iPhone 12 rumours: New design, colours, and sizes, 5G, and no earbuds

iPhone 11 Pro
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Everything you want and need to know ahead of the big reveal

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12 October 2020 | 0

After a month-long delay that moved it from its traditional September time slot, the annual iPhone event is almost here. On Tuesday at 5pm, Apple will kick off its Hi, Speed event and we’ll get the first official look at the iPhone 12.

But as usual, very little about it is unknown. There have been rumours about the iPhone 12 for more than a year now and a pretty complete picture of the new handsets has emerged over the last few weeks. So if you like surprises, stop reading. Otherwise, here’s what you can expect to see.

A refreshed design

The iPhone hasn’t really changed much since the home button-less iPhone X landed on the scene with a four-figure price tag, but the 12 looks to shake things up a bit. Instead of the curved edges that we’re used to, the iPhone 12 will reportedly adopt a ‘flat’ design reminiscent of the iPad Pro. Renders show a design somewhat reminiscent of the iPhone 5, with slightly squarer corners and completely flat edges.

 

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Otherwise, the iPhone 12 will probably look similar to the iPhone 11. The square camera array on the back will reportedly be in the same spot and the lenses will be just as gigantic. The Apple logo will be centred like before and the Lightning port and speaker will seemingly be in the same spots.

And if you were hoping the notch would be going away, you’re not going to be happy. While early reports suggested that it would be smaller or perhaps disappear completely, the latest rumblings say the notch will be the same size as it is on the iPhone 11.

The bezels around the screen might be a touch smaller, however. According to leaked schematics, the bezels on the iPhone 12 Pro Max will shrink “by about 40% on all four sides, from 2.5mm to 1.5mm.” A millimetre might not sound like much, but it should make a huge difference.

As far as colours go, we’ve heard the Apple is working on a navy blue colour for the iPhone 12 Pro to replace last year’s Midnight Green, possibly called Midnight Blue. As far as the non-Pro iPhone 12, we are less certain of what to expect, but light blue, violet, and orange have been floated, which just so happens to match the hues on the invite. A more recent rumour from Weibo leaker Kang suggests somewhat tame colours: black, white, red, blue, and green.

Display

While the design might be a departure for the iPhone, the real changes are coming to the displays. For one, they’re all going to be OLED, so colours will be richer and blacks will be deeper even on the non-Pro models. Kang thinks the whole line will be going Super Retina XDR, but we’re not so sure. Our best guess is HD (720p) for the iPhone 12 and Full HD (1080p) for the iPhone 12 Pro. Or in Apple terms, Retina HD and Super Retina XDR.

Also, the sizes are allegedly changing. While the iPhone 12 will likely be 6.1″ like the iPhone 11, the rest of the lineup will be very different. According to numerous rumours, the 5.8″ Pro will also be 6.1″ this year, while the 6.5″ iPhone 12 Pro Max will be growing to 6.7″. And a new 5.4″ iPhone 12 mini model will reportedly be joining the lineup as well. Here’s how it should shake out.

iPhone 12 mini: 5.4″, roughly the same size as the iPhone SE
iPhone 12: 6.1″, roughly the same size as the iPhone 11
iPhone 12 Pro: 6.1″, roughly the same size as the iPhone 11
iPhone 12 Pro Max: 6.7″, slightly bigger than the iPhone 11 Pro Max

It’s also possible that the Pro models have 120Hz ProMotion displays for faster scrolling and smoother video.

Speed, storage, and accessories

The tag line for Apple’s Tuesday event is ‘Hi, Speed,’ so we can bet the iPhone 12 will be getting a speedy new chip. But even without the tagline, it was a pretty safe bet that the iPhone 12 would be getting the A14 Bionic chip, following the A13, A12, A11, etc.

Apple actually already debuted the new chip in the iPad Air, so we know a bit about it. It’s built on a 5nm process, so it’s more efficient and powerful, with a six-core CPU that is 40% faster than the A12 Bionic. Additionally, a 4-core GPU delivers graphics speeds that are 30% faster than the A12. And the next-generation 16‑core Neural Engine can process 11 trillion operations per second, Apple says, resulting in a 2x increase in machine learning performance.

Apple likely held back some of the finer points of the A14 for the iPhone launch as well, so it could be even faster and more powerful than we think. Add to that a new W (wireless), U (ultra-wideband), T (security), and ISP (image signal processor) chips and you’ve easily got one of the fastest portable devices ever made.

We won’t know about the RAM or battery capacity until the inevitable teardown, but rumours aren’t pointing to any huge leaps in either. After all, memory and battery life have never really been an issue with iPhones, but if you’re hoping for a breakthrough, it seems unlikely this time around.

What is likely is a storage boost. All signs point to Apple bumping the base storage to 128Gb on at least the Pro models. However, while you’re getting more storage, you’re getting less stuff in the box. Apple is all but certain to dump the charger and the earbuds from the iPhone 12 and include a USB-C-to-Lightning cable as the sole accessory.

5G

The iPhone is basically the only premium phone that doesn’t have a 5G modem onboard, but that’s going to change with the iPhone 12. All rumours point to an all-5G lineup this year. With the tagline ‘Hi, Speed,’ Apple basically confirmed it.

Camera

Even before there were pro models, Apple differentiated its iPhone by both the size of the display and the capability of the camera. That isn’t likely to change with the iPhone 12. According to reports, the iPhone 12 and 12 mini will have a dual-camera system while the Pro and Pro Max will have a triple-camera array.

The lenses aren’t expected to vary much over last year’s models, either. According to rumours, you’ll get a wide and ultra-wide lens with the regular models and an extra telephoto lens with the Pro. Recent rumours claim the Pro Max could have a telephoto lens as high as 5X optical zoom, which would be a massive boost over the current 2X zoom. Additionally, the higher-end phones will also reportedly get the same LiDAR time-of-flight sensor that Apple introduced with the iPad Pro.

What we don’t know is how much better the cameras will actually be. Will the telephoto capabilities rival Samsung’s 50X Space Zoom? Will Deep Fusion take another leap forward? Will there be any new tricks like last year’s night mode? We’ll know very soon but you can probably bet that the iPhone 12’s camera will once again blow us away.

Pricing

While Android phones have seen premium pricing attached to 5G, it’s unlikely Apple will change the iPhone 12 pricing much.

At the low-end, Apple is might shake things up, with the iPhone 12 will jumping to the mid-tier while the iPhone 12 mini slides into the ‘ffordable’ slot. Both phones will ship with 64Gb of storage.

IDG News Service

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