It’s official: Apple is unveiling the iPhone 12 range on October 13. Well, it hasn’t mentioned the phones by name but it’s holding an event then, and we fully expect the new handsets to be in attendance.
And this could be a big year for the iPhone, as we’re expecting a lot of changes with the iPhone 12 – more even than in a typical year.
Below you’ll find the ten big changes that we’re expecting with the iPhone 12 range. These things haven’t been confirmed, but the majority of them have been extensively rumored, so they’re very likely happening.
1. 5G finally
That’s all expected to change with the iPhone 12 range, as Apple is finally thought to be launching a 5G iPhone. Most rumors suggest that every main model will support 5G – though there may be 4G versions of some of them too.
The addition of 5G will allow users to take advantage of the very fastest possible mobile data speeds (assuming they also have 5G coverage and a 5G plan).
2. Four phones rather than three
The iPhone 11 range includes the standard model along with the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, but with the iPhone 12 range we’re expecting four models – an iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, and – probably – an iPhone 12 Mini, though some earlier rumors mentioned an iPhone 12 Max instead.
Either way, it amounts to one more option, which when coupled with the possible choice of 4G or 5G, and the recent iPhone SE (2020) as another option, means the iPhone range could be bigger than ever this year, with loads more handsets to choose from.
3. New screen sizes
We mentioned above that there’s likely to be a fourth iPhone model – and that of course means a new size option, but in fact some of the other sizes could be changing too.
Rumors suggest that a basic model, likely dubbed the iPhone 12 Mini but possibly just the iPhone 12, will have a 5.4-inch screen, while the next model up (probably called the iPhone 12, but possibly called the iPhone 12 Max if the smaller model takes the standard name) is thought to have a 6.1-inch screen.
Then there’s the iPhone 12 Pro, which will probably be 6.1 inches as well, just with better specs, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which is said to have a 6.7-inch screen.
For comparison, the iPhone 11 has a 6.1-inch display, the iPhone 11 Pro is 5.8 inches, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max is 6.5 inches.
So if the rumors are right then Apple will launch the biggest iPhone ever with the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max, and the smallest numbered iPhone in years with the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 Mini.
4. Two cheaper options
The extra iPhone model also means there should be two relatively cheap options to choose from, rather than the single basic iPhone 11 model offered in 2019.
This year, there’s thought to be both the iPhone 12 Mini and the iPhone 12, providing two choices for anyone who doesn’t need or can’t afford a Pro model.
Some leaks even suggest that the iPhone 12 Mini could start at just $649 (roughly £500 / AU$910), which would make it cheaper than the iPhone 11 – though still not exactly affordable. For real affordability you should consider the iPhone SE (2020), or a phone not made by Apple.
5. A new chipset
This isn’t a surprising change given that each new generation of iPhone has a new chipset, but it is still a potentially big one, as it could make the iPhone 12 range a lot more powerful.
Apple is expected to equip the phones with its A14 Bionic chipset, which we’ve already seen in the iPad Air 4 (2020). Early benchmarks suggest this is around 20% faster than the A13 Bionic found in the iPhone 11 range, and when you consider that those are still very powerful phones, that should mean the iPhone 12 range is exceptionally speedy.
You might not even initially have a use for all that power, but it should help keep the phones future proofed.
6. A new color
You might not think of a new color as a big change, but it fundamentally changes how a phone can look so we’d say it counts, and the iPhone 12 range may get one in the form of a navy blue or dark blue shade.
However, some rumors suggest this might be reserved just for the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. Whether the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini would then get a different new color is unknown.
7. A 120Hz screen
There has been lots of disagreement among leakers as to whether any iPhone 12 models will have a 120Hz screen, with the most recent information suggesting that there will be a 120Hz screen – but only on the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
A 120Hz refresh rate can make motion feel smoother, so that interacting with your phone overall feels smoother and slicker. It’s a feature we’ve seen on a number of Android handsets such as the OnePlus 8 Pro, but not yet on an iPhone.
So it could make a big difference to how using an iPhone feels, but if it’s really only coming to the iPhone 12 Pro Max then you’ll probably have to spend a lot to get it.
8. A LiDAR scanner
One big new feature that’s rumored for the iPhone 12 range is the presence of a LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) scanner, though – as with the 120Hz screen – reports suggest this might only be present on the more premium models – probably either just the iPhone 12 Pro Max or both that and the iPhone 12 Pro.
In any case, a LiDAR scanner is something we’ve already seen on the iPad Pro 2020, but which isn’t yet available on phones. It’s essentially an advanced method of judging depth and distances, which could allow for improved portrait mode and augmented reality experiences on the iPhone 12 range.
Apple has been hyping augmented reality for years, and with the new phones it could become that bit better and more useful.
9. No power adapter
Here’s a likely change that you might not be so fond of – Apple is rumored to not be including a power adapter in the iPhone 12 box.
This has been extensively rumored and could serve a number of purposes – it could cut costs, as well as making for smaller and lighter packaging which would be cheaper to ship, thereby cutting costs even more.
Plus, with many people likely already having a compatible power adapter it might not be missed by many, and would cut down on environmentally damaging e-waste. So there are a lot of reasonable reasons for it.
10. An iPad-inspired design
While the iPhone 12 range probably won’t have a complete design overhaul, it does look like there will be some significant differences to the iPhone 11 range, with the new phones reportedly being inspired in part by the iPad Pro 2020, along with the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5.
Specifically, the main change looks to be a flatter, squared-off metal frame, in place of the rounded edges on current models.
Visually that would leave the phones looking a little different, but it could make for a very different in-hand feel, and not necessarily for the better. We’ll have to wait and see though.