The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro promise the biggest update in years. Here's what we know so far.
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro promise the most dramatic changes to Apple's flagship phones in years.
While the current iPhone 11 line traces its lineage all the way back to 2017, 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 displays for the Pro models are in doubt based on leaks.
• iPhone 12 launch date: Sept. 8 (rumored)
• iPhone 12 release date: October
• Models: iPhone 12 (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 we won't see the iPhone 12 in September like we typically do with new iPhone releases, rumors and leaks have painted a pretty full picture of what to expect from Apple'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, 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Max, 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, along with a possibly slimmer notch.
Here's everything we know so far about the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro.
iPhone 12 release date
A render of the 5.4-inch iPhone 12. (Image credit: EverythingApplePro)
Although new iPhones typically launch in September, multiple reports have pointed to a delayed release date for the iPhone 12. And Apple confirmed as much in a July 30 earnings call with Wall Street analysts. Chief financial officer Luca Maestri noted that last year's iPhone 11 shipped in September, but added "this year, the supply of the new product will be a few weeks later than that."
That would seemingly point to an October release — that's what leaker Jon Prosser has said. (Prosser has also predicted a new iPad at that time.) Some rumors have suggested a November launch or staggered release date for the new iPhones.
When the new iPhones begin shipping and when Apple actually unveils them may very well be two different dates, though. One iphone 12 launch date rumor claim apple that will debut the new iPhones at a virtual event on September 8. The handsets would go on sale the following month in October. This is according to leaker @ihacktu on Twitter, who has a decent track record — though, curiously, the tweet has since been deleted.
One report based on an note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Max could be released before the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.
iPhone 12 price
A render of the 5.4-inch iPhone 12. (Image credit: EverythingApplePro)
The iPhone 12 price seems to be a moving target. The most recent leak from @komiya_kj on Twitter says that the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 will start at $699 for 64GB. The 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Max have a $799 price for the same amount of storage.
However, it's possible that the pricing could be cheaper should Apple decide to sell 4G LTE-only versions. The above pricing would be for 5G models of the iPhone 12.
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 Max with a 6.1-inch screen would cost $749.
Yet another report based on a note from analyst Jeff Pu says that the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 will start at $749. This would be $50 more than the iPhone 11 and, presumably, without a charger or wired headphones in the box.
There could be a surprise fifth model of the iPhone 12, according to Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives, which would be even cheaper than the $649 entry-level iPhone 12. However, this more affordable iPhone 12 would miss out on 5G. In fact, one leaker on Twitter says that the 4G only iPhone 12 could be priced as low as $549.
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's not a lock quite yet.
Last but not least, the iPhone 12 Pro Max would feature a 6.7-inch display and cost $1,099 or $1,149 to start.
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.
Another look at one of the dual-camera iPhone 12 variants. (Image credit: LetsGoDigital/Concept Creator)
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: Look for the entry-level iPhone 12 to feature a 5.4-inch OLED panel with rumored resolution of 2340x1080. 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 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 Max: 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 Max will have a larger flexible 6.1-inch OLED panel with 2532x1170 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 2532x1170 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 2778x1824, and a 120Hz refresh rate is a possibility here, too.
If you're wondering how all four rumored iPhone 12 models compare, Jon Prosser shared a graphic on Twitter back in April showing the four models and their key specs.
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
A dummy of the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 between a first-gen iPhone SE and iPhone 7. (Image credit: iZac via MacRumors)
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, 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, which seems to confirm the new small size for Apple's lineup.
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.
This iPhone 12 Pro render highlights the premium variant's slimmer bezels and notch, as well as its rumored quad-lens camera. (Image credit: Jonas Daehnert)
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.
Another iPhone 12 Pro Max video brings the CAD renderings and leaks to life. This video is from YouTuber EverythingApplePro, who cites reliable leaker Max Weinbach as their source, and it shows Apple's 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max with flatter sides, a built-in LiDAR scanner, flatter edges and a smaller notch — all wrapped up in a slightly taller-but-thinner design than the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
iPhone 12 colors
We’ve only heard a handful of rumors on the color front, but it’s a safe bet that Apple will likely follow the same pattern of the last couple iPhone launches. That means a greater quantity of colors for the less expensive iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Max, 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.
A visual example of just some of the colors we could see for the iPhone 12 Pro, including a new Midnight Blue hue. (Image credit: EverythingApplePro/YouTube)
At least one rumor says that Apple will spice things up by offering a blue color for the iPhone 12. The blue would replace the Midnight Green color offered on the iPhone 11 Pro and may be exclusive to the new Pro models. ConceptsiPhone created a video showing off what a Navy Blue iPhone 12 Pro might look like, and Svetapple has published an even more recent mockup of the iPhone 12 Pro in this new hue.
iPhone 12 and 5G
A report from Nikkei says that all iPhone 12 models will ship with support for 5G networks, but there's some disagreement as to whether all models will support both types of 5G — sub-6GHz as well as millimeter-wave (mmWave).
While leaker Jon Prosser agrees that all four iPhone 12 models will ship with 5G support, the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 and 6.1-inch iPhone 12 may not employ mmWave technology, which offers the fastest download speeds. Instead, these more affordable devices would feature only sub-6GHz 5G, which reaches much further than mmWave.
5G in this lower band offers longer range but slower data rates than mmWave technology, which can reach up to 2Gbps. The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max will reportedly offer mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G, giving shoppers the best of both worlds. Verizon 5G is focusing, at least initially, on mmWave, which delivers the fastest speeds but requires line of sight view to a small cell or node for service.
Digitimes had backed up the report that only the iPhone 12 Pro models would offer both mmWave and sub-6GHz, but a new report from the publication claims that all four iPhone 12 models will feature wide 5G support. That means the iPhone 12 and 12 Max would work on mmWave 5G, too.
Given that Apple bought Intel’s modem business last year, it's expected that Cupertino will eventually stop getting its 5G modems from Qualcomm and design its own modems in house, the same way it does for its A-series processors. That won't happen in time for the new iPhone 12, though. The earliest we expect to see an iPhone with an Apple-built modem is 2021, though realistically it's probably more than two years away.
iPhone 12 cameras
A report in Digitimes confirms that the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Max 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.
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 expect that to continue for the 2020 versions of the Pro iPhones.
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.
Meanwhile, the iPhone 12 Pro is all but certain to add that aforementioned 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. Subsequent reports on iPhone 12 specs have backed that claim.
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.
iPhone 12 performance
It's a foregone conclusion the iPhone 12 line will be powered by Apple's next-generation A14 Bionic chip. According to a report on the new 5nm processor made by TSMC, the CPU should provide a 15% performance boost while being 30% more efficient. And that's before Apple gets its hands on the chip.
A leaked Geekbench 5 score card suggests the upcoming range of iPhones will wipe the floor with competing Android flagships.
(Image credit: ITHome)
Even though Qualcomm's Snapdragon 865 chipset has somewhat closed the gap to Apple's current A13 Bionic CPU, the rumored 5-nanometer A14 Bionic could once again blow Cupertino's lead wide open. According to the leaked screenshot, the iPhone 12 could reach a peak multi-core score of 4,612 points. If true, that would be roughly 1,500 points higher than Samsung's Galaxy S20 Ultra.
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 further leaks to corroborate these results before buying the hype.
If seeing is believing, a leaker by the name of Mr white has posted images of the A14 Bionic processor on Twitter. A week later, the same individual followed up with an image of the RAM modules that will purportedly complement the A14 chipset.
iPhone 12 display: 120Hz refresh rate
The new iPhone 12 Pro's display could support a welcome improvement over the screens on many current smartphones. Both the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max have been tipped to feature 120Hz ProMotion displays. The regular iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Max 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. Ice Universe seemingly confirmed this feature with the following tweet.
But then, in May, one analyst theorized that the 120Hz feature may not make it to the iPhone 12 Pro. Ross Young said only one phone in 2020 is likely to have the LTPO technology needed to balance the faster refresh rate with decent battery life. That device is the Samsung Galaxy Note 20, which Samsung revealed on August 5. However, in mid-June, Young included both iPhone 12 Pro models on a list of 2020 handsets expected to pack 120Hz displays, so he's seemingly changed his mind about the iPhones' chances.
What makes the new Note's 120Hz screen exciting is that it's actually dynamic. The phone boasts LTPO technology, just like the latest Apple Watch, to dynamically adjust the refresh rate depending on what content is on display. This gives you the best of both worlds — super-smooth visuals when you're gaming, and a slower, more conventional framerate when you don't (like when on-screen content is static) to extend battery life. The iPhone 12 could certainly benefit from such a system, though it's unclear if it'll be ready in time for Apple's 2020 flagships.
The first iOS 14 developer beta also includes an option in the Accessibility menu within the Settings app to limit frame rate. This was shared by leaker Ben Geskin on Twitter, and seemingly confirms that Apple is looking to raise the refresh rate on future iPhone panels. This setting is irrelevant to the current range of iPhones with just 60Hz screens, so the thinking is that it's a giveaway to the iPhone 12 Pro's rumored ProMotion technology. It's worth mentioning that this option also exists on the iPadOS 14 developer beta, for the 120Hz iPad Pro.
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.
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.
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 (5.4 inches) is said to have a 2,227-mAh battery, and the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Max 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.
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 report from analyst Dan Ives (via 9to5Mac) weeks following Kuo's initial note corroborates the lack of EarPods claim.
Could a braided cable be heading to the iPhone 12? (Image credit: @L0vetodream via Twitter)
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. Pictures of the braided cable have now 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.
Both developers and the wider public have access to the iOS 14 beta, and you can read our guide for how to get the iOS 14 beta to download it to your current iPhone. Read our iOS 14 hands-on for a preview on what to expect from the iPhone 12's software.
The final version of iOS 14 will debut on the iPhone 12 when the software launches this fall, and as we've seen from our iOS 14 hands-on with the public beta, there are some big changes to how you interact with your phone.
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 the fall. 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, 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.