Everything you need to know from Apple’s big 2020 event
Apple’s belated 2020 iPhone launch event has just concluded, having bombarded us with news of a whopping four new iPhone models.
And not just any four iPhone models either. This year is one of those special occasions where Apple starts fresh with a new design language. These are the sleekest and sharpest iPhones yet.
They all come packing 5G for the first time too, which is a feature Apple pushed really hard during its showcase event. If your mobile network supports it in your area (a big if, admittedly), then you’ll be enjoying blistering download speeds come release day.
In addition to the iPhone 12 family, Apple also took the wraps off a new compact HomePod, which promises to supply great sound and smart features at a much more approachable price.
We’ll be pulling all of these threads together and reflecting on what each new announcement means over the coming days. For now, here are the major talking points from Apple’s “Hi, Speed” event.
The iPhone 12 is the direct follow up to last year’s iPhone 11, and many expect it to be the company’s biggest seller. It certainly represents a huge step forward for the ‘non-Pro’ line, with a bold new design and a switch from LCD to OLED display technology, just like the Pros.
• Smooth and flat aluminum frame, glass back, 7.4mm thickness makes it 11% thinner, comes in black, white, Product Red, green, blue
• Designed with 5G in mind, with new antenna design and the most 5G bands in any phone, smartly switches between 4G LTE and 5G, mmWave 5G support included in the US for speeds of up to 4Gbps
• Apple’s custom OLED Super Retina XDR display, packs twice the pixels of iPhone 11 at 2532 x 1170 and 460 ppi, 1200 nits peak brightness
• Ceramic Shield display glass, tougher than any other phone with 4X better drop performance
• Powered by A14 Bionic chip, 6-core CPU and 4-core GPU, fastest ever in a smartphone, 11.8 billion transistors represents 40% increase over A13, neural core has double the cores of A13
• League of Legends Wild Rift used to showcase A14’s “off the charts” GPU performance, as well as 5G performance for multiplayer games
• Dual-camera system, 12MP Ultra Wide with 120 degree view and 12MP Wide with f/1.6 aperture, seven element lens brings 27 percent improvement to low light performance
• Night Mode comes to all cameras, including front camera, also new Night Mode time lapse
• New MagSafe wireless charging standard, wireless charging coils (now supporting up to 15W) incorporate magnets to ensure charger aligns properly
• MagSafe also opens up a whole new ecosystem of accessories, including wallet, folding charger for both iPhone and Apple Watch, and a sleeve that uses the magnets to activate clock mode
Prices for the iPhone 12 will start from $799 for the 64GB model, stepping up to $849 for 128GB and $949 for 256GB. Pre-orders commence October 16, while shipping commences on October 23. The iPhone 11 will stick around in the range at a new price of $599.
Another interesting note is that there’ll be no more AC adapters or earphones bundled into iPhone boxes, resulting in a much smaller box.
iPhone 12 Mini
Apple has launched a brand new iPhone category in the iPhone 12 Mini. For all those who have ever bemoaned the ever-increasing size of smartphones, and who swear that even the iPhone 8/iPhone SE is too large, the Mini is the phone for you.
• Smaller and lighter than the iPhone SE, but with a bigger 5.4-inch 2340 x 1080 display for 476 ppi
• Other than smaller display, exact same specs and features as iPhone 12
• Smallest, thinnest, lightest 5G phone in the world
Prices for the iPhone 12 Mini will start from $699 for the 64GB model, stepping up to $749 for 128GB and $849 for 256GB. Pre-orders start from November 6, while shipping commences on November 13.
iPhone 12 Pro/Max
Apple’s new flagship phones are arguably the most straight forward upgrades of the extended iPhone 12 family, as they’re pretty much direct replacements for the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone Pro Max. They’re anything but ordinary, though, with a bold new design and the best cameras Apple has ever made.
• Surgical grade stainless steel band in silver, graphite, gold, pacific blue
• IP68 rating, which it shares with the rest of the iPhone 12 family
• Same A14 Bionic chip as iPhone 12
• 6.1-inch display for Pro, 6.7-inch Max – the largest iPhone screen ever, though form factor is nearly identical. Nearly 3.5 million pixels
• Alongside the 12MP Wide and Ultra Wide of iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro features a 12MP 52mm focal length telephoto, supports 4X optical zoom
• iPhone 12 Pro Max has 65 mm focal length telephoto and 5X telephoto range, 47% larger wide image sensor for 87% better low light performance, optical image stabilization on the image sensor itself
• Apple ProRAW coming to iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max later this year, combines smartHDR with RAW format so you can edit in post using either Apple or third party apps
• Pro first camera to record video in 10-bit HDR, running every frame through ISP, also edit Dolby Vision on device
• LiDAR scanner comes to iPhone 12 Pro, enhances AR and speeds up autofocus in low light photos by up to 6X, enables Night Mode Portrait shots thanks to depth perception
The iPhone 12 Pro line comes in at the same price as the iPhone 11 Pro range before it, though the entry-level models come with double the storage. The 128GB iPhone 12 Pro costs $999, the 256GB model $1099, and the 512GB model costs $1299.
Stepping up to the iPhone 12 Pro Max, the 128GB model starts at $1099, the 256GB costs $1199, and the 512GB costs $1399.
Pre-orders for the iPhone 12 Pro open on October 16, and it ships on October 23. The iPhone 12 Pro Max will open for pre-orders on November 6, with shipping set to commence on November 13.
There was no HomePod 2 announced at the event, but rather a smaller, cheaper, spherical HomePod Mini speaker, which Apple evidently intends for you to spread liberally throughout your home.
• Compact, spherical speaker just 3.3-inches tall
• Mesh fabric outer material created for acoustic performance
• Flat, backlit touch-sensitive surface on top panel for play, pause, skip, volume controls, or to talk to Siri
• Full-range driver powered by a neodymium magnet and a pair of force-cancelling passive radiators pumps out strong bass and high frequencies for the size, while acoustic waveguide provides 360 sound
• Apple S5 chip (from Apple Watch) and computational audio optimises sound for loudness and dynamic range
• Syncs across multiple rooms, and intelligently pairs with second unit for stereo sound when in same room
• Seamless handoff using iPhone U1 chip – just hold your iPhone up to the speaker
• Set to work with iHeartRadio, Radio.com and TuneIn, with Pandora and Amazon support coming over next few months
• Siri recognises different members of the family by their voices, and cater its responses accordingly
• Intercom lets you send messages to other Homepods in the home, as well as your other Apple devices
The HomePod Mini will be available in white and space gray for $99. Pre-orders commence on November 6, and it ships on November 16.
So there you have it. This year’s event gave us four new iPhones and a cute new HomePod smart speaker. We’ll have detailed reports on each announcement in the next couple days, so stay tuned!