The price of premium smartphones continues to rise each year but Apple may have found a way to prevent the iPhone 12 from following the same pattern.
This is the first time we're seeing widespread adoption of 5G support across premium smartphones and, like most technologies in their infancy, it demands a premium price. Apple can't afford to exclude the feature on the iPhone 12 — 5G is expanding throughout the US and its Android competitors (like the Galaxy Note 20) have already committed to delivering the hardware needed to use it.
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With the iPhone 11 Pro starting at $999 and the Pro Max at $1,099, it would be a risk for Apple to charge even more for the iPhone 12. So, instead, the company will reportedly reduce production costs by using less expensive components, specifically when it comes to battery technology.
Reliable Apple analyst Ming-chi Kuo (via MacRumors) says Apple will reduce the number of layers in the battery board and use a smaller design. The resulting battery board will be 40% to 50% cheaper than the one in the iPhone 11. Moreover, the "iPhone 12s" lineup expected to arrive in 2021 will take it a step further by using a purely soft board design that will reduce the cost another 30% to 40% compared to the iPhone 12 board.
Kuo previously claimed that Apple would not include a power brick or earbuds with the iPhone 12 to make up for the added cost of 5G. Kuo says adopting sub-6Ghz 5G costs Apple another $75 to $85 while including mmWave brings the cost up to $125 to $135.
All of these cost-cutting measures should keep the price of Apple's flagship phone down or, at least, help offset the added charge of 5G hardware.
iPhone 12: What we know
There will supposedly be four new iPhone 12 models: a 5.4-inch iPhone 12, a 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Max, a 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro and a 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max. The iPhone 12 is expected to cost around $699 with the pricier models going well beyond $1,000.
All four of these phones will be powered by Apple's new A14 Bionic chip, which could see performance gains of up to 40% compared with the A13 Bionic. These phones might flaunt OLED displays which would be a first for Apple after using LCD panels in previous devices. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Max are rumored to pack 4GB of RAM while the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max will have 6GB.
Apple is expected to reveal the iPhone 12 family in October, a few weeks later than their usual September launch. The two Pro models could be delayed even further with leaker Jon Prosser claiming they will arrive in November.