Apple iPhone 12 launches with 5G, better cameras, and a new design
Apple's annual iPhone unveiling is always one of the biggest events on the tech calendar, and though it happened later than usual this year, we now have our first proper look at the four iPhone 12 handsets that will be Apple's flagship phones for the next 12 months.
Apple hasn't revolutionized the iPhone this time around – if that's even possible in the smartphone market nowadays – but the upgrades over the iPhone 11 include the addition of 5G connectivity, faster internals, and significantly improved camera systems. There's also a flatter design, following the example set by the iPad Pro tablets (and harking back to the old pre-iPhone 6 look).
If you're keen on a new iPhone 12, you've got four models to choose between, up from three last year. There's the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini, the 6.1-inch iPhone 12, the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro and the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max. The iPhone SE 2020, the iPhone XR and the iPhone 11 remain on sale.
Picking apart the differences between the new handsets is a little tricky but essentially the more you pay, the better the tech and the bigger the screen. All four models run the new Apple A14 Bionic processor that first appeared in the iPad Air 4 that was announced last month, and of course all four come running iOS 14. Millimeter wave 5G and OLED screens are also the same across the board, as is the IP68 rating for waterproofing.
Aside from those similarities, the four new iPhones can be split into two distinct tiers: the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini and the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 are finished in aluminum and offer 64 GB, 128 GB or 256 GB of storage, as well as packing two 12-MP cameras on the rear.
The more premium 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max come with storage options of 128 GB, 256 GB or 512 GB, and have three rear cameras that include depth-sensing LiDAR technology previously seen in the iPad Pros. They're finished in stainless steel and have three 12-MP rear cameras instead of two.
Apple says all of the iPhone 12 models will take better photos than their predecessors – including improved performance in low light and less noise in any lighting, plus support for shooting HDR video with Dolby Vision. On the Pro models, HDR video with Dolby Vision can be shot in 4K resolution at up to 60 frames per second.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max has a slightly superior camera setup to the iPhone 12 Pro, boasting the biggest focal length of all four models (up to 2.5x optical zoom in), as well as including a larger sensor on one of its cameras for collecting more light.
There are a few other upgrades worth mentioning. Pixel resolutions have been boosted on all four models for sharper screens, while Apple has also introduced a new MagSafe magnetic standard that should make wireless charging more efficient and convenient than ever. Meanwhile, specially manufactured ceramic glass apparently gives the screens a 4x better chance of surviving drops than older iPhones.
The 5G implementation is smart as well: to save battery life, the iPhone 12 models will fall back to LTE speeds when speedy downloads and uploads aren't required. As soon as that extra bandwidth matters, 5G will be enabled. Speaking of battery life, Apple promises 15 hours of video playback on the iPhone 12 mini, 17 hours on the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro, and 20 hours on the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
The iPhone 12 mini starts at US$699, with preorders open on November 6 and shipping on November 13. The iPhone 12 starts at $799, with preorders open on October 16 and shipping on October 23. Both phones come in blue, green, black, white or red.
As for the iPhone 12 Pro, that starts at $999, and you can preorder it from October 16 with shipping on October 13. The iPhone 12 Pro Max starts at $1,099, with preorders starting on November 6 and shipping on November 13. The color options for the Pro models are graphite, silver, gold and blue.
Product page: Apple iPhone 12