Something to look forward to: The iPhone 12 launch event is right around the corner, and if recent leaks are to be believed, there will be four different iPhone models ranging from $649 to $1099, all with 5G connectivity, more powerful internals, a refreshed design, and new accessories. A new "mini" model will arrive and come as a blessing for people who love the edge-to-edge display but want it in a smaller size iPhone.
Apple is set to announce its new iPhone 12 lineup at next week's "Hi, Speed" event. This is a month later than usual, but the hype and leaks abound as always. According to a prolific leaker with a good track record that goes by the name of Kang, we now know more details on what to expect, from specifications to pricing and pre-order dates. Allegedly, the new iPhone will arrive with a refreshed industrial design reminiscent of the iPhone 4's squared-off edges.
The iPhone 12 will feature the A14 Bionic SoC that debuted with the new iPad Air last month, paired with 4GB of RAM on the base models and 6 GB on the Pro variants. If you've been waiting for 120 Hz "ProMotion" displays, the word is that it won't be happening this year.
The iPhone 12 mini is going to be the least expensive new iPhone at a starting price of $649 or $699, sporting a 5.4-inch display, 64GB to 256GB of storage, and a dual camera setup like the iPhone 11. Color choices are black, white, blue, red, and green, with a tentative release date of November 13-14.
The iPhone 12 will have a 6.1-inch screen, the same storage options and camera setup as the iPhone 12 mini: a wide-angle shooter and an ultrawide. To get the larger screen you'll have to pay a starting price of $799, with a release date on October 23-24.
The iPhone 12 Pro will start at $999 for the 6.1-inch model and at $1,099 for the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max. Both will come with 128 to 512 GB of internal storage and the usual assortment of gold, silver, graphite, and a new dark blue color option. The camera setup includes a wide angle lens, an ultrawide shooter, and a LIDAR scanner -- but the telephoto lens will have 4x optical zoom on the iPhone 12 Pro, and 5x zoom on the Pro Max.
Kang says the sensor size on the iPhone 12 Pro Max will be 47 percent larger than on the iPhone 12 Pro, which Apple will market as "Expanded" ultrawide. In terms of availability, pre-orders for the iPhone 12 Pro will start October 16 with an estimated release date of October 23-24. The 12 Pro Max will arrive later on November 20-21.
All four new iPhone 12 models will support Dolby Vision video recording and feature 5G connectivity with a Smart Data mode that switches to 4G to save battery life when the additional bandwidth isn't necessary. At this point, it's not yet clear which models will support the faster, mmWave 5G, but leaks suggest that's going to be limited to phones sold in the US.
iPhone 12 models with feature OLED displays that will be marketed as "Super Retina XDR" and are protected by a "Ceramic Shield Front Cover" glass that's supposed to offer better drop and scratch resistance. The casing will be aluminum on the base models and stainless steel on the Pro.
More interesting information that is part of recent leaks is that Apple might introduce a new iPhone case with a MagSafe-branded system alongside two different wireless chargers called "MagSafe Charger" and "MagSafe Duo Charger." One of them is supposed to offer quicker charging with a 15 watt maximum power output, and the MagSafe iPhone case has a ring of magnets that's supposed to help users align the iPhone correctly on the chargers.
Apple previously used the MagSafe branding for wired chargers that would magnetically attach to laptops and prevent accidents when tripping on the wire. Now it might end up on wireless chargers that are a far cry from the dream Apple sold with AirPower -- a product that was supposed to solve the problem of placing devices a certain way on it, but never shipped.
Back in August, accessories company Nomad launched a device called Base Station Pro that is similar to what Apple envisioned with AirPower. It can deliver up to 15W of power output (provided that thermals allow for it) and supposedly takes away the need to align devices with coils, since it has 18 of them. The problem is that charging is slow in practice, and the Base Station Pro sets you back $230 for the privilege.
There's a slight chance that Apple will also unveil the rumored HomePod mini alongside the new iPhones.
The HomePod didn't capture much of the smart speaker market mostly due to its high price, which is why the smaller version is expected to be more affordable at $99. Kang says the HomePod mini will be 3.3-inches tall and feature the same S5 SoC that powers the Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Series 5. As for when you can get your hands on one, it could start shipping on November 16.
Since this is an iPhone-centric event, it's unlikely we'll see a new Apple TV or Siri remote, or the much-awaited Macs powered by Apple Silicon. Word is that a separate November event will take place where Apple will talk more about the new SoCs that will permeate throughout the entire Mac lineup in just two years. According to tech analyst Jon Prosser, we won't be seeing the AirPods Studio or the long-rumored AirTags either next week.
Apple is said to be confident that the new iPhone 12 lineup will sell 80 million units by the end of the year. The company will likely discontinue the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max as well as the iPhone XR, which means that we might see better prices for the iPhone 11 and iPhone SE. Better yet, these will still come with a charger in the box, while the iPhone 12 is expected to ship without one.