With Apple's iOS 14 available for public beta, we now know more about what the upcoming iPhone, and all the other iPhones compatible with the update, can do. From widgets and app libraries to picture-in-picture, you can expect a bunch of software as well as hardware upgrades to the iPhone 12, 12 Pro and 12 Max. (Apple has not confirmed the names of the phones, but we'll go with those for now.)
It looks as though the new iPhones are on schedule for the fall, but when exactly they will launch during the season is still up in the air. Though we usually see new flagship iPhones in September, recent reports say that Apple may delay the iPhone 11 sequels due to the coronavirus. Early into the outbreak, COVID-19 forced Apple to close its US retail stores, though some have now reopened in limited ways. Suppliers in China have also shut down or are operating on limited capacity, which may affect not only inventory in September but sales, too.
Despite such disruptions, rumors continue to swirl around the iPhone 12 phones, which we imagine will continue until they officially launch. In addition to maybe introducing 3D depth-sensing to its rear cameras and new screen sizes, speculation has arisen that Apple will belatedly include a feature in the iPhone that would make it competitive with its competitors: 5G. This makes sense considering its main rival, Samsung, launched several 5G phones this year, including the recent Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra, as well as the flagship Galaxy S20 phones.
Until any of that happens though, check back often as we will continue to update it with the most probable and compelling rumors.
Top iPhone 12 rumors
- Apple said the iPhone 12 will be available "a few weeks later" than the usual mid-September launch. An October release date is possible.
- There may be four iPhone 12 models in three different screen sizes: the iPhone 12 (5.4-inch), 12 Max (6.1-inch), 12 Pro (6.1-inch) and 12 Pro Max (6.7-inch).
- iPhone 12 base model may be cheaper than the iPhone 11's $699 starting price.
- iPhone 12 may not come with earbuds or a power adapter.
- iPhone 12 may come in dark blue.
- iPhone 12 phones may have 5G.
- iPhone 12's rear-facing camera(s) may have 3D depth-sensing technology.
Release date: iPhone 12 may not debut until October
Despite Apple's largest manufacturer, Foxconn, assuring investors it should still make its fall timeline, The Wall Street Journal reported that the iPhone 12 could face delays. This is due to the coronavirus pandemic and its unprecedented effect on manufacturing and consumer demands. The report estimated that Apple may wait until October to announce the phone, which is about a month after the iPhone's usual launch. Apple CFO Luca Maestri all but confirmed this on a quarterly earnings call, saying, "This year, we project supply to be available a few weeks later" than last year's mid-September launch.
Another rumor, reported by DigiTimes and picked up by MacRumors, suggests that Apple may launch its 2020 iPhones in multiple stages. Due to the pandemic throwing off manufacturing schedules, the two 6.1-inch iPhone models may launch first, with the 6.7- and 5.4-inch variants coming later. (For more on the different speculated iPhone sizes, read more below.)
Price: iPhone 12 may be cheaper than iPhone 11
When the iPhone 11 debuted last year, we were pleasantly surprised that its base model cost $699, which was $50 cheaper than 2018's iPhone XR. This trend may continue, with one tech analyst reporting that Apple will price the iPhone 12 at $649, the iPhone 12 Pro at $999 and the iPhone 12 Pro Max at $1,099.
Design: iPhone 12 may be similar (or not) to iPhone 11
Every other year, Apple usually makes notable cosmetic changes to its iPhone to freshen up its look, much to the delight of anticipating buyers. But a report by Japanese publication Mac Otakara, citing an unnamed Chinese supplier, reported that the iPhone 12 will look similar to the iPhone 11. The only possible difference is that the iPhone 12's edges will be slightly bowed.
On the other hand, Apple is also speculated to completely revamp the iPhone's design with flat edges (similar to the new iPads). This could trigger what Wedbush analyst Dan Ives called "the perfect storm of demand," which would drive up sales and result in a "super cycle" for Apple.
Accessories: iPhone 12 may not come with EarPods or a power adapter
In one of the more unpopular rumors, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that Apple may not include its wired EarPod headphones in the iPhone 12 box. This would be a move to encourage people to buy the company's wireless AirPods instead. Apple has included EarPod headphones since the iPhone 5 release in 2012, so this would be a notable change. AirPod and AirPod Pro earbuds are currently priced at $159 (£159, AU$249) and $249 (£249, AU$399), respectively.
Ming-Chi Kuo expects that the iPhone 12 will ship without a power adapter as well, according to 9to5Mac. The reason is mainly for costs -- by foregoing it, Apple can keep costs down while loading the phone with 5G components. It would also help lower freight costs as the size of the packaging would shrink.
Colors: iPhone 12 Pro may come in dark blue
Last year Apple introduced a midnight green color on the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max. Whether you like the shade or not, the color variant actually sold well compared to expectations. This year there may be a possibility that Apple will launch another new color, navy blue, on the iPhone 12 Pro according to XDA Developer. This would be on trend since blue is both Pantone's color pick for the new year ("classic blue") and Shutterstock included "phantom blue" in its color forecast for 2020.
Specs and display: Four possible iPhone 12 models
One of the more enduring rumors about the upcoming iPhones is that Apple may introduce new screen sizes. One of the iPhone 12s could have a 5.4-inch screen (of the current iPhones, the new iPhone SE has the smallest display, which measures 4.7 inches). And the iPhone 2020 Pro Max could go as large as 6.7 inches (for reference, the iPhone 11 Pro Max has a 6.5-inch display).
There's also speculation that the iPhone 12's display will have a 120Hz refresh rate and that perhaps the iPhone 12 Pro may have a ProMotion display, which is currently featured on the iPad Pro. Most phones refresh at 60 frames per second, or 60Hz, but other phones, like the Galaxy S20 and the OnePlus 8 Pro refresh at 120Hz. With a higher refresh rate, a phone feels faster and smoother when scrolling through things like web pages and apps.
With the possibility of new display sizes, rumors that Apple will expand its iPhone line have been swirling around. In December 2019, CNET's Lexy Savvides wrote:
According to JPMorgan analyst Samik Chatterjee, Apple will release four new iPhone 12 models in the fall of 2020: a 5.4-inch model, two 6.1-inch phones and a 6.7-inch phone. All of them will have OLED displays.
These size predictions were also backed this week by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who believes the current 5.8-inch size of the iPhone 11 Pro may be going away. So the 5.4-inch and one of the 6.1-inch models will be the lower-end devices, presumably called the iPhone 12. Then the more expensive phones will be the other 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max, respectively.
Read more: The best ways to sell or trade in your old iPhone in 2020
5G: iPhone 12 may have next-gen connectivity
Several rumors are predicting that Apple will include 5G connectivity this year. More specifically, Apple analyst Ming-chi Kuo expects the company to unveil three 5G phones and Fast Company reported that Apple may use its own proprietary 5G antennas.
There are a couple of reasons why the company didn't jump on the trend in 2019. First, Apple usually isn't the first in on mobile trends, preferring instead to perfect an emerging technology before committing to it. For example, it was behind its competitors in making phones with 3G and 4G LTE connectivity when those networks just launched.
Second, Apple stopped working with the leading 5G modem provider, Qualcomm, because of a dispute over Qualcomm's licensing fees. The two companies settled their litigation in April 2019, and then agreed to a multiyear 5G chip deal. This led to Apple's previous partner of 5G modems, Intel, to ultimately exit the 5G phone modem business altogether and Apple later acquired Intel's smartphone modem business for $1 billion. Apple is still working with Qualcomm, but it got started too late to launch a 5G phone last year when a few of its rivals released their 5G models, like the Galaxy S10 5G, LG V50 5G and OnePlus 7 Pro 5G.
From Samsung to Motorola: 5G phones you can get right nowSee all photos
Camera: iPhone 12 may have 3D depth sensing
Since the iPhone X, newer iPhones have front-facing cameras that have 3D depth sensing. Known as Face ID, this feature scans your face for unlocking your phone and authorizing digital payments. It's been rumored that Apple may take it up a notch and introduce that same system to the rear cameras. In August 2019, CNET's Vanessa Orellana wrote:
Longtime Apple analyst Ming Chi Kuo (via MacRumors and 9to5Mac) said he expects two of the 2020 iPhones models to have a new time-of-flight camera lens on the back of the phone. The setup would be similar to that of the current True Depth camera system used for Face ID on the front of the phone, except it would use a slightly different type of technology that could allow it to 3D map objects from farther away. This would significantly improve its augmented reality applications and take certain camera features like Portrait Mode to the next level.
It's unclear how many of the new iPhones would be equipped with this feature, if any.
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