Update, October 9, 2020 (05:00 PM ET): We’ve updated the Apple iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro rumor hub below with the confirmed launch date for the series as well as some rumors related to specs and pricing. Read on for all the latest!
Original article: Earlier this year, we were treated to a new smartphone from Apple called the iPhone SE (2020 edition). The entry-level phone offered a lot of iPhone staples for just $399. However, what about the real iPhones? Well, we know the Apple iPhone 12 series will launch very, very soon.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will inevitably cause some delays or other problems for the next batch of iPhones. Obviously, Apple’s usual launch event could also look very different. The iPhones are coming though, you can be assured of that.
Below, you’ll find a summary of all the credible rumors we know so far about the Apple iPhone 12 series. Keep in mind that Android OEMs tend to follow what Apple does, so the news you read in this article could affect you even if you don’t buy iPhones.
Speaking of which, why not click one of the poll answers below before checking out the rest of this article?
iPhone 12: Name and release date
Apple’s naming scheme for its smartphones used to be very straightforward. However, with the launch of the iPhone X in 2017, things got pretty confusing. While we don’t know for certain, we are fairly sure that the Apple iPhone 12 series is what’s on the way this year, and we can assume that based on the history of iPhone names.
Check out what we mean below. The bolded names indicate devices in which Apple largely revamped the design as compared to the previous year:
- 2007 — iPhone
- 2008 — iPhone 3G
- 2009 — iPhone 3GS
- 2010 — iPhone 4
- 2011 — iPhone 4S
- 2012 — iPhone 5
- 2013 — iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C
- 2014 — iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
- 2015 — iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus
- 2016 — iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
- 2017 — iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X
- 2018 — iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max
- 2019 — iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max
So far, all rumors point to this year’s iPhones featuring a significant redesign as compared to last year (see a few sections down below for more on this). Since Apple’s history suggests that new designs tend to get new numbers, we’re inclined to believe that we can expect the Apple iPhone 12 series to launch this year. It is unlikely there will be an iPhone 11S series.
When will we actually see these devices launch? Apple recently confirmed that its next hardware event will happen on October 13, this coming Tuesday. While the company didn’t admit that the iPhones will be there, you can go ahead and assume that that is what’s happening.
Is 2020 the year of new iPhone models?
The list of iPhone releases in the previous section paints a clear picture: as time goes on, Apple is releasing more and more iPhones each year. We already have one new iPhone for 2020, and we expect Apple to have its biggest launch ever this Fall with the Apple iPhone 12 series possibly containing a total of five phones.
If you’ll remember, last year we saw the iPhone 11 (which was the spiritual successor to the iPhone XR), the iPhone 11 Pro (the spiritual successor to the iPhone XS), and the iPhone 11 Pro Max (the spiritual successor to the iPhone XS Max). This year will be different, though.
Check out this leaked image from the frequently correct Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo:
The 4.7-inch iPhone shown in the image above lines up perfectly with the iPhone SE launched in April 2020, so that one is accounted for. That just leaves us to speculate on why there could be two higher-end devices in the Apple iPhone 12 series that are the same size.
One theory is that the 5.4-inch device and one of the 6.1-inch devices are actually two variants of the iPhone 12. The smaller one might be an iPhone 12 Mini, a rumor stemming from reliable leaker “L0vetodream.” The larger would be the iPhone 12. Then the other 6.1-inch device would be the iPhone 12 Pro with a similar design and size as the iPhone 12 but with some upgraded specs, and the 6.7-inch device would be the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
For an idea of how these models could compare to one another as far as sizing goes, check out the physical mockups below, courtesy of MacRumors.
According to rumors, the mockups above would represent the iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max from left to right. The iPhone 12 would likely be the same size as the middle phone but have the dual-lens camera module of the phone on the left.
We have more info related to the possible designs of the iPhone 12 series in the next section.
Finally, there could also be a fifth iPhone 12 model that might not land until early 2021. According to a rumor, this iPhone 12 model would be 4G-only, which means it would likely be the cheapest of the bunch (but probably more expensive than the next iPhone SE installment). It’s early days yet, so we’re not sure if this rumor is going to pan out.
iPhone 12 series design: Squared-off edges are back
Last year, Apple kept the iPhone design very much the same as the 2018 models. The only drastic change was the rear camera module, which turned into a rounded square to make room for the three lenses on the back of the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max. With the Apple iPhone 12 series, though, we expect the whole phone to get redesigned.
The first rumor we’ve heard is that the notch on the front of the iPhones could see a bit of a size reduction. The current notch spans about half of the top of an iPhone, while the new design might shave that down a bit, allowing for more space at the top of the display. However, earlier rumors that the notch could be halved in size appear to be incorrect as of now.
Regardless, Apple would still need the notch to be big enough to carry all the Face ID tech needed to allow for 3D mapping of one’s face. We don’t expect any of the devices in the Apple iPhone 12 series to have fingerprint sensors, which means you would need Face ID for biometric security. As such, don’t expect a display cutout, waterdrop notch, or other solution for iPhones this year.
Elsewhere, we’ve heard quite a few rumors that Apple could bring back the metal rim design of the iPhone 4 which it already did on the recent iPad Pro. This would mean that the Apple iPhone 12 series could have flat screens rather than the curved glass panels on all current models (except the iPhone SE). There are a lot of harsh critics of curved glass displays on smartphones, so this will likely be good news for them.
Early on, there were rumors Apple would either remove the Lightning port on the Apple iPhone 12 series and only rely on wireless solutions or finally make the jump to a standard USB-C port. However, all rumors at the moment point to the iPhone 12 series continuing to use the Lightning connector. It’s far more likely next year’s iPhones will abandon a wired port completely.
Strangely, the latest rumors suggest that Apple will ship some or all of the iPhone 12 series phones without chargers in the boxes. This cost-cutting move will likely be marketed as a “go green” effort on Apple’s part, but it could also be a test run to see how consumers might react to a portless iPhone in the future. The fact that Apple is definitely removing the charger from the box of the new Apple Watch Series 6 only backs up this rumor.
Finally, according to ET News, there could be six different colorways in the iPhone 12 line. One of those colors might be Dark Blue which would possibly replace last year’s Midnight Green. There will also very likely be the usual black and white colorways along with maybe some other new designs.
iPhone 12: Specs and features
Some specifications of the Apple iPhone 12 series are reasonably assured. For example, it’s nearly certain that we’ll see the proprietary A14 chipset in the higher-end iPhones as the 2019 iPhones all had the A13 Bionic.
It’s also nearly certain that the Qualcomm X55 modem will be included in the Apple iPhone 12 series. This will enable at least some iPhones to be 5G-capable, which is essential for Apple to stay competitive. At this point, you can take the inclusion of the X55 modem as a given, since Apple had to eat some serious humble pie to get it.
Some iPhone specs are a given, like the inclusion of the X55 modem. But we can also assume some other specs, too.
This year could be the first time we see iPhones with more than 4GB of RAM. Even the iPhone 11 Pro Max from 2019 still had just 4GB. The iPhone 12 Pro series, though, might come with 6GB of RAM, which is still a paltry amount compared to most Android flagships.
It’s also possible that Apple will finally increase the entry-level amount of internal storage on iPhones this year. The iPhone SE — which, again, only costs $399 — comes with 64GB of storage at the minimum. Therefore, it would seem silly for the high-end models to also start at 64GB. Sure enough, we recently heard a rumor suggesting that 128GB could be the new baseline for high-end iPhones.
These rumors all are backed up by a leak from Display Supply Chain Consultants, even if the names of the phones are likely incorrect. Check out the chart below to see what we mean:
We also heard a rumor that the iPhone 11 series could have 120Hz display refresh rates. This would be the first time an iPhone has had anything higher than the usual 60Hz. However, not everyone agrees on this feature’s inclusion with the iPhone 12 line, so the jury is still out.
Although we don’t have enough confirmed info on internal specs of the iPhone 12 series, we do have confirmation on a lot of the software features the phones will provide. That’s because Apple recently held its WWDC 2020 keynote in which it detailed many of the high-profile features coming to iOS 14. If you want to find out what the new operating system can do, check out our summary here.
As far as cameras go, we only are relatively confident about a feature that probably won’t be coming to the iPhone 12 series: periscope lenses. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, this novel technology that allows for high-quality analog zoom probably won’t show up on an iPhone until 2022.
Finally, the iPhone 12 series might come with some upgraded video capture abilities. According to one rumor, the two iPhone 12 Pro models this year might be able to record 4K video at both 120fps and 240fps. Current iPhones are limited to 4K at 60fps and 1080p at 240fps.
iPhone 12: Price and availability
With the expected inclusion of 5G support as well as the new revamped designs, we can generally assume that the Apple iPhone 12 series will be more expensive than last year’s models.
Most recently, we found info from a reliable leaker on what the pricing might be for the new iPhones. That info is here:
- iPhone 12 Mini (5.4-inch display) — $699
- iPhone 12 (6.1-inch display) — $799
- iPhone 12 Pro (6.1-inch display) — $999
- iPhone 12 Mini (6.7-inch display) — $1,099
Once again, those are rumored prices, so don’t take them as gospel quite yet.
The same leaker also suggests that some iPhones will be available sooner than others. This is what they suggest might be the case for each model:
- iPhone 12 Mini — Pre-orders early November, sales mid-November
- iPhone 12 — Pre-orders mid-October, sales late October
- iPhone 12 Pro — Pre-orders mid-October, sales late October
- iPhone 12 Mini — Pre-orders mid-November, sales late November
As usual, though, you can expect the iPhone 12 series to be available all around the world with similar models in all the usual countries. If there’s one thing you can depend on with Apple is no region-specific nonsense making things confusing for buyers (hint hint, Android OEMs).
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