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Why it matters: Apple held its "Hi, Speed" keynote announcing its new iPhone lineup. The company unveiled four new iPhones, including two high-end premium "Pro" devices and two mid-range phones—the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Mini.
Apple "Hi, Speed" event full coverage:
- Apple announces the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, its largest and most capable smartphones yet
- Apple unveils iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini, both 5G-capable at $799 and $699
- Apple's HomePod Mini is here, and it's what the original should have been
- Apple unveils MagSafe-branded wireless chargers and iPhone cases
- Apple reduces EarPods and charger prices by 33-percent now that it no longer bundles them
- Apple has some fine print in the pricing of iPhone 12 that you should know about
- Pre-orders open for new iPad Air and iPhone 12
In addition to the now-standard white and black color options, Apple is bringing three new colors into the line. Customers can now opt for bright red, mint green, or dark blue models. The dark blue iPhone 12 matches the new blue Apple Watch for those who like to color coordinate.
The most noticeable feature that sets the iPhone 12 and 12 Mini apart from Apple's top-tier Pro iPhones is the size. While Cupertino went even bigger with the iPhone 12 Pro, it decided to feature the mainstream phones in a more compact size, particularly the Mini.
The iPhone 12 Mini's design harkens back to the iPhone 4 with its stainless steel frame and flat back. It is also nice and compact, making it easy to use with only one hand. The chassis is smaller than the iPhone SE but has a larger 5.4-inch display. For comparison, the SE has a 4.7-inch LCD.
The standard iPhone 12 is bigger with a 6.1-inch screen but is still more compact than the iPhone 11. Both phones have ditched the rounded edges for a more flat-edge design. This should give the phones a nice heft that feels more secure when holding it compared to the models with the rounded edges.
Despite being Apple's "budget" models, both the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Mini feature the same OLED Super Retina XDR display technology found in the Pro models. Apple's new screens should bring the sharpest clarity and depth of any iPhone to date with a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio.
Both phones have a dual-lens (Wide and Ultra Wide) rear camera as opposed to the Pro's triple lenses. This sacrifice is part of what makes them more affordable. However, leveraging computational photography, images should still be of very high quality. It also enables a Night Mode for taking sharp, clear pictures in low light conditions.
All iPhone 12s will have 5G connectivity, including the Mini. We have already seen the significant speed gains when using 5G, but coverage is still not the same as 4G LTE. However, Verizon took a few minutes to announce it was opening up its 5G network nationwide to 200 million customers.
That is no consolation if you are a loyal customer of another carrier, but Verizon users should be happy with the improved network speeds for their new iPhone 12. Regardless of your provider, all iPhone 12 models will switch seamlessly between 4G LTE and 5G depending on the coverage situation, with no lag or drop as the phone switches to the alternate network.
The phones will also have the same A14 Bionic powering the latest iPad Air and their iPhone 12 Pro counterparts. Apple's newest CPU features six cores (two high-performance cores and four energy-efficient cores) and four GPU cores built on a 5nm manufacturing process. The four energy-efficient cores should help compensate for the extra power needed to run the 5G technology and provide better battery life overall. Apple claims the two high-performance cores increase the iPhone 12's performance by 50 percent.
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini will be available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB models starting at $799 and $699 respectively. Apple has also partnered with Verizon to offer the iPhone 12 for $22.87 per month or $549 with a trade-in. The carrier will also offer the iPhone 12 Mini for $18.70 a month or $449 with trade-in. Financing options are over a 24-month term.
Pre-orders for the iPhone 12 will start at 5am PST this Friday, October 16 in most countries, including the US and UK. The phone ships one week later on Friday, October 23. Those interested in pre-ordering the iPhone 12 Mini will have to wait until next month. Mini pre-orders start at 5 a.m. PST on Friday, November 6 with units shipping the following week on November 13.
Apple also confirmed that it will not ship any of its iPhones with chargers or earbuds. We first reported back in June that analysts were predicting that Apple would stop shipping iPhones with the two accessories starting with the iPhone 12. They were correct it seems. Apple says it will cut down on e-waste and packaging material. The new iPhone boxes will be slimmer and will allow more to be packed on pallets for shipping, which Apple says additionally cuts back on emissions related to moving the products.