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Apple iPhone 12 event: How to watch and what to expect

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple event fans are getting spoiled this year: another digital-only event is here and this time, the star of the show will be the iPhone 12. We’ve covered quite a few leaks on Apple’s flagship smartphones and have already seen the A14 Bionic chipset debut in the iPad Air 4, but there is still plenty for Apple to reveal.

The iPhone 12 is going to dominate this event, but there’s reason to believe Apple has a few more devices in-store. Here’s a quick look at how you can watch live and everything that Apple might reveal today.

How to watch the iPhone 12 launch event 

Like Apple’s previous virtual events this year, the iPhone 12 launch will be viewable on Apple’s website or via YouTube. The event will begin today at 1 p.m. Eastern time (10 a.m. Pacific). 

As per usual, Apple’s invite may offer some clues as to what’s coming, although we have the iPhone 12 pretty well specced out. The invite for this event included a series of four roughly oval shapes surrounding an Apple logo with the motto “Hi, Speed” at the bottom. This is most likely in reference to the inclusion of 5G in the iPhone 12 models and/or the incredibly powerful A14 Bionic processors that we recently saw benchmarked.  

Prime Day Apple Deals

With Apple's big event falling on Prime Day there are naturally some deals to be had while you wait for things to kick off. Chances are you aren't going to be looking at picking up an iPhone 11 right this second, but there are fantastic MacBook deals and iPad deals available or if you just want to be sure you don't miss out on any of the Apple savings you can check out our Prime Day Apple deals hub for all of the latest.

iPhone 12 

If you want our deep dive on these phones, you can check out our iPhone 12 hub, but let’s go over some of the highlights.

The iPhone 12 is undergoing a serious design change, the first since the iPhone X in 2017 and arguably the first major rethink of the design since the iPhone 6 back in 2014. It’s at least a nod to the beloved squared-off design of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5, but with the modern flair that Apple has brought to it with the iPad Pro and now iPad Air 4.

Apple will reportedly have four new iPhone 12 models this year, starting with an iPhone 12 mini at 5.4 inches and moving up to a standard iPhone 12 at 6.1-inches, an iPhone 12 Pro also at 6.1 inches, and finally, an iPhone 12 Pro Max at 6.7 inches. For the first time, all of these models will feature OLED displays, but, according to leaks, none will offer a 120Hz as we’ve seen with Samsung’s flagships like the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

(Image credit: EverythingApplePro/Twitter)

What it may lack in display refresh rate, it should more than make up for in processing power. The aforementioned A14 Bionic benchmarks blew away even the most recent Snapdragon 865+ processor and it will be interesting to see what Apple plans to do with all that power. For those who live in an area with 5G, you will also get to enjoy the benefits of the Sub-6Ghz 5G connectivity speed boost that will be found in every iPhone 12 model. However, mmWave 5G may be limited to the Pro models.

The full details regarding the camerashave remained a mystery. Rumors and leaks have simply pointed to a dual-array wide and ultrawide lens on the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 while the Pro models will add a telephoto as well as a LiDAR sensor. The exact specifications for these lenses in comparison to some of the jaw-dropping telephoto options we’ve seen on Android will be something to look for.

The iPhone 12 Mini should be the cheapest flagship iPhone in quite some time with a rumored starting price of $649. The iPhone 12 represents a $50 price bump from the iPhone 11 last year at $749 and the Pro models hold steady at $999 and $1,099, according to most rumors.

Wireless charger for iPhone

No, AirPower isn't making a comeback just yet, but according to Jon Prosser of Front Page Tech Apple is going to be revealing a new wireless charging solution for the iPhone. 

While details are a little light on what exactly Apple will be revealing itself, a Japanese Apple blog Macotakara posted an image of a magnetic charger produced by accessory manufacturer MPOW.

(Image credit: Macotakara/MPOW)

While the design obviously keeps you tethered, it offers a lot more freedom than a typical wireless charging stand. Rumors have also suggested that Apple may bring back the MagSafe name for branding. 

AirPods Studio 

While it obviously takes a serious backseat to the iPhone 12, the AirPods Studio is a product that over-ear headphone fans have been waiting on for some time now. We expect a feature set at least on a par with the AirPods Pro, including active noise-cancelling and a strong Transparency mode to allow users to hear the world around them when necessary.

Unfortunately, according to the oft-reliable Jon Prosser, the AirPods Studio aren’t going to be ready in time for this event. He didn’t offer any update regarding the timing, but previous rumors have suggested that they are in production already so perhaps they will join the expected MacBook with Apple Silicon launch event in November.

The other bombshell from Prosser was a new pricing rumor for the AirPods Studio, indicating that the high-end model we saw leaked last month will go for $599. That is a serious price hike from existing noise-cancelling headphones, well above even our pick for the best noise-cancelling wireless headphones: the $399 Bose 700

We’ve heard considerably less about the “sport-like variant,” but at $349 they are likely to command a lot more interest. 

Apple has obviously had a massive effect on the truly wireless earbud market since it burst onto the scene with the AirPods in 2016. We’re curious to see how it will fare in the over-ear world against the likes of Bose and Sony.

AirTags 

Apple’s answer to the wireless item tracking market currently dominated by Tile is a logical pairing with the iPhone 12 launch. It’s been floating around the rumor mill for months now. AirTags would be either attached to or affixed to objects (like your keys) that you wish to locate. They would be trackable via the Find My app in the same way as your other Apple devices.

Unfortunately according to Apple leaker Jon Prosser, the AirTags are being pushed off to March 2021, perhaps joining the launch date for the new iPad Pros. As a concession, he did offer us a render of the AirTags, which include a blank white top and a polished silver back with the Apple logo.

The price point will be one of the interesting stories here. Even the higher-end options from Tile come in below $40 and have a pretty loyal fanbase, so Apple will likely need to be a bit more price-competitive than normal as they enter this market. 

As for what unique features Apple might offer, a report from Josh Constine back in May identified AR additions to Apple’s Find My app. It could let you use your phone to see where your AirTag is and whatever it is attached to rather than depending on audio or a hotter and colder system.

(Image credit: Future)

HomePod Mini 

While Apple’s smart speaker hasn’t exactly dominated the market, the company is far from giving up on the category and is overdue to release an updated model. Rumors regarding a follow-up have been circulating since immediately following the release of the original. However, beyond the suggestion that there will be a smaller and more affordable model, these rumors have been light on details.

Most speculation has relied on patents and, while those can be interesting, they aren’t usually reliable for predicting what’s coming in the short-term. Apple doesn't want to cede this market entirely to Amazon and Google, so it would be surprising to see them let another year slip by without a new HomePod in the market.

MacBook with Apple Silicon 

According to Prosser, there is still a November event on the calendar where we will see the release of the MacBook with Apple Silicon that Apple announced back at WWDC in June.

Given the amount of attention Apple is going to want to give the new iPhones and the potential for at least one other product it seems unlikely that the Apple Silicon laptop or laptops will debut here. It’s possible that we get some kind of mention or reference to the new systems. After all, they are going to be running on a version of that speedy A14 Bionic processor, but we wouldn’t bet on seeing the actual hardware.