The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro promise the biggest update in years. Here’s what we know so far.
We’re very close to finally getting to see the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models from Apple, as the iPhone 12 launch event is set for Oct. 13. And these phones promise to feature some of the biggest changes to the iPhone lineup in a long time.
The iPhone 12 will reportedly drop the existing design for an all-new look, as well as add 5G connectivity across the range, Apple’s highly-anticipated A14 Bionic processor and, for the Pro set specifically, LiDAR cameras. The 120Hz display is in limbo based on leaks, but it could be coming to the biggest iPhone Pro Max.
IPHONE 12 LEAKS: SUMMARY
• iPhone 12 launch date: October 13
• iPhone 12 release date: October 23 (rumored)
• Models: iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 mini (5.4 inches), iPhone 12/Max (6.1 inches), iPhone 12 Pro (6.1 inches), iPhone 12 Pro Max (6.7 inches)
• Prices: $649 (iPhone 12), $749 (iPhone 12 Max), $999 (iPhone 12 Pro), $1,099 (iPhone 12 Pro Max)
• Processor: A14 Bionic (all models)
• Screens: OLED (all models)
• Other features: 5G, LiDAR on Pro models
While the iPhone 12 may have missed Apple’s usual September launch window, rumors and leaks dating back months have painted a pretty full picture of what to expect from the company’s upcoming handsets, including their release dates, prices and specs.
The iPhone 12 is expected to come in four models: the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini, 6.1-inch iPhone 12, 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro, and 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max. All four are expected to tout a design the hearkens back to the iPhone 5’s flat machined edges. And plenty of other changes are in store, from the A14 Bionic processor powering the phone to the cameras you’ll use to snap photos.
Here’s everything we know so far about the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro.
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Latest iPhone 12 news (updated October 12)
- A last-minute iPhone 12 design leak has revealed a possibly smaller notch.
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- A last minute leak has revealed a huge amount of information about the iPhone 12 camera upgrades.
iPhone 12 specs (based on leaks)
|iPhone 12 min||iPhone 12||iPhone 12 Pro||iPhone 12 Pro Max|
|Display||5.4-inch Super Retina OLED (BOE)||6.1-inch Super Retina OLED (BOE)||6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED (Samsung)||6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED (Samsung)|
|Processor||A14 Bionic||A14 Bionic||A14 Bionic||A14 Bionic|
|Storage||64GB, 128GB, 256GB||64GB, 128GB, 256GB||128GB, 256GB, 512GB||128GB, 256GB, 512GB|
|Cameras||Dual rear cameras||Dual rear cameras||Triple rear cameras + LiDAR||Triple rear cameras + LiDAR|
|5G||Sub-6GHz||Sub-6GHz||Sub-6GHz, mmWave||Sub-6GHz, mmWave|
|Battery||2,227 mAh||2,775 mAh||2,775 mAh||3,687 mAh|
|Body||Aluminum||Aluminum||Stainless steel||Stainless steel|
iPhone 12 release date
The latest that we’ve heard is that the iPhone 12 could have a release date of October 23. This is based on a leak for the iPhone 12 launch event date.
The iPhone 12 event is officially set for October 13, as Apple has made its announcement. Based on this timing, we would expect the iPhone 12 pre-orders to start October 16.
iPhone 12 price
The iPhone 12 price seems to be a moving target. The most recent info from leaker @a_rumors1111 on Twitter says that the iPhone 12 mini will start at $649 for 64GB. The 6.1-inch iPhone 12 would get a $100 price hike to $749.
The same leak says that the iPhone 12 Pro will cost $999 and got up to $1,299 for 512GB, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max would start at $1,099 and max out at $1,399. However, this leaker doesn’t have an established track record, so take these claims with a grain of salt.
Previously, analyst Jon Prosser said that the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 with two rear cameras will start at $649, which would be quite affordable at $50 less than the iPhone 11. The iPhone 12 with a 6.1-inch screen would cost $749.
The iPhone 12 Pro, which would have three rear cameras plus a LiDAR sensor, may start at $999 or $1,049. The iPhone 12 Pro could also feature a 120Hz ProMotion display, but that feature is in doubt.
Last but not least, the iPhone 12 Pro Max would feature a 6.7-inch display and cost $1,099 to $1,199.
iPhone 12 models
Since a forecast from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo last year, we’ve known that four different iPhone 12 models are on tap for 2020: one at 5.4 inches, two at 6.1 inches and the largest variant measuring 6.7 inches. All four 2020 iPhones will have 5G, Kuo says.
These four phones are also expected to incorporate OLED displays, which would mark a change for Apple. Like the iPhone XR before it, the iPhone 11 features an LCD display instead of an OLED panel.
Note that we’ve now seen multiple leaks saying that the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 could be called the iPhone 12 mini. The 6.1-inch model would simply be called iPhone 12, followed by the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max. A purported packaging leak for the iPhone 12 mini Apple Silicon case seems to confirm the mini moniker.
Here’s a closer look at what to expect from each iPhone 12 model, as detailed by a report from Display Supply Chain CEO Ross Young.
iPhone 12 mini: Look for the entry-level iPhone 12 to feature a 5.4-inch OLED panel with rumored resolution of 2340×1080. Young expects the display to feature Y-OCTA technology, which means that the touch sensor is integrated directly into the display.
In terms of other hardware, the iPhone 12 mini is expected to feature an A14 processor, 4GB of RAM and a choice between 128GB and 256GB of storage. Like the iPhone 11, this model will rely on dual rear cameras, losing the telephoto in the Pro variants.
The iOS 14 beta has essentially confirmed the 5.4-inch model of the iPhone 12, as the Display Zoom accessibility feature now supports panels with the iPhone 12’s resolution.
iPhone 12: This 6.1-inch iPhone will feature the same hardware as the standard iPhone 12 — A14 processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB or 256GB of storage and dual rear cameras. The biggest difference will be the screen and battery size, both of which will see increases. The iPhone 12 will have a larger 6.1-inch OLED panel with 2532×1170 resolution.
iPhone 12 Pro: The 6.1-inch flexible OLED on this model could be the first phone to feature 10-bit color support, according to Young. It will feature a 2532×1170 resolution along with Y-OCTA technology. There’s a chance this phone’s screen could support a 120Hz refresh rate, though rumors have gone back and forth on that front over the last several months.
Expect 6GB of RAM in this A14-powered model with storage options ranging from 128GB to 512GB. The Pro series is rumored to feature three rear lenses, highlighted by a 64MP main sensor, plus a LiDAR time-of-flight sensor that will improve performance of iPhone AR apps.
iPhone 12 Pro Max: Expect the same RAM, storage and camera features as the iPhone 12 Pro, only with a bigger 6.7-inch OLED panel. Resolution could be 2778×1824, and a 120Hz refresh rate is a possibility here, too.
A better look at how the different sizes compare comes in a YouTube video by iupdate that shows relatively high-quality iPhone 12 dummy units in three different sizes, and compares how they fit in people’s hands.
iPhone 12 design
So what will the new iPhones look like? All four iPhone 12 models are expected to bring back the flat metal-edge design of the iPhone 5, according to Bloomberg. This design change will also bring the iPhone lineup closer to the iPad Pro 2020.
The most interesting variant should be the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini, which has been leaked via a purchased dummy unit. It’s even smaller than the 4.7-inch iPhone 7, despite having a larger display. And it’s not significantly larger than the original 4-inch iPhone SE.
Another leak shows the actual display panel for the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini, which seems to confirm the new small size for Apple’s lineup. This comes from Weibo user Digital Chat Station (via MyFixGuide).
If you’re confused as to why the rear cameras and notches look unchanged from the iPhone 11 range, the simple reason is that these finer design details often aren’t accounted for in dummy units, because they’re usually not important to the construction of accessories.
However, an image by Twitter leaker Komiya shows what could be the final design for the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. This includes a notch up front and a square camera array that tucks in a smaller LiDAR sensor than what’s found on the iPhone 12 Pro.
It was once heavily rumored that Apple would downsize the notch by a considerable margin in its upcoming phones; Jon Prosser leaked schematics indicating as much back in April. Prosser then followed up in early August, saying that the smaller notch was “mostly confirmed.” However, Prosser didn’t offer any indication of how much smaller the new notch will be.
As time has gone on, however, rumors of a smaller notch have cooled off considerably. Ice Universe, a leaker usually associated with Samsung phones, stated on Oct. 7 that the “shorter” notch has been saved for the iPhone 13 line, indicating that we perhaps shouldn’t expect a new, slimmed-down or more compact notch design for this year’s batch of iPhones. They then provided a sketch illustrating precisely what they meant by “shorter,” presenting a notch that doesn’t dip quite as far into the handset’s screen as that on the iPhone 11.
Meanwhile, various designers have tried their hand at creating mockups of what the next iPhones will look like, based on rumors and leaked CAD drawings. The folks at Concept Creator built a render of the 5.4-inch iPhone 12, published in a video by LetsGoDigital. You’ll note that it has flatter sides and a smaller notch, as well as a SIM tray that has been relocated beneath the volume buttons.
The above image from designer Jonas Daehnert shows what the iPhone 12 Pro could look like with the flat edges, a smaller notch and a fourth “camera,” which would presumably be a LiDAR sensor for more immersive augmented reality applications. That feature was introduced in the iPad Pro that came out in March.
Apple may bulk up the durability of the front cover glass on all four iPhone 12 models, with the use of a new layer called the “Ceramic Shield Front Cover.” This comes according to a comprehensive leak on Weibo that broke on Oct. 9. It’s unclear if this is the name Apple will give to the design change.
If true, this would put the iPhone at a parity with the newest high-end Android phones, like the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, which comes equipped with Corning’s new Gorilla Glass Victus.
iPhone 12 colors
The possible iPhone 12 colors are starting to come into focus now that we’re getting closer to the launch of the new iPhones. We think Apple is going to follow the same pattern of the last couple iPhone launches. That means a greater quantity of colors for the less expensive iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12, while the iPhone 12 Pro models will adopt darker, more traditional color schemes such as Space Gray and silver with more of a premium-seeming finish to them.
At least one rumor says that Apple will spice things up by offering a blue color for the iPhone 12 Pro. The blue would replace the Midnight Green color offered on the iPhone 11 Pro. ConceptsiPhone created a video showing off what a Navy Blue iPhone 12 Pro might look like, and Svetapple has published another mockup of the iPhone 12 Pro in this new hue.
Most recently, a leaker named Kang on Chinese social networking site Weibo (by way of Ice Universe on Twitter) suggested the iPhone 12 mini and regular iPhone 12 will be offered in black, white, red, blue, and green, while the iPhone 12 Pro variants will ship in gold, silver, graphite and blue.
iPhone 12 5G
All iPhone 12 models will reportedly ship with support for 5G networks, but it’s possible that only one model will offer the fastest possible speeds.
According to a report from Fast Company, the iPhone 12 Pro Max will be the only device in the lineup to support mmWave 5G. The other three models would support sub 6-GHz 5G. Apparently, only the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max will be large enough to accommodate both a mmWave antenna and a battery large enough to compensate for the expected battery drain.
5G in this lower band offers longer range but slower data rates than mmWave technology, which can reach up to 2Gbps. Verizon 5G is focusing on mmWave, at least initially, to deliver the fastest 5G speeds, though mmWave connectivity requires line of sight view to a small cell or node for service.
According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will ship only 4 to 6 million iPhone 12 devices with mmWave modems this year. This is less than the “market consensus of 10-20 million” units. He cites the COVID-19 pandemic for a reduced number of mmWave base stations being deployed. But Kuo doesn’t say which iPhone 12 models will get which flavor of 5G.
iPhone 12 cameras
A report in Digitimes confirms that the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 will have two rear cameras, and the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max will have three rear cameras plus a new LiDAR sensor.
According to a separate report, the iPhone 12 will feature a new 7-part lens for the main camera, which would be an upgrade from the 6-part lens on the iPhone 11 series. The extra lens should result in better photo quality and reduced distortion.
Given that the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max featured triple-lens rear cameras for the first time in Apple’s hardware, we’d expect the 2020 versions of the iPhone Pro to once again include a main lens, wide-angle shooter and telephoto lens. As for that LiDAR time-of-flight sensor. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects it to be included on at least two iPhone 12 models, which would almost assuredly be the Pro versions.
One leaker posted a purported iPhone 12 Pro case to Reddit, which includes five holes in the camera area. This lends additional weight to there being a LiDAR sensor, as there would be three cameras, a flash and room for an extra sensor.
Expect the sensor to more accurately judge the distance between your phone and the object you’re shooting. That will lead to better portrait shots, while also enabling more accurate object tracking and effects in those AR apps Apple is so keen on. One rumored use would let users point their iPhone 12 at items in Apple Stores and Starbucks and see digital information appear on the phone’s display.
DigiTimes has also published claims that the next iPhone will employ “sensor shift.” This is a new kind of stabilization technology that works by detecting how the phone is moving, and then moving the camera sensors in the opposite direction using small actuators to keep your picture steady. Think of it as a more elaborate form of conventional optical image stabilization.
In terms of video, EverythingApplePro reports that the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max will be able to record 4K footage at 120 frames per second or 240 fps. That would be an upgrade from the maximum 60 fps available on the iPhone 11 range.
Based on a patent filing, Apple is also working on a periscope-like telephoto lens that should provide a longer zoom range than previous iPhones. Apple is apparently trying to fit five-lens and three-lens arrays into a smaller space by using a prism to reflect light. However, a subsequent report citing analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that Apple won’t be adopting a periscope zoom until 2022.
A new and last-minute leak from a Twitter account linked to Max Weinback has claimed the iPhone 12 models will have a range of camera enhancements. All models will get a “massive boost” in digital and optical zoom, though the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini will be reliant on digital zoom only as they won’t have a telephoto lens, whereas the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max will have a 3x telephoto camera. Digital zoom will apparently go up to 30x.
Weinback also said the night mode will be extended to the telephoto cameras as well. Some form of macro feature is also expected on the Pro phones as well. And apparently the aperture on the ultra wide angle camera is also being increased to improve low light performance.
iPhone 12 performance and A14 Bionic
It’s a foregone conclusion the iPhone 12 line will be powered by Apple’s next-generation A14 Bionic chip.
Apple revealed the A14 Bionic chip during its Sept. 15 Special Event, which was primarily focused on Apple Watch and iPad. The A14 Bionic will ship first in the new iPad Air 4. With a new 6-core design packed within that 5-nanometer size, the new chip packs a whopping 11.8 billion transistors.
Updates have been made all around, with the new Neural Engine doubling the amount of cores in the A13, from 8 cores to 16 cores. Second-generation machine learning accelerators will double the speed of machine-learning related tasks compared to the A13, while a 4x faster GPU will deliver console-quality graphical fidelity.
A leaked Geekbench 5 benchmark result for the iPad Air shows a single-core score of 1,583 and a multi-core score of 4,198. That’s significantly higher than what the iPhone 11 Pro turned in (1,337/3,509).
Even though Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 chipset has somewhat closed the gap to Apple’s current A13 Bionic CPU, the 5-nanometer A14 Bionic could once again blow Cupertino’s lead wide open.
For context, the faster Snapdragon 865 Plus chip inside the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra reached a multi-core score of 3,294, so it would not even be close to the iPhone 12.
The catch, of course, is that leaked benchmarks are quite easy to fake. So while these purported numbers are very exciting, we recommend you wait for verified testing before buying the hype.
iPhone 12 display: 120Hz refresh rate for Pro?
One of the most anticipated iPhone 12 Pro features is up in the air and could be in trouble. Both the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max have been tipped to feature 120Hz ProMotion displays. The regular iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 will likely offer 60Hz displays.
Offering an iPhone Pro with a 120Hz refresh rate should mean smoother scrolling as well as more fluid video playback and responsive gameplay. However, while Apple may be able to pull off this feature in time, it looks like it could prove difficult.
In fact, Apple leaker Jon Prosser has tweeted that “120hz (codename: d6x) didn’t make mass production 😞*now* you can give up.” So the hope for a 120Hz display on the iPhone 12 Pro could be dashed.
iPhone 12 battery life and charging
One detail concerning battery and charging as it relates to the iPhone 12 will surely disappoint most buyers, no matter how you slice it. Multiple rumors — one of which comes courtesy of analyst Ming-Chi Kuo — suggest Apple will forgo including a charging adapter with any iPhone 12 model. Not even a conventional, slow 5-watt charger. The new Apple Watches introduced in September ship without chargers, so the writing may be on the wall for the iPhone, too.
As it turns out, Apple is developing a 20-watt brick to replace the company’s existing 18-watt solution, but it won’t actually ship with any of their new phones. That means buyers will have to shell out cash for a charger if they don’t already have one that is compatible with an iPhone. The current price of an 18-watt first-party Apple charger and Lightning-to-USB-C cable is $48 together.
|iPhone 12 series (leaked)||iPhone 11 series|
|iPhone 12 mini (5.4 inches): 2,227 mAh||iPhone 11 (6.1 inches): 3,110 mAh|
|iPhone 12 (6.1 inches): 2,775 mAh||iPhone 11 Pro (5.8 inches): 3,046 mAh|
|iPhone 12 Pro (6.1 inches): 2,775 mAh||iPhone 11 Pro Max (6.5 inches): 3,969 mAh|
|iPhone 12 Pro Max (6.7 inches): 3,687 mAh|
The silver lining to this decision is that at least it should diminish needless waste, as many customers likely already have a charger available to them, and shipping another with every phone is damaging to the environment. However, it’s reasonable to expect a charger if you’re already spending upwards of four digits on a handset, and so we would have at least hoped Apple would include that 20-watt brick with the Pro models, or give customers the option to add one in for a reduced cost.
As far as iPhone 12 battery capacities, a certification from the 3C points to lower capacities than the iPhone 11. The iPhone 12 mini (5.4 inches) is said to have a 2,227-mAh battery, and the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro will reportedly feature 2,775-mAh batteries. The iPhone 12 Pro Max would have a 3,687-mAh battery. Another regulatory filing in Korea also points to a 2,775-mAh battery for the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 models.
By comparison, the 6.1-inch iPhone 11 has a 3,110-mAh battery, the 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Pro sports a 3,046-mAh battery and the iPhone 11 Pro Max houses a 3,969-mAh pack.
As far as wireless charging goes, it’s possible that the back of the iPhone 12 lineup will have magnets embedded. This would make it easier to connect with a new batch of wireless charging mats that have magnets placed in them. One of these wireless charging prototypes for a possible iPhone 12 accessory has allegedly leaked on video, and one of the most recent leaks dubs this system “MagSafe Charging,” bringing back a popular moniker longtime Apple fans will recall.
iPhone 12 Touch ID in display?
Back in April, it was reported by China’s Economic Daily News that at least one iPhone 12 model could offer an under-display ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, which would bring Touch ID back in a new way.
However, we haven’t heard much to corroborate that. In fact, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has stated that 2021 could be the year to expect Touch ID to make a return, alongside Face ID.
Additionally, an Apple patent that’s been recently unearthed by AppleInsider suggests Cupertino is working on its own approach for an in-display authentication system. While the iPhone 12 is much too soon to see something like this come to fruition, theoretically it could surface by the time the iPhone 13 emerges late next year.
iPhone 12 accessories
The iPhone typically ships with a set of earbuds and a charger. (In the case of the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, that’s a fast 18-watt charger.) But Apple may have different plans for the iPhone 12.
We’ve already mentioned the rumor that Apple could skip including a charger with the iPhone 12. But analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also expects Apple to leave EarPods out of the iPhone 12 box.
That would seem like a curious omission, but Kuo believes that Apple is going to try to get customers to upgrade to its wireless AirPods by shipping its next iPhones without included earbuds for the first time ever. A subsequent report from analyst Dan Ives (via 9to5Mac) corroborates the missing EarPods.
It may be small consolation to iPhone 12 shoppers, but Apple could upgrade the one accessory that will still come with its phones. A tweet from a phone leaker suggests the iPhone 12 will include a braided USB-C-to-Lightning cable.
Theoretically, a braided cable should be more durable than a standard plastic-shrouded charging cable, so that would be an upgrade from what Apple’s used in the past. Lots of pictures of the braided iPhone 12 cable have emerged, lending credence to this rumor.
iPhone 12 and iOS 14
We now know a great deal about the mobile OS that will power the new iPhone 12 models. Apple previewed iOS 14 at its annual developer conference, showcasing new features like a redesigned home screen and updates to Maps and Messages among other highlights.
A full release of the software is now out, and you can download iOS 14 to your current device. (Our iOS 14 review tells you what to expect from the software that will come pre-installed on the iPhone 12.)
iOS 14 lets you place widgets on the home screen, and there’s a new App Library to more easily find your software. You can also expect enhancements to existing apps like Voice Memos, Notes and Weather, along with a new Translate app.
Those are just the changes we know about, though. There could be AR improvements specifically tied to the iPhone 12 Pro’s anticipated LiDAR sensor that we won’t see in action until those new phones ship. That’s just one of the hints iOS 14 offers about potential iPhone 12 features.
iPhone 12 outlook
Based on the rumors surrounding the iPhone 12, Apple’s 2020 phone update sounds like an exciting one. Now we just need to wait a little bit longer than usual for the new iPhones to arrive.
It seems like the biggest improvements will come in the areas of 5G connectivity and support for augmented reality apps with the time-of-flight sensor slated for the pricier iPhone 12 models. The importance of 5G hinges heavily on how far along wireless carriers are with building out 5G coverage by the time the iPhone 12 ships.
Even with daily iPhone 12 leaks appearing now that we’re about to see the phones unveiled, there’s still so much we don’t know about Apple’s first 5G iPhones. So be sure to keep an eye on this hub over the coming weeks as new information surfaces.