entire lineup this fall. The same edge-to-edge screen with a notch is rumored, but some rumors suggest a smaller notch might be used. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has suggested the notch might be reduced or removed entirely by using smaller camera technology.

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 have claimed that flat sides are expected. The iPad Pro also moved to a flat-sided design in their third-generation, giving more credence to the rumor as Apple prefers consistent design across platforms.

Going to 5G for the 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, and the use of LCP FPC for the upper antenna could cause supply chain issues over the increased demand. 

The iPhone 11 Pro Max 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.

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

The move to a four-model lineup does mean some changes for the smaller pro-iPhone. Previously the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro were 6.1-inches and 5.8-inches, respectively. Apple is splitting the non-pro lineup into two distinct phones, one with a 5.4-inch screen, and the larger retaining its 6.1-inch screen.

To make things simple for users trying to differentiate between the models, Apple is moving the 5.8-inch pro-model to 6.1-inches. That makes the walk up from the smallest to biggest iPhones in the lineup make more sense for buyers.

The $150 price difference between the two 6.1-inch models will be differentiated by their camera system, build materials, and the display quality.

Display

All four models are expected to have OLED this year with the "iPhone 12 Pro" models receiving more advanced displays. Apple is expected to use Y-Octa panels from Samsung which eliminates the need for an additional layer of film, thus allowing for a thinner display overall.

The smaller Pro model will increase from 5.8-inches to 6.1-inches this generation. The screen size increase will further differentiate it from the smaller 5.4-inch model expected at the bottom of the lineup. 

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 consistently.

Multiple reports say that Apple is testing a greater-than-60Hz display. This could be a ProMotion display with a maximum 120Hz refresh rate. Jon Prosser says the display could be ProMotion but with some caveats like a variable refresh rate to preserve battery life.

ProMotion Display with 120Hz refresh might come to the iPhone ProMotion display with 120Hz refresh might come to the “iPhone 12”

Ross Young, the CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants, weighed in on the rumors stating that the iPhone would need a low-temperature polycrystalline oxide backplane (LTPO) for ProMotion to be usable in an iPhone. The technology is used on the Apple Watch and allows the screen to slow its refresh rate to as little as 1Hz to preserve battery life. He says that the iPhone would not have sufficient battery life without LTPO and the technology wouldn't be ready until 2021 for the "iPhone 13".

In a tweet from Young, he restated that the iPhone would not be receiving the 120Hz display and confirmed it with his available contacts. This goes against the rumors from multiple known leakers, but it is unclear who has the correct data source at this point.

Rear Cameras

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

The rear camera system on the "iPhone 12 Pro" could see some upgrades this fall. Some rumors have said that the pro models will receive the same LiDAR system as the fourth-generation iPad Pros.

The new LiDAR system uses infrared to scan the environment and get a rudimentary 3D layout of the space for use in AR. The iPad Pro's LiDAR does not spray as many infrared dots as the Face ID sensor does, but does get data from much further away.

It is not clear if the LiDAR system will make it to the smaller pro model or if it will be exclusive to the largest model.

Supposed CAD renders have shown various placements of the LiDAR sensor near or in the camera bump. Ben Geskin has suggested that the CAD renders are incomplete on purpose, as case makers would only need to know the device's dimensions and camera bump, not the module placement itself.

Apple pushed LiDAR and its development at its 2020 WWDC. ARKit 4 in iOS 14 will allow developers to target the LiDAR sensor directly for 3D environment mapping and faster AR object placement. All of these advancements in AR will surely fuel the development of the upcoming "Apple Glass."

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” from 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

Apple will likely introduce the next-generation of A-series chips, the A14. No leaks have occurred for this particular component, but Apple is well known for its year-over-year gains in graphics and processing power in its proprietary chipsets.

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.

That means Apple could likely use the 5-nanometer process in its next processors.

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 A12X 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 Pro" 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 "iPhone 12" 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.

The pro models may get mmWave, which is a very fast version of 5G capable of home-broadband levels of download and upload rates. This version of 5G is highly unlikely however as it requires line-of-sight communication with the cell towers providing itbuildings or even people could block the signal of this band.

Additional Leaks

  • No USB-C port, will use Lightning
  • Will not include a charging plug in the box, may still have USB-C to Lightning cable
  • USB-C to Lightning cable may be braided
  • If a charging adapter is included, it may be 20w for the pro models
  • Will not include EarPods in the box to boost AirPods sales
  • 7-element lens system for increased image quality
  • 240fps 4K video recording may be possible

"iPhone 12 Pro" Pricing and Release

The pricing structure should remain very similar to that of the iPhone 11 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.

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 more weeks after that. 

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

The "iPhone 12 Pro" will have a better screen, more RAM, a stainless steel frame, and a three-camera system for only $150 more than the iPhone 11 successor. Prosser leaked a potential release in November after an October announcement.

 
 

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