The iPhone 12 is expected to arrive later this year, and it could introduce a revolutionary change for Apple. Here’s all we know so far from the early rumours.
Apple’s yearly flagship phone release schedule continued with the iPhone 11 in 2019 and we expect the iPhone 2020 to arrive sometime in Q3. We reckon that there will be a similar product line-up to last year, so we’ll address the full range: iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. With this range, we finally expect Apple to usher in 5G connectivity to its flagship smartphones for the first time.
The first thing to remember is the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro only came out in September (and we expect the launch of the much-rumoured iPhone SE 2 or rather, the iPhone 9, sometime in early 2020), so news at this stage is relatively thin on the ground. Of course, that doesn’t make it any less fascinating.
Al the rumours at a glance
- What is it? The follow-up to 2019’s iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max
- When’s it out? Probably September 2020, however, the coronavirus outbreak might cause a delay
- What will it cost? We’d expect the price to be in line with current models, so upwards of £700 – although this could rise yet higher due to recent increases in manufacturing costs.
- Will iPhone 12 have 5G connectivity? Almost certainly, but we’re not sure whether this will apply to all of the new models
iPhone 12 Release Date
There’s been no official acknowledgement of the next iPhone at this stage, but we can still say with a good degree of confidence that it should be unveiled in September 2020. You just need to cast your eyes over recent release dates from the last few years to see why we’re so sure:
- iPhone 11: September 2019
- iPhone XS and iPhone XR: September 2018
- iPhone X and iPhone 8: September 2017
- iPhone 7: September 2016
- iPhone 6s: September 2015
- iPhone 6: September 2014
Based on that pattern we’d expect it to be the second week of September – so pencil that into your diary. Apple typically allows new iPhone models to be pre-ordered a few days after the big launch event, and they tend to arrive on shop shelves the following week.
Having said all that, there is one very significant factor that could cause a delay: the ongoing threat of coronavirus. It has been reported that due to coronavirus-inspired travel restrictions from the US to China, work on the next iPhone 12 could be impacted. We’ll keep a close eye on this situation to see how it develops over the following months.
The latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system (expected to be iOS 14 this time around) will also likely arrive around the same time and will be pre-loaded on all the new models as standard. iOS normally gets its big unveiling at WWDC in June, followed by an array of public and developer-only betas in the run-up to launch.
iPhone 12 Design
UBS analysts believe Apple will release a total of four new iPhones in 2020:
- A 6.7-inch iPhone with 6GB of RAM and a triple-lens rear camera with 3D sensing
- A 6.1-inch iPhone with 6GB of RAM and a triple-lens rear camera with 3D sensing
- A 6.1-inch iPhone with 4GB of RAM and a dual-lens rear camera
- A 5.4-inch iPhone with 4GB of RAM and a dual-lens rear camera (likely to be the iPhone 9)
But what will they look like?
Twitter leakster Ben Geskin reports that Apple is working on a new Face ID system with smaller optics. So what does that mean? Potentially, a notch that hugs the top of the phone more closely, perhaps even fitting within the phone’s bezel, Such a reduced notch for the 2020 iPhone, or possibly no notch at all, could mean a front-facing camera embedded into the display.
Could it be that the elements required for FaceID unlock will be smaller this time around? Or has Apple perfected under-screen cameras? Or is it planning to revert to a Touch ID, ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, operating under the screen? Several leaks and tips suggest it might. Whatever the specifics, we sincerely hope that the chunky, intrusive notch that’s been a mainstay since the iPhone X will finally be a thing of the past.
If you’re hoping for a refreshed colour palette, then there’s some more good news for you. Tipster Max Weinbach, who recently burnished his reputation with accurate Samsung Galaxy S20 leaks, reckons the upcoming iPhone 12 Pro is set to be available in navy blue (shown above in a rendered image). The current model, the iPhone 11 Pro, is available in the following four tones: Space Grey, Silver, Midnight Green, and Gold, so we’re not sure if this new colour will be an extra or a replacement.
iPhone 12 Screen
According to prolific tipster Ice Universe, Apple is currently in talks with both major AMOLED display suppliers Samsung and LG, about manufacturing the screen, and it’s also considering doubling the refresh rate from standard 60Hz to a super-fast 120Hz.
A variable refresh rate would mean that the new iPhone could switch between high and low refresh rates depending on the use, like the ProMotion tech used in the iPad Pro – and it would finally catch up with the latest generation of Android phones (including the Pixel 4, Samsung Galaxy S20, and the OnePlus 7T) that offer enhanced refresh rates.
What sets ProMotion apart from the high refresh screens on those Android phones mentioned above is that it can dial-up (and down) the rate depending on what you’re doing. Having a 120Hz display is pointless if you’re watching a 24fps film, for instance, and in fact, it could even detract from the performance as a consistently high refresh rate could negatively affect battery life.
iPhone 12 Camera
Apple recently snapped up a start-up, Spectral Edge, which employs infrared imaging and machine learning to create “crisper, and more lifelike photos”. The company has worked on better white balancing, as well as combining infrared photographs with standard photos, to capture better photos in sub-optimal misty and foggy conditions.
Could this provide a clue for what to expect from the iPhone 12? If truth be told, it’s probably a little early for the technology to be integrated into this year’s iPhone, but it certainly gives us a good idea of we’ll see in the future.
Will the iPhone 12 have 5G?
Nikkei has reported that Apple is preparing to ship a total of 80 million units of 5G-enabled modems for this year’s iPhone. This news surely means that each phone in the new flagship range will support 5G, in a move that would represent a complete U-turn from 2019’s somewhat surprising omission of the new mobile data standard from the entire iPhone 11 series.
We’re looking forward to seeing what Apple can get out of the new technology, and the manufacturer looks t have timed the release just right; by September, 5G networks should be in far better shape than they are currently, making it an even more enticing proposition.