The iPhone 12 is expected to land later this year, and it may end up being a big change to Apple’s flagship smartphone. The iPhone 11 range brought very little in terms of an upgrade over the 2018 devices, so 2020 feels like the perfect opportunity for a big shake up.
Why does Apple need to change things with the iPhone 12? The iPhone 11 range focused on camera tweaks and putting a bit more power inside, but they were modest upgrades at best.
So what will the next iPhone – the first true flagship Apple device of a new decade – bring? We’ve already seen Apple unveil the ‘budget iPhone’ this year in the form of the iPhone SE, but it’s almost certain the company will bring a new flagship series toward the end of the year.
The good news is that we’ve heard lots of rumors about the iPhone 12 already. These include the possibility of a 5G iPhone model, new cameras, a new design and much more.
We’ve mixed together all the latest leaks and updates on the new iPhone in the article below, and added in some thoughts on what we’re expecting.
All of this is based on well over a decade of monitoring the growing rumor mill around the latest iPhone, so we’ve tried to give you the fullest picture of what to expect from your next Apple handset.
Latest iPhone 12 news: Prices for all four iPhone 12 models have leaked and it’s mostly good news. Plus, production of the iPhone 12 has reportedly been delayed, which might mean the release date has as well.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The new iPhone from Apple
- When is it out? Probably September 2020
- What will it cost? We’re expecting over $700 / £700
iPhone 12 release date and price
There isn’t any official iPhone 12 release date information as yet, but come on – we’re almost certain that we know when it will appear. Apple launches its new phones almost metronomically, and while every year there’s a rumor of it changing, it’s always held to a similar time.
Firstly, the new iPhone release date will probably be September 2020 – and it’s always around the second week. So we’re going to guess that we’ll see Apple unveil the iPhone 12 on 8 September (or possibly 15 September if it wants to hit a later on-sale date).
You’ll be able to pick it up 10 days after that, so you’ll need a Friday off work if you’re desperate to get your hands on one. That said, there’s a chance that the novel coronavirus outbreak may impact on the production of the next iPhone.
We had heard that development would be unaffected, and there are even now reports that the main manufacturing factories are fully staffed up. Plus, an exec at Foxconn (the main manufacturer of the iPhone) has said that company aims and hopes to make up for lost ground.
But elsewhere there are reports that the phone will be delayed until October or November, with Apple apparently not even having finalized the design yet (as of late March 2020). Some sources even say it could slip into 2021. Reuters has also talked about a delay being likely.
A respected analyst suggests that the iPhone 12 release date could be staggered by model, with the smaller devices coming soon after launch yet the larger ones perhaps a month later. So perhaps the answer to ‘will it be delayed’ is both yes and no.
As of April 2020, the most recent news on this subject comes from a report in The Wall Street Journal, which states that production of the iPhone 12 has been delayed by around a month due to the impact of coronavirus.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that the release date of the range will also be delayed, but we’d think there’s a significant chance that it will be, if this report is accurate.
When it comes to the iPhone 12 price, it’s likely to stay broadly in line with the current models. For reference, the iPhone 11 starts at $699 / £729 / AU$1,199, the iPhone 11 Pro starts at $999 / £1,049 / AU$1,749, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max starts at $1,099 / £1,149 / AU$1,899.
That’s backed up by rumors too, with a leak suggesting that the iPhone 12 Pro will start at $999 (and likely therefore £1,049 / AU$1,749), while the iPhone 12 Pro Max will start at $1,099 (likely £1,149 / AU$1,899).
However, things are a bit different at the bottom of the range, with the most direct iPhone 11 successor (the 6.1-inch iPhone 12) apparently starting at $749 – so $50 more than the iPhone 11. But then there’s also said to be a new 5.4-inch iPhone 12 model that will start at $649 – so $50 less than the iPhone 11.
Having said all that, one report suggests that the cost of materials for the iPhone 12 range might go up, which could mean even higher prices at retail.
iPhone 12 name
First things first: we’re pretty confident the 2020 Apple phones will be called the iPhone 12 series, not the 11S or similar thanks to an industry analyst (with a great track record) saying as such.
That’s why we’re calling it the iPhone 12, even though Apple hasn’t confirmed this name. Others might be calling it the iPhone 2020 or the ‘new iPhone’ – but we’re not thinking that will be the moniker Apple plumps for.
iPhone 12 design
The iPhone 12 could have an angular design, like the iPhone 5, according to a huge design leak, and if true this new look could be hugely divisive. On one side it looks a lot like the iPad Pro models, so professional and sleek, but it’s also likely quite uncomfortable to hold too.
One of the upcoming phones might lack a notch according to analysts, with the front-facing camera potentially set to be embedded under the screen instead. If this happens we’d expect it to be the most expensive iPhone 12 model that has this feature – likely the iPhone 12 Pro Max, or whatever it launches as.
The first design leak suggests the phone will have a notch though, just a smaller one to before.
Another leak suggests Apple is developing new Face ID tech which will lead to a redesigned and potentially slimmer notch. Allegedly, the company is trying out several combinations, including ones that minimize the front-facing optics so much that they fit in the top bezel.
Indeed, a leak from Jon Prosser (a reputable leaker) points to four iPhone 12 models, all of which would have smaller notches. Additionally, the smallest of these models would apparently have a 5.4-inch screen, and that along with a 6.1-inch model are said to have an aluminum body, while another 6.1-inch model and a 6.7-inch one (the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max) are said to use stainless steel.
Prototyping for iPhone 12 devices is just about finalized!Final details line up pretty well with what Kuo said last year! 🤯Expect to see CAD renders of the devices within the next month or two from your favorite leakers! 👀Now let’s see if Apple can get them out by EOY! pic.twitter.com/nAfA7JHMx2April 6, 2020
One report has also suggested Face ID will be dropped entirely in favor of an under screen fingerprint scanner, though this seems unlikely.
We might get more than just a notch reduction or removal, with Kuo also saying that he expects the metal frame to be more like the iPhone 4’s frame, suggesting it won’t be curved like on current models. He also says that overall the design is likely to be “significantly” different to current iPhone models.
Indeed, sources speaking to Bloomberg claim similar, though make comparisons to the design of the iPad Pro, saying that the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max will have flat stainless steel edges, more sharply rounded corners, and flat screens. They also point to smaller notches on all four rumored models.
Then again, another leak suggests that the designs will actually be staying much the same, other than some differences in the camera layout and the dimensions. Based on this leak, the 5.4-inch iPhone could be around 131mm tall, the 6.1-inch could be around 147mm, and the 6.7-inch model could be slightly taller than the 158mm iPhone 11 Pro Max.
However, it’s also said to be thinner, apparently coming in at 7.4mm thick, while the iPhone 11 Pro Max is 8.1mm thick.
In any case, the leak above from Kuo affirmed several much-rumored trends, like the iPhone 12 Pro versions adding a time-of-flight sensor, the budget flagship adding a telephoto lens, and series-wide support for 5G as well as finally switching to USB-C.
It might not just be the camera that’s built into the screen either, as Apple is also rumored to be equipping its next phones with an in-screen fingerprint scanner.
This would be a big change for the brand, since current models don’t have a fingerprint scanner at all. That said, if the camera really is in-screen then it might not be possible to have all the Face ID sensors, so it could be that this fingerprint scanner will replace Face ID, though we’re not convinced Apple would go that far.
As for colors, we’ve heard a rumor that the iPhone 12 will drop the forest green of its predecessor for a navy blue – a svelte hue more in line with dress colors, for sure. But like the divide between the ‘fun’ pastel colors in the standard iPhone 11 and the classier hues in the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, we might not see the blue come to the lower-priced model.
iPhone 12 display
One or more 2020 iPhone models might also have a 120Hz refresh rate, up from 60Hz on current models. This – which has been rumored by a reputable leaker – could make interactions feel smoother. This is a claim we’ve now heard more than once, and some phones already have higher refresh rates than 60Hz, as do some iPads, so this isn’t unbelievable.
The screen sizes could be changing too, with respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo saying that the iPhone 12 Pro Max could have a 6.7-inch screen (up from 6.5 inches on the iPhone 11 Pro Max), and the iPhone 12 Pro could have a 5.45-inch screen (down from 5.8 inches on the iPhone 11 Pro).
He adds that the standard iPhone 12 will apparently stay at 6.1 inches, but will get upgraded from LCD to OLED. That’s a claim we’ve heard more than once, and would mean all three 2020 iPhones would have an OLED screen.
Another source has broadly agreed, but said to expect a 5.4-inch screen on the iPhone 12 Pro. They also said that the two Pro models will use a form of OLED that’s both thinner and cheaper to produce than the screens used in the iPhone 11 Pro range. That could mean lower prices, but we wouldn’t count on it.
Elsewhere we’ve heard a similar selection of sizes, but that Apple could launch four new models in September. According to an analyst, Apple will launch a 6.7-inch phone, a 5.4-inch one, and two 6.1-inch ones.
They don’t go into any more detail but that suggests there will be both a top-end and slightly lower end model in a 6.1-inch size, if this claim is accurate.
And it might well be, because it’s claim that we’ve now heard again, this time from reputable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who adds that all four models will have OLED screens and 5G, but that one of the 6.1-inch models and the 5.4-inch one will have two rear cameras, while the other two models will have three.
Jon Prosser (another leaker) agrees with all of that (other than the OLED bit, which isn’t mentioned one way or another), but adds that the two top-end models will have a LiDAR scanner as well as three camera lenses.
We’ve also heard that at least some iPhone 12 models could have thinner, cheaper and more energy-efficient screens than the iPhone 11 range. This in turn may allow the phones themselves to be thinner, as well as lasting longer between charges.
iPhone 12 specs
Another big change could take the form of 5G, which has been widely rumored for the iPhone 12. Kuo even says that he thinks all three models will support 5G. We fully expect at least one of them will, given that multiple sources have suggested as much and that a number of other phones already support 5G.
That could well be supported by both a custom-made 5G antenna, an a 5nm A14 Bionic processor inside the iPhone 12 – what that means for the average consumer is an iPhone with an even longer battery life and more power than ever. That would be rather impressive, given the iPhone battery life is currently the best we’ve ever seen from Apple.
The RAM could also get a boost, with analysts claiming that the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max will have 6GB of the stuff, up from 4GB on their predecessors – though the standard iPhone 12 will apparently stick with 4GB. This is something we’ve now heard again, so it may well be true.
The chipset seems ready to wow too, as an A14 Bionic leaked benchmark showed it had a single-core and multi-score score that was ahead of the Snapdragon 865, the processor you’ll find in almost all Android flagships in 2020.
And the iPhone 12 might also support the new 802.11ay specification, which could allow it to share content at speeds of at least 20-30Gbps. So in every sense this phone is likely to be fast.
iPhone 12 camera
The iPhone 12 might also get a camera upgrade, with a laser-powered 3D camera rumored for inclusion. This would be on the back, and while only one rumor mentions lasers, another also talks about a depth-sensing snapper, while one mentions 3D sensing, so this might well be something we see in some form.
We’ve also now seen a leaked sketch showing four rear lenses on the iPhone 12 Pro. This sketch supposedly came from a build of iOS 14 and is backed up by lots of sources.
Three of the lenses look like those on the iPhone 11 Pro, if perhaps slightly bigger, but the new fourth lens looks like the LiDAR scanner found on the iPad Pro 2020. This can accurately judge distances and therefore depth, so it’s in line with the rumors above and would allow for improved augmented reality and Portrait mode.
We’ve since heard specific mention of a LiDAR scanner being included on the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max (alongside three lenses), while the basic iPhone 12 is said to have two camera lenses and no LiDAR scanner. These claims have been made by multiple sources.
Elsewhere, one source says the iPhone 12 might have a 64MP main camera, over the 12MP snapper on the previous few versions, which would be a huge upgrade. This leak also suggests that the phone will have multiple lenses that support night mode shooting, and the ultra-wide snapper could have a dedicated macro mode.
Another report from Fast Company cites sources close to production of the phone and says these same features are in development. One of the sources for this rumor claims the two top models would get this, along with a triple-lens camera, while the two lower end ones would just get a dual-lens camera without 3D sensing.
Elsewhere, we’ve heard that the top end iPhone 12 (likely the iPhone 12 Pro Max) will get a new image stabilization tech called ‘sensor-shift’, which would allow the sensor to move in order to counteract camera shake.
A recent EU ruling may also mean future iPhones won’t be able to use Lightning cables in Europe. That may force Apple to switch the connector on future phones to USB-C, and while it’s not clear yet whether this will be the case for the iPhone 12 it may be something to consider.
Another report from Chinese publication Caifa news also suggests Apple and other manufacturers may soon use GaN power adapters. These are currently used by Xiaomi, and allow for fast-charging speeds up to 65 watts.
There’s no gurantee this will debut on the iPhone 12 – or any future iPhone for that matter – but it may mean we see an improved fast-charging experience along the line.
Should I wait for the iPhone 12?
The iPhone 12 release date is still around half a year away, if the September 2020 launch window stays constant, so you should probably consider the iPhone 11 series if you need a new iPhone in the next few days, weeks or even months.
If you need a new top-tier Apple phone now, you’re looking at the iPhone 11 or the higher-spec iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone 11 Pro Max. Here are the best prices in your region:
Want to know what we want to see from the iPhone 12? Head on over to the next page to find out.
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