It’s been less than a month since Apple released its iPhone 11 lineup, but fans and designers are already imagining what the 2020 iPhone 12 might look like.
To be fair, we’ve already heard enough rumours about next year’s iPhone to know that it’s likely going to be a pretty big design change, and also add some groundbreaking new features like a 3D laser camera system, fast “ProMotion” display, and of course 5G support.
We’ve also more recently heard that Apple will be returning to the more squarish design of the iPhone 4 era, with a metal frame sandwiched between two panes of strengthened glass. This was an aesthetic that was maintained with the iPhone 5 series and later the iPhone SE, and Apple’s 2018 iPad Pro lineup also saw a return to this design, which likely heralds Apple doing something similar with its iPhone lineup in the future.
Now YouTube channel Path of Design has shared their own vision of the iPhone 12 based on many of these things we’ve already heard, along with a few fun speculations of their own.
For one thing, the concept imagines an iPhone 12 with a four-camera system, and while that’s arguably a logical upgrade from the current three-camera design found on the iPhone 11 Pro, it’s certainly not a sure thing, especially with the relatively slow pace at which Apple iterates on its design and technology. Unlike many competing smartphone makers, Apple won’t add a fourth camera simply for the sake of adding another camera — there will have to be some tangible benefit that the fourth shooter would add for users.
Thus far, most other manufacturers who have gone with a fourth camera have used it for secondary purposes, such as depth sensing, rather than simply adding another zoom factor. While a fourth camera could be a key part of Apple’s “Time of Flight” (ToF) implementation, it’s by no means a requirement. In fact, Apple’s camera plans for 2020 are one of the things we’ve heard very little about so far.
The concept video does appear to running with another recent rumour, however, that Apple will remove the notch from the display. A reported leak last month suggested that Apple is working on a prototype phone with a 6.7-inch display that would incorporate the TrueDepth camera system in the top bezel, eliminating the need for a notch in the screen. Whether this would be ready for 2020 is an open question, but it seems likely that Apple is at least pondering the idea to see if it’s feasible. As much as we’ve gotten used to the notch, it’s hard to argue that a full edge-to-edge display without it is definitely a lot nicer, even if it does mean a return to a slightly larger bezel.
Other features shown in the concept video are somewhat more likely, including the “reverse wireless charging” that didn’t quite make it into this year’s iPhones, and a “PROMotion SuperRetina XDR” display, which would boost the display refresh rate to 120Hz, providing a much smoother on-screen experience. This is already found on the iPad Pro, but that’s an LCD screen, so implementing it on the iPhone 12 would actually be a big deal, since it would bring the feature to OLED displays for the first time.
Although concept videos like this are a lot of fun, of course they’re simply concepts based on a combination of existing rumour and a bit of whimsical speculation, and it’s likely just the first of what we’re sure will be many ideas on what next year’s iPhone 12 will be like.