All four, maybe five of them

The iPhone 12: What You Need to Know


March 12, 2020 Tech By

Apple isn’t expected to announce new line of flagship iPhones until the fall. Still, that doesn’t stop the rumor mill from turning. Here is what we know (and think we know) about the next iPhone so far.

Will Apple stick with “12”?

We already know that Samsung skipped nine generations of smartphones when it jumped from the Galaxy S11 to the Galaxy S20 in one year. It’s a clear play to sound better than all other new smartphones, but it’s unclear if Apple will attempt to shake up its naming scheme too. There’s little in the way of specific rumors on this topic, but given that Apple already took the plunge on numbers above ten with the iPhone 11, we’re guessing an iPhone 12 is likely.

How many iPhones will there be?

Following last year’s approach, we’d expect that the next batch of iPhone’s would be called the iPhone 12, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max, but there’s strong speculation that Apple is going to announce four new iPhones, not three. According to the rumors, the spread would include a 5.4-inch iPhone (smaller than the 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Pro) and a 6.7-inch iPhone (larger than the 6.5-inch iPhone 11 Pro Max, along with two 6.1-inch iPhones (the same size as the vanilla iPhone 11).

How many Pro phones and how many normal ones?

Of the four iPhone 12s, rumors indicate two will be premium Pro models and two be more affordable. Given that that iPhone 11 is the most popular and the cheapest new iPhone of the current generation, it makes sense for Apple to try to give its more price-sensitive and numerous customers more options. The theory goes that the large 6.7-inch iPhone and one of the 6.1-inch iPhones will be Pros, with better OLED displays and better camera systems. Meanwhile, the other 6.1-inch iPhone and the 5.4-inch iPhone will be the more baseline models with two-camera systems and LCD displays.

What will they be made of?

It’s a little bit of a long shot, but there could be a big design change to all iPhone 12 models. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reported that Apple might bring back the metal frame that was on the iPhone 4. This metal chassis would square off the edges of each new iPhone, like the iPhone 4, and make them a little easier to hold. It is certainly possible, but don’t necessarily count on it.

What will be new with the cameras?

With all the different iPhone 12 models expected to be announced, it’s difficult to say exactly how all of their camera systems will be different. For the flagship models, however, it’s been reported by Fast Company that they’ll have a 3D depth camera in their rear-camera systems for the first time. Apple has had depth a camera in its iPhone’s front-camera systems for a few years, enabling them to unlock via Face ID and to turn your face into an Animoji. In the rear camera system, a new depth camera is expected to add a few photo and video features/effects, such as better bokeh and focus, but you’ll see the majority of the benefits while using augmented reality apps. Apple is continuing to build out its catalog of AR apps (It’s been three years since Apple rolled out ARKit to developers.)

PetaPixel also recently reported that the two iPhone 12 Pro models will have an upgraded 64-megapixel sensor, which is a huge leap for Apple considering it’d mark the first time in years that Apple had gone away from the 12-megapixel sensor. Of course, a bigger sensor doesn’t always translate to better photos (at least when it applies to a smartphone), but it’s pretty exciting to think about an iPhone with a larger sensor.

Is this the year Apple kills the notch?

Early indications are that the next-gen iPhones are expected to have a smaller TrueDepth camera system in the front. This will enable the notch to shrink down even further into the bezel. Whether the notch is just smaller or gone completely, that obviously remains to be seen.

Will we get an iPhone SE 2?

After the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro were announced, a ton of speculation surfaced about Apple releasing a next-generation iPhone SE. It was rumored that the “iPhone SE 2” could be announced in early 2020, but not a lot of news has come out about it since December. This iPhone SE 2 is rumored to look more like an iPhone 8 rather than 2016’s iPhone SE, which is a little bit of a bummer for folks looking to a super-small iPhone. But at this point, you should consider yourself lucky you might get anything at all.

Will they support 5G?

2020 is primed to be a big year for the rollout of 5G but will the new iPhones support it? Probably yes. Analysts suggest that it will. Not to mention that Samsung’s flagships do, and Apple certainly wouldn’t want to fall behind. That said, recent reports suggest that the coronavirus crisis could delay Apple’s 5G iPhone plans.

When will Apple release the new iPhones?

Typically, Apple holds a big event in the fall where it announces all the new iPhone and Apple Watch models. However, the coronavirus crisis will likely delay, especially considering that many of Apple’s manufacturing facilities are in Asia. Bank of America analysts recently published a report saying that the new iPhones could be delayed by a month, so you could have to wait until October or November to get your hands on a new iPhone.

Review: iPhone 11 Pro

Apple’s new flagship offerings have some key advantages over the more affordable iPhone 11. The question you have to ask yourself: Will you use them? Read the Story

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Tucker Bowe

Tucker Bowe has been on Gear Patrol's editorial team since 2014. As a Tech Staff Writer, he tracks everything in the consumer tech space, from headphones to smartphones, wearables to home theater systems. If it lights up or makes noise, he probably covers it.

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