Apple is set to unveil the iPhone 12 this year and it looks as though the iPhone design could be in for a major revamp. We’ve rounded up all of the early rumours and leaks to paint a picture of what we think Apple’s 2020 flagship range will look like.
Apple launched the budget iPhone SE 2 just months ago and it has already proved itself an excellent addition to the iPhone family. Now, all eyes are on Apple to come out with an equally impressive flagship. Early rumours suggest we’re in for a new design, 5G network support and possibly even a smaller notch.
Here’s everything we know about the iPhone 12 so far.
All the rumours at a glance
- What is it? The iPhone 12 is the follow-up to 2019’s iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max.
- When’s it out? Probably September 2020. The coronavirus pandemic could cause delays in when the handsets will actually ship out.
- What will it cost? We’d expect the price to be in line with current models, so upwards of £700 – though this could rise 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 or just the pricier options.
- What will the iPhone 12 look like? We could see a design more akin to the angular iPhone 5, rather than the softer curves of the iPhone 11.
- Will it come with USB-C? Rumours suggest we’re in for another year of Lightning.
What is the iPhone 12?
The iPhone 12 is the successor to 2019’s iPhone 11. As we saw last year, we’re expecting a series of handsets to choose from, likely ranging from an affordable version of Apple’s flagship to a top-of-the-line specced-out edition, akin to the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
According to @nabilfikran10 (as seen above), there will be a total of four phones in the series – one more than we saw last year. Including April’s iPhone SE 2, this brings us to a total of five Apple handsets for 2020. The new range will reportedly consist of a small iPhone 12 model, an iPhone 12 Plus model which has the same dimensions as the iPhone 11, along with two more models with the same dimensions as the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max.
While we have plenty of reason to believe that there will be four models in the range, not all the specs in the above tweet have been verified as of yet.
iPhone 12 release date – When will it come out?
Apple has offered no official release date for the iPhone 12, but there has been plenty of speculation around when it might arrive. The last four major iPhone releases have taken place in September, leading us to expect a September release for the iPhone 12:
- iPhone 11: September 2019
- iPhone XS and iPhone XR: September 2018
- iPhone X and iPhone 8: September 2017
- iPhone 7: September 2016
While the official launch might still take place in September, there is a chance there will be a delay in devices arriving on shelves due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. According to the WSJ, iPhone production has been pushed back a month. This doesn’t necessarily mean the whole range will be pushed back – we might even see a split release, with the higher end model arriving later than the standard iPhone. This wouldn’t be the first time Apple has adopted this strategy, having done so in 2017 with the iPhone X.
The latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system (presumably called iOS 14) has also traditionally made its debut around the same time of year and the OS will almost certainly be pre-loaded onto the new models as standard. Major iOS updates are usually unveiled at WWDC in June, followed by an array of public and developer-only betas in the run-up to the big launch event.
iPhone 12 price – How much will it cost?
If there’s one thing everyone thinks they know about iPhones, it’s that they don’t come cheap. But it seems that Apple is trying to change that brand image this year, firstly with the iPhone SE 2, and secondly with a new addition to the main iPhone 12 range that’s much more affordable, for a total of five devices across the price spectrum.
Jon Prosser was the source of a great deal of insider information on the iPhone SE 2, so these estimates are easily the most reliable prices we for the iPhone 12 series. They’re also roughly in line with our expectations.
According to his list, there will be a total of four models in the range, with three acting as direct successors to the existing iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max, and the remaining model being a brand new design with a 5.4-inch screen and a more affordable starting price of $649 (~£525).
However, the starting prices do go all the way up to $1099 (£890) for the premium model, so it’s not as if you’ll be able to bag a top-end iPhone for a snip.
iPhone 12 design
UBS analysts believe that Apple will release not one, but four new iPhones in 2020, with the following specifications:
- 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
It would be unusual to see Apple release a slate of four new phones, but it’s understandable as each performs a different function for the brand, from an affordable option all the way to a no-holds-barred, supersize, premium device. But what will they look like?
Twitter leaker Ben Geskin has reported that Apple is working on creating a new Face ID system with smaller optics (above), which could result in a more subtle notch that hugs the top of the phone more closely, perhaps even fitting within the phone’s bezel. It would be a radical design change if the iPhone 12 had a smaller notch or possibly no notch at all (with an in-display camera instead). Several leaks and tips suggest that Apple might also reintroduce TouchID under the display.
Since then, a full video of iPhone 12 Pro Max renders has surfaced courtesy of Max Weinbach (once again) and Everything Apple Pro:
While the design looks familiar, there are a few key changes. Firstly the screen size has been augmented slightly, to reach 6.7-inches and at the top of that screen, the notch has also been shrunk so that now it appears to measure approximately 2cm across. On top of that, the device itself seems to be slimmer with a less obvious camera bump, now measuring 7.4mm thick overall.
If you’ve also been hoping for a refreshed colour palette, then there’s yet more good news on the way. Tipster Max Weinbach, who recently polished his reputation with a flurry of highly accurate Samsung Galaxy S20 leaks, has stated that 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.
The latest rumours are hinting that Apple might be going back to a design it used many years ago. Like the latest round of iPad Pros, it has been suggested the iPhone 12 could have a look similar to the iPhone 5. According to the well-informed Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, some handsets in the line-up will resemble the squarer, more angular design of one of our favourite iPhones ever. Gurman also suggests that at least the two high-end iPhone 12 models will benefit from the new designs, perhaps creating a tiered design hierarchy.
Another, slightly minor, piece of information we have heard surrounding the next iPhone is that it might be the first flagship from Apple to ditch the included EarPods headphones. Now, don’t expect this to mean you’ll find a pair of AirPods nestled in the iPhone 12’s packaging, instead, it seems like you’ll have to provide your own buds. A couple of iterations ago Apple ditched the included headphone dongle so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise the ‘Pods themselves might be next.
We’ve also seen another rumour suggesting that the iPhone 12 will, once again, use Lightning as its main connection port – rather than the now far more common USB-C port you’ll find on the iPad Pro, all of Apple’s laptops and just about every Android phone.
iPhone 12 software – iOS 14 arriving in June
The newest version of Apple’s mobile software is typically unveiled a few months before the launch of the phone, and this year it looks as if iOS 14 will be unveiled at WWDC 2020 on June 22. That’s two weeks later than usual, so bear in mind that the iPhone itself may be similarly delayed. There’s been plenty of speculation about new features included in the new package, but here are the top six priorities on our wishlist:
- Greater performance benefits
- An improved home screen layout
- More information visible on the lock screen
- The ability to set alternative default apps
- Quick access to the camera
- Better multitasking interfaces
iPhone 12 screen
According to prolific leaker Ice Universe, Apple is speaking with major AMOLED display manufacturers (including both Samsung and LG) the screen requirements, and the brand is also mulling over an increased refresh rate, from standard 60Hz to a super-fast 120Hz. It looks like all the versions of the iPhone 12 will use OLED, but the faster refresh will likely be kept for the pricier Pro model.
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 – meaning that the iPhone will catch up with the latest generation of Android phones (including the Pixel 4, Samsung Galaxy S20, and the OnePlus 8 Pro).
But a variable refresh rate similar to the iPad Pro’s ProMotion tech would be a much-welcome addition to the range and should help save battery life as it won’t be pushing 120Hz or 90Hz all the time.
According to a tweet from Ross Young, CEO/Founder at Display Supply Chain Consultants, the range appears to feature multiple different display technologies, as seen in the chart in the above tweet.
iPhone 12 camera – A four-sensor set-up?
Apple recently bought out a start-up, Spectral Edge, which uses infrared imaging tech 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 any clues for what we can expect from the iPhone 12? Truth be told, it’s probably too early for the tech in question to join this year’s iPhone, but it certainly gives us a good idea of we’ll see in the future, and we can’t wait to see how it will look in action.
For now, we at least expect the iPhone 12 Pro models to have a similar set-up to the iPhone 11 Pro, with three rear camera lenses (wide-angle, ultrawide, and telephoto) – but it would certainly be nice to see a telephoto sensor added to the iPhone 12 base model for a diverse triple camera experience.
According to the video posted by EverythingApplePro and Max Weinbach (embedded further up the page), the Pro versions of the handsets will also feature LiDAR sensors in order to enhance Augmented Reality capabilities (similar to the one found on the latest iPad Pro). This would give the device a fourth sensor, making it even more versatile.
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 almost certainly means that each phone in the new flagship range will support 5G, in a complete U-turn from the surprising omission in last year’s range.
We’re looking forward to seeing what Apple can get out of the new technology. The manufacturer seems to have timed this release just right, as, by September, 5G networks should be in far better shape than they are currently, making it an even more enticing proposition to more consumers than before.