What's this? The iPhone 12, you say?
Look, the rumour mill never stops churning, and we've been hearing reports about 2020's iPhones before the iPhone 11 even came out. Now that Apple's iPhone 11 line is out in the wild, leakers and analysts are turning their attention to the next big thing.
And it should be a seriously big one. It's super early, obviously, but we've already heard a few things about what to expect. Here's what we know so far about the iPhone 12.
When will the Apple iPhone 12 be out?
September 2020. That's not official, obviously, but September is Apple's tried-and-true window. It's been that way with rare exceptions.
Reports point to another trio of handsets, although at this point, we don't know what they'll be named – or whether they'll be familiar successors to the current iPhone 11 line or some new kind of lineup.
The current COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic could throw any plans and predictions out the window, but Bloomberg reports that as of 19 March, the 5G-compatible iPhone 12 (or whatever they're called) are currently still on track to launch this autumn. That's because production should begin in May in China, with the optimistic viewpoint that current supply chain disruptions will be smoothed out by then.
We'd be shocked if it's not September... unless the pandemic understandably throws a wrench into plans.
How much will the Apple iPhone 12 cost?
If we had to guess: a lot of money. That's the Apple way, isn't it?
The core iPhone 11 actually landed a hair cheaper than the iPhone XR before it, at £729 vs £749, but both the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max saw £50 bumps over their predecessors – at £1049 for the Pro and £1149 for the Pro Max.
Going lower in price isn't usually Apple's thing for new smartphones, so we're not expecting that to be a trend going forward. Still, there aren't any solid details in this regard just yet.
Don't expect another price drop in 2020.
What will the Apple iPhone 12 look like?
Remember Apple's iPhone 4? Yes, that was ages ago, but it remains one of our all-time favourite iPhones. And maybe one of Apple's too…
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has been spot-on with many Apple rumours in the past, suggests that Apple will adopt an iPhone 4-esque design for the iPhone 12. By that, he means a flattened metal frame akin to the iPad Pro, giving off a different kind of allure to the familiar iPhone glass sandwich than we've seen of late.
Concept artist Ben Geskin has taken a swing at what that might look like beyond the frame itself, suggesting that such a setup could also eliminate the notch and stuff Apple's familiar Face ID sensors into the top bezel instead. Too good to be true?
PhoneArena's take, as seen above and below, keeps the iPhone 4 inspiration but keeps a modifed notch while putting a large fourth back camera on the back. This is probably more realistic than ditching the notch entirely, but it's still too early to know for sure.
Kuo often has his pulse on what's new and next in Apple land, so it's worth hearing him out.
What about the Apple iPhone 12's screen?
The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max have fabulous OLED screens that are punchy and detailed, not to mention super bright. And the iPhone 11… doesn't. It's stuck with a low-res LCD panel.
That might change in 2020. DigiTimes reports that Apple will release three OLED-screened iPhones next year, and both DigiTimes and Ming-Chi Kuo have pointed to screen sizes of 5.4in, 6.1in, and 6.7in. That's in contrast to the current lineup of 5.8in, 6.1in, and 6.5in iPhones. Will Apple go both smaller and larger next year?
DigiTimes also claims that Samsung will likely continue to provide Apple's panels, which is very good news indeed, and that its Y-Octa screen tech could provide the cheaper panels for the lowest-end model. Alternatively, LG's TOE touch tech could fill the gap.
Will we actually get a notch-free phone, however? Or maybe a smaller notch? That remains to be seen. There were early rumours about a smaller notch on the iPhone 11, but those were dashed pretty quickly as momentum built around what ultimately ended up being the final design.
Regardless of what happens with the notch, here's one potential enhancement that we're thrilled about: DigiTimes reports that Apple will feature a 120Hz "ProMotion" display on the 2020 iPhones. That's a big step up from the current 60Hz iPhone screens, and even a step beyond the 90Hz screens seen on the OnePlus 7T and Google Pixel 4 (the Asus ROG Phone II has a 120Hz screen, however).
The higher refresh rate makes navigation and interactions seem much faster and smoother, as seen on Apple's iPad Pro models over the last couple years. The familiar Apple adage of "best, not first" could pay dividends for iPhone fans in 2020.
A 6.7in OLED iPhone without a notch sounds positively dreamy… and at 120Hz? We can only hope that it works out.
How much power will the Apple iPhone 12 pack?
Apple's A13 Bionic chip is the fastest on the smartphone market today, just like the A12 before it. Is it really a stretch to assume the same for the A14 in 2020?
There hasn't been a lot of speculation here yet, but we're curious to see how much further advancement Apple can muster up for next year's iPhones. A recent report suggests that Huawei's Kirin 1000 chip in next year's Mate 40 Pro could use a 5nm production process to pack in loads more transistors (and thus more processing power) – will the A14 do the same?
We're expecting big things from the A14, for sure.
What kind of cameras will the Apple iPhone 12 have?
The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max have Apple's best cameras to date, and Ming-Chi Kuo suggests further enhancements for 2020.
That's a given, right? He didn't have much to say about what more to expect on that front – except that we'll probably get a time-of-flight camera for improved depth perception and augmented reality skills. But a new report suggests a big upgrade in the mix.
According to leaker Max Weinbach and EverythingApplePro (via Tom's Guide), the iPhone 12 could pack a 64-megapixel main camera. That's a big upgrade in terms of raw pixel count compared the 12MP cameras that Apple has been using of late, and it tops the Samsung Galaxy 20 on that front - but not the Galaxy S20 Ultra and its 108MP shooter.
We're eager to see how Apple improves upon greatness here.
Is there anything else I should know about the Apple iPhone 12?
Let's talk about 5G. The tech is still gradually rolling out, but some Apple fans were bummed to see the iPhone 11 skip its inclusion.
That won't be the case in 2020, according to reports. The iPhone 12 is widely expected to introduce 5G compatibility, with Apple and Qualcomm resolving their dispute to make such implementation viable. Kuo has suggested 5G will be in the two higher-end models, but not the iPhone XR successor (the 6.1in model, likely).
Macotakara suggests that the iPhone 12 may also incorporate 60 Ghz Wi-Fi band support, which could enable super-speedy AirDrop transfers between devices. The IEEE 802.11ay standard is currently in draft status and expected to be finalised this year, so it could be an intriguing (but ultimately small) addition to the iPhone 12.
Hopefully 5G networks will be ready for Apple to make the leap – because Apple fans are certainly ready to see that kind of speed on their next iPhones.