The latest rumours have led us to expect the launch of the iPhone SE 2 in early 2020, but Apple is almost certain to wait until the Autumn to launch its main flagship series, as is tradition.
In this article we’ve selected the most reliable rumours we’ve come across so far, and we’ve also set out 5 key features that we’d love to make their way onto the next iPhone. We reckon that there will be a similar product line-up to this year, so we will address the full range: iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max.
iPhone 12 release date
Despite the fact there’s been no official acknowledgement of the next iPhone at this stage, we still can say with a good degree of confidence that we expect the it to be unveiled in September 2020. Just take a quick look over release dates from the last few years, and you’ll soon see why:
- 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
Apple typically allows the phones to be pre-ordered just a few days after the big news event, and then they usually arrive in shops the week after that. The very same week typically sees the release of the new version of Apple’s mobile operating system, expected to be iOS 14 in 2020.
iPhone 12 leaks – What do we know so far?
Nikkei has broken one of the biggest news stories on the iPhone 12 so far: a report that Apple is preparing to ship 80 million units of 5G-enabled modems for next year’s iPhone That surely means nothing other than every phone in the new range being capable of 5G connectivity, a complete U-turn from this year’s somewhat surprising omission of the new mobile data standard from the entire iPhone 11 series.
Another early iPhone 12 rumour (above) suggests that we’ll see a reduced notch for the 2020 iPhone, as the elements required for FaceID unlock will be smaller this time around.
iPhone 12 – How can Apple make it better than the iPhone 11?
1. Introduce 5G connectivity
The big networks in the UK now can offer reliable 5G networks — but despite this, Apple decided against making the iPhone 11 or the iPhone 11 Pro a 5G phone. All of the pre-release rumours had indicated that this would indeed be the case, but we still couldn’t help but feel disappointed that Apple missed the bus last time, while the likes of Samsung and Huawei jumped on board.
Related: Best 5G phones
Next year seems to be the perfect time for introducing 5G to the iPhone. It will be in far wider usage by then, and will be available on many more competing handsets; Apple surely can’t afford to leave it until 2021 until it adds support for the speedy next-gen mobile connection.
The rumour reported above (regarding the quantity of unit shipments of 5G modems), gives us reasonable confidence that 2020 will indeed be the fateful year for 5G on the iPhones. On top of that, O2 has already dropped a hint the next iPhone might pack 5G, and we’re certain that the other major networks will be just as eager for Apple to add its considerable clout to 5G in the UK this year.
2. Ditch the notch
Apple first introduced the notch with the iPhone X, and back then it was an exciting new design direction for the brand, giving the range a fresh and novel feeling despite the intrusion into the screen. Pretty much every other brand soon followed suit, inevitably making the design feel a bit tired — and since that we’ve seen plenty of innovations like shrunken-down teardrop notches, cut-out selfie snappers, and even pop-up camera modules, that firmly relegate the Apple’s chunky screen notch to being a thing of the past.
While a pop-up camera might too distant from Apple’s traditional style aesthetic, we hope that the fashion-conscious brand can find some kind of elegant solution to house all of that nifty Face ID tech at the top of the display without compromising an immersive screen.
3. Switch completely to USB-C
Apple has already switched its high-end iPad Pro and Mac lines to the highly versatile USB-C connection that you’ll find present on almost every other mobile device nowadays (even ditching the Mac’s handy Micro-SD slot in its favour); however, the iPhone still sports a proprietary Lightning port. We’d love the next iPhone to get rid of that old, Apple-only connector completely and join USB-C instead. The iPhone 11 Pro and Max already come with a USB-C adapter provided, which at least gives us some grounds for hope.
Related: iPad Pro 2019
There are nonetheless a few factors that could Apple back from making the switch. Most significantly, the brand makes a tidy sum by licensing the Lightning connector through its MFI programme, and as USB-C is an open-standard this income would likely come shuddering to a halt. On top of that, existing Apple customers who still use the Lightning cables and accessories may also be a bit miffed were it to be ditched.
4. Integrate TouchID right inside the screen
FaceID is a very convenient way to unlock your iPhone: it’s rapid, secure, and reliable, and it’s especially handy in situations where fingerprint authentication just isn’t practical. However, we’d be in favour of Apple offering TouchID as a complementary unlock option (but under the display this time, rather than embedded in a chunky chin like the iPhone 8).
Offering both TouchID and FaceID in the same package would be even more versatile, and ideal for situations when face unlocking isn’t optimal (e.g., subtly checking your phone in the middle of the night.)
Read our iPhone 11 review
- Read our iPhone 11 Pro review
- Prefer Android? Here’s our Pixel 4 review
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5. Refresh the design
Apple has succumbed to a familiar pattern of updating its iPhone design every three years or so, and we’re already becoming impatient for a new look — with the notch being just one facet that needs a re-think. We’d be delighted to see some brighter colours added to the palette across the range, rather than kept exclusively to the cheaper models. Having said that, we would like the matte back panel and triple camera array from the 11 Pro to stay around a while longer, at least for practical purposes.