iPhone 12 - Apple goes all in with 5G

14 October 2020

iPhone 12

At a special event Apple announced four new smartphones under the iPhone 12 banner.

Interestingly, the big new feature that ran through the entire event was 5G connectivity. And that has massive positive ramifications for the wider 5G industry.

Here’s a run down of the all new and 5G-ready iPhone 12 line, starting with the iPhone 12 itself.

iPhone 12

Apple has gone back to an earlier era with the iPhone 12 design. It’s moved on from the curves of the iPhone X era and embraced the flat surfaces and sharp corners of the iPhone 5 era.

Apple claims to have designed the iPhone 12 with 5G in mind, with optimised antenna placement and support for more 5G bands than any other phone. This includes superfast mmWave 5G with speeds of up to 4Gbps, though only certain areas of the US will be able to take advantage of this at launch.

Aside from an aluminium frame, the iPhone 12 has glass surfaces to the front and rear. The front covering is of particular interest though, as it’s formed from a special material that Apple calls Ceramic Shield. Apparently, it handles droppages four times better than other smartphone displays.

With dimensions of 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4 mm, the iPhone 12 is 15% smaller than the iPhone 11. It’s also 16% lighter at just 162g.

Despite being smaller, Apple has still managed to fit the iPhone 12 with a 6.1-inch display - the same size as the iPhone 11. However, it’s switched things up to a more vibrant OLED display, the Super Retina XDR display. With a resolution of 2532 x 1170, it’s got double the pixels of last year’s model.

Like the rest of the range, the iPhone 12 runs on Apple’s A14 Bionic chip. Apple claims that it this combination of CPU and GPU is up to 50 percent faster than rival chips. What’s more, the A14’s 16-core Neural Engine provides an 80 percent boost in machine learning performance.

Apple has equipped the iPhone 12 with a dual-camera system made up of a 12MP wide lens and a 12MP ultrawide lens. The wide benefits from a faster f/1.6 aperture and a seven element lens, which boosts low light performance by 27%. Apple is also bringing Night mode to the iPhone 12’s front camera, so your night time selfies will be superbly lit.

Wireless charging is supported, as before, but the most exciting addition here is MagSafe. This magnetised system will snap compatible chargers onto the back of the phone with minimal fuss, as well as signalling a whole new range of cases, wallets and covers.

The iPhone 12 seems to have closed the feature gap to its Pro brothers, especially when it comes to the design and the display. That, along with the crucial addition of 5G, probably accounts for the fact that it’s received a hefty price bump.

Prices will start from £799 for the 64GB model, moving up to £849 for 128GB and £949 for the 256GB model. That’s an increase of £100 across the range. Pre-orders start third Friday October 16, with shipments set for a week later on October 23.

iPhone 12 Mini

iPhone 2

The new iPhone 12 Mini is essentially the iPhone 12, but tiny. At 131.5 x 64.2 x 7.4mm and 135g, it’s even smaller and lighter than the iPhone SE that launched earlier in the year.

Despite this, it manages to cram in a larger 5.4-inch 2340 x 1080 Super Retina XDR OLED display, and almost all of the features and components of the iPhone 12.

One exception to this will be the battery. We don’t know how big it is yet, but Apple has revealed that media playback drains power faster on the iPhone 12 Mini than the iPhone 12.

Even the iPhone 12 Mini’s price is smaller than the iPhone 12. It’ll set you back £699 for the 64GB model, £749 for 128GB and £849 for the 256GB model - so basically the same pricing as the iPhone 11 last year.

Pre-orders for the iPhone 12 Mini start from November 6, with shipments a week later on November 13.

iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max

If you’re feeling particularly flush, then Apple also announced a pair of iPhone 12 Pro models. Both sport a similar design to the iPhone 12, but utilise shiny stainless steel for the frame in place of aluminium.

The only other difference between the smaller iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 appears to relate to the camera. The Pro adds an extra 12MP telephoto to the mix, as well as a LiDAR scanner for improved AR and faster autofocus in low light.

iPhone 12 pro

The iPhone 12 Pro Max packs a larger 6.7-inch 2778 x 1284 OLED display into its hulking 160.8 x 78.1 x 7.4mm and 228g frame. It also finds space for an even better camera set-up.

It’s another triple camera system with a LiDAR scanner, like the Pro. But the 12MP wide sensor is 47% larger, and also benefits from direct optical image stabilisation. OIS is usually only found on smartphone camera lenses, so this is a first.

The result of all this is that the iPhone 12 Pro Max will be the night time king, with an 87% boost to low light performance. Its telephoto lens can also zoom in a little further than the Pro (2.5X vs 2X).

Both Pros get some more advanced camera software features too, including the ability to record in Dolby Vision video, Night mode portraits, and Deep Fusion for all four cameras. In future, the Pro family will also receive a feature called Apple ProRAW, which gives finer control over shooting and editing RAW format shots.

The iPhone 12 Pro line keeps its pricing on the same level as the iPhone 11 Pro before it. The iPhone 12 Pro will cost £999 for 128GB (double the storage of last year’s model), £1099 for 256GB, and £1299 for 512GB. Pre-orders start on October 16 with shipments on October 23, just like the iPhone 12.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max will cost £1099 for 128GB, £1199 for 256GB, and £1399 for the 512GB model. You’ll have to wait until November 6 to order one, with shipments on November 13, like the iPhone 12 Mini.

Technical Writer at 5G.co.uk

Jon has nine years experience of writing and editing copy for leading publications, as well as attending technology shows and events and conducting interviews. Currently working with 5G.co.uk, TechRadar, Trusted Reviews, T3, Digital Spy, What Mobile, Pocket Gamer, and The Gadget Show.

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