We’re beginning to get an even clearer picture of what we can expect from this fall’s iPhone lineup thanks to a new series of leaks from multiple sources over the weekend, and it looks like there’s going to be a lot more to come than just the big features we’ve already heard about.
To be fair, many of the latest leaks are simply confirming things that we’ve been hearing about for a while, but they’re interesting nonetheless, since the speak to features that have been reportedly on the books for prior models but may actually be showing up this time around.
For instance, we already heard last summer that Apple could be adding the “ProMotion” display found on its iPad Pro to at least some of the 2020 iPhone models, even as it makes plans to move its iPad Pro lineup to Mini-LED. There’s been little doubt that Apple plans to go all-in on OLED this year, after two years of using a specially designed “Liquid Retina” LCD display on its lower-end iPhone XR and iPhone 11 models.
iPhone 12 ProMotion Displays
Leaker Max Weinbach of EverythingApplePro has now confirmed this in a recent video, while adding a few other interesting tidbits as well. Not only will the iPhone 12 Pro models feature the high refresh-rate 120Hz ProMotion display — in OLED form no less (the iPad Pro still uses an LCD display) — but it will also grow in battery capacity and include Face ID and low-light photography improvements.
In terms of the broader strokes, most of these aren’t huge surprises, of course — Apple has been improving its battery life and iPhone cameras almost every year — but Weinbach does offer some more specific details.
For one, the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max (or whatever it will be called), is expected to gain a much larger battery — likely packing in 4,400 mAh or more, which is a sizeable jump from the 3,969 mAh cell found in the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Weinbach notes that the extra juice will be required to power the higher refresh 120Hz rate on the display plus the 5G cellular radios. So the end result is that we may not see a practical increase in runtimes on the new iPhones — Apple may just need to the larger battery to keep it from falling behind as it adds more power-hungry components.
Meanwhile, prolific leaker Jon Prosser published another video today where he actually lays out the entire 2020 iPhone lineup. Again, while Prosser isn’t offering much new information in terms of the big picture, it’s the details that he’s sharing that are interesting.
For example, we already know that Apple plans to release four new iPhone models this year, expanding the lower-end iPhone into a lineup in its own right by adding a smaller (apparently much smaller) 5.4-inch model, while the “Pro” models will grow slightly in size to 6.1 inches and 6.7 inches, respectively.
However, Prosser notes that while all four models will now use OLED screens, only the screens on the “Pro” models will be made by Samsung, suggesting that they may offer better quality even beyond the faster 120Hz refresh rate. Prosser suggests that the Pro screens will feature a 10-bit colour depth.
However, Prosser also shared the inclusion of the 120Hz display is still being hotly debated within Apple, suggesting that while a 120Hz-capable display will very likely be used, it could be disabled in software if it has too much of a negative impact on battery life.
Weinbach suggests that the display will be able to switch between 60Hz and 120Hz, running at the lower refresh rate more often in order to preserve battery life, in the same way that it works on the iPad Pro, so Apple likely has a lot of room here to tweak the power consumption of the new display.
iPhone 12: a Bargain Flagship
It also looks like the smaller iPhone 12 could very well be the most inexpensive flagship iPhone in history, with it expected to start at $649 for a 128GB model (Prosser also adds that Apple will be phasing out the 64GB versions this year, with all 2020 iPhone models starting at 128GB minimum capacity). This would put it at $50 less than the current iPhone 11, with double the storage capacity.
With the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 expected to be as small as the original iPhone SE, and selling at this price, there’s a good chance that it could become the most popular iPhone in years by a huge margin.
Apple’s iPhone XR and iPhone 11 already surpassed most analysts’ expectations, and these were only available in a single, larger 6.1-inch size, so a more pocketable model definitely stands to shake things up quite a bit.
iPhone 12 Cameras
The non-Pro models are expected to retain the same dual-camera arrangement as the current iPhone 11, although Weinbach’s sources suggest that Apple will be improving low-light photography across the board, thanks to faster autofocus and better image stabilization, plus changes to Smart HDR to provide better noise reduction in dark environments, so even with the same dual-camera system, the iPhone 12 will be an improvement.
The iPhone 12 Pro, on the other hand, will maintain the same three-camera design, likely with improved sensors, but also add the LiDAR scanner that debuted on this year’s iPad Pro.
Weinbach also suggests that the third telephoto lens may be improved to provide a 3X optical zoom, and the LiDAR scanner could help to facilitate Portrait Mode photography, which is something that it currently isn’t used for on the iPad Pro due to its lower scanning resolution.
iPhone 12 Pricing
Prosser even offered up the expected pricing for the new models, revealing, as we noted earlier, that the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 will start at $649, while the 6.1-inch will sell for $100 more, at $749. The two iPhone 12 Pro models will start at $999 and $1,099, respectively.
According to Prosser’s information, all four models will be available in 128GB and 256GB capacities, with a $100 price difference in each lineup, while only the iPhone 12 Pro will offer a 512GB version, for a $200 premium over the 256GB variant. So at the top of the price range, the 512GB iPhone 12 Pro Max will sell for $1,399.
The latest information also suggests that Apple will keep the “Max” designation for both of the larger models, rather than trying to market the 5.4-inch version as an “iPhone 12 mini.” This will create a slightly odd situation, since the iPhone 12 Max and iPhone 12 Pro will have the same 6.1-inch screens, but if recent design rumours are true, Apple may also distinguish the Pro models with a flat-edged design that’s more reminiscent of the iPad Pro.
At this point it remains unclear when we’ll actually see Apple release new iPhone models, with a variety of conflicting reports suggesting different possibilities as a result of the ongoing global health crisis. By most estimations, however, it sounds like Apple is on track to announce the new iPhone lineup in September, with the possibility that some models may not be available until later — a move that wouldn’t be at all unprecedented as both the original iPhone X and the entry-level iPhone XR were both delayed for several weeks after Apple’s original early September unveiling.