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iPhone 12: Release date, price, specs and more

(Image credit: EverythingApplePro)

The iPhone 12 looks like it will be one of the more significant upgrades to the iPhone in recent memory with a serious design change expected for the first time since the iPhone 6. Also, a handful of hardware changes that should, as Apple likes to say on stage, make the iPhone 12 the best iPhone Apple has ever made. 

Apple fans had to wait a little longer than they are used to, but the launch event is today and we are finally going to get the full reveal of Apple's 2020 smartphone lineup.

Apple Prime Day 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.

The flagship competition from Samsung is stronger than ever this year with the absolute powerhouse that is the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, while others like the Google Pixel 5 is taking a step back from the flagship market. Can the iPhone 12 find a way to take on both of these competitors?

We have gathered up all of the rumors we could uncover regarding the iPhone 12, including the release date, pricing, cameras, specs and more, and amazingly, it seems like it might be able to pull it off. Read on to find out everything there is to know about the iPhone 12.

iPhone 12 release date

(Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone 12 is going to be the main attraction for Apple's October 13 event, check out our iPhone 12 event hub for a look at how to watch along live and everything that we expect to see announced. 

While all four models of the iPhone 12 will be announced at this event, the pre-order and release dates for them will somewhat unusually differ according to multiple rumors. The latest was brought to light by the leaker Ice Universe and originated from posts by a user that goes by Kang on the Chinese site Weibo. 

According to a translation of his posts, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro will be the first available with pre-orders going live on October 16 or 17 and delivery on October 23 or 24. The iPhone 12 mini will be next up with pre-orders on November 6 or 7 and shipping on November 13 or 14. Finally the iPhone 12 Max should sneak in last with pre-orders on November 13 or 14 and shipping on November 20 or 21. 

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 iPhone 12 price 

As you would expect, Apple has had nothing official to say about the pricing of the iPhone 12 yet, but there have been rumors from a number of credible sources. 

Perhaps the biggest shock is that most rumors suggest that the iPhone 12 will be cheaper than the iPhone 11, which was, in turn, cheaper than the iPhone XR that preceded it, an unusual trend for Apple to say the least. This is all the more surprising as the iPhone 12 should be the first to support 5G, something that has been a source of rising prices on the Android side, but Apple is again reaping the benefits of producing its own chipsets as the pricey Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 is a prime factor in the price jump for Android flagships this year.

This is supported by reports from the ever-reliable Apple analyst Ming-chi Kuo who attributes the move to a significant savings Apple has been able to make on the battery for the iPhone 12 and also gets the thumbs up from Apple leaker Jon Prosser. Prosser offered up the prices he was seeing from his sources back in April, starting with the iPhone 12 Mini at $649, which would be a $50 drop from the iPhone 11.

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A larger 6.1-inch iPhone 12 would jump up to $749, which is where you see a bit of a gotcha from Apple on this pricing as this matches the size of the iPhone 11, making it $50 more expensive than the comparable offering from last year. Looking to the iPhone 12 Pro lineup, the smaller 6.1-inch model would start at $999 and the larger 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max at $1,099. We’ll address the features in later sections, but these phones reportedly feature OLED displays and 5G, the former was limited to the Pro models previously and the latter wasn’t available at all on the iPhone 11.

One wild card is a possible 4G-only version of the iPhone 12 at a lower price point coming in early 2021. This was originally reported by Business Insider based on an investor’s note from analysts with Wedbush Securities. Of course, this could also be the follow-up to the iPhone SE (2019) rather than another iPhone 12 model, but regardless, it’s not something anyone expects to be available at the October launch. 

 iPhone 12 specs 

Naturally, these are all unconfirmed specs at this time, but here are the best estimates for the four iPhone 12 models based on available rumors and leaks.

iPhone 12 MiniiPhone 12iPhone 12 ProiPhone 12 Pro Max
Display5.4-inch Super Retina OLED6.1-inch Super Retina OLED6.1-inch Super Retina OLED6.7-inch Super Retina OLED
ProcessorA14 BionicA14 BionicA14 BionicA14 Bionic
Storage 64GB, 128GB, 256GB 64GB, 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Cameras Dual rear cameras Dual rear cameras Triple rear camera array with LiDAR Triple rear camera array with LiDAR
5G support Sub-6GHz Sub-6GHz Sub-6GHz and mmWave Sub-6GHz and mmWave
Battery 2,227 mAh 2,775 mAh 2,775 mAh 3,687 mAh
ColorsBlack, White, Red, Blue, GreenBlack, White, Red, Blue, GreenGold, Silver, Graphite, BlueGold, Silver, Graphite, Blue

 iPhone 12 design 

(Image credit: EverythingApplePro)

Apple is reportedly changing things up in a big way with the iPhone 12 design, giving it a makeover that borrows from the design language of the new iPad Pro (2020). This rumor originated from Bloomberg back in April and has seen the light of day in dummy unit form courtesy of a MacRumors forum user based on leaked schematics for the iPhone 12.

While the iPad Pro is the more recent model for this design, it really harkens back to the beloved iPhone 5 design with the flat edges that died on the original iPhone SE. And with that said, iPhone SE fans should also perk up because the 5.4-inch screen size on the standard iPhone 12 without the Touch ID home button at the bottom is awfully close to the same size as that eminently pocketable smartphone. 

It will be interesting to see the general reaction to the design change as it has been a long time since the move to the more rounded design (this happened with the iPhone 6), and many users have never actually experienced the iPhone 5 design.

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One change that is likely to be universally appreciated is a reduction in the size of the notch at the top of the display. According to schematics posted by reliable Apple leaker Jon Prosser, it will be roughly half the width of the current notch.

While the specs and general dimensions of the phones are known, many of the finer details remain a mystery. The exact layout of the rear camera, for example, for the iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pros have seen numerous possible designs. The placement of the LiDAR sensor may cause a more drastic change to the former arrangement than some have imagined. A September 11 Twitter post from @EveryApplePro claimed to reveal an actual iPhone 12 Pro chassis and as you can see it features two prominent additions next to the familiar triple-lens array.

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And on a purely aesthetic note, there are some limited rumors regarding the colors that the iPhone 12 will come in. The standard iPhone 12 is likely to get a similar myriad of color options as the iPhone 11, but the iPhone 12 Pros are also rumored to be getting a new option in the form of a Navy Blue per Android Police's Max Weinbach. Whether this would replace the Midnight Green option or give Pro users four options is unknown.

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iPhone 12 cameras  

(Image credit: Apple)

Cameras have become perhaps the most significant battleground in the smartphone world in recent years and while nothing suggests that Apple is going to try to match Samsung’s massive 108MP sensor or 50-100x telephoto options, it does appear to have some interesting updates planned.

The basic layout of the cameras for each model of iPhone 12 appears to be similar to the iPhone 11 with a wide-angle and standard on the iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 and a telephoto added to the mix on the iPhone 12 Pro models.

One new feature is the introduction of a LiDAR sensor on the iPhone 12 Pro models similar to what is found in the iPad Pro (2020). It would both enable superior AR performance, an area where Apple continues to dominate thanks to its ability to accurately detect distances, and contribute to better portrait shots. This rumor first appeared courtesy of a schematic posted by Apple leaker @choco_bit and was subsequently supported by the aforementioned pricing leak from Jon Prosser.

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One of the additions to the iPhone 12 that may be responsible for the delayed launch is a 7th lens element. We turn again to Ming-Chi Kuo for this rumor originally caught by AppleInsider. The primary benefit of this added element should be a reduction in aberration, but it could also point to some magnification like what we have seen from Samsung’s recent flagships.

While 108MP isn’t in the cards for the iPhone 12, according to Max Weinbach, a step up to a 64MP sensor might be happening this year. He originally reported this in an interview with YouTuber EverythingApplePro. While it is always important to remember that the resolution of the camera is far from everything, it’s a massive step up from the 12MP that Apple has been using for years now. If this leak is accurate, it should allow for greater digital zoom without falloff among other features.

The iPhone 12 will reportedly introduce “sensor shift” technology, according to supply chain sources of DigitTimes. The feature would impact both photos and videos on the iPhone by augmenting the existing optical image stabilization by recognizing the motion of the smartphone and making micro-adjustments to the camera sensors to account for the movement. This should allow for both steadier video and improved low-light performance for handheld photography.

Finally, turning specifically to video features, something that Apple has dominated in recent years, we look again to EverythingApplePro who claims that the iPhone 12 Pro will be able to capture 4K video at up to 240 frames per second, which would be a 4x increase over the iPhone 11 Pro and presumably attributable to the power of the A14 processor. 

 iPhone 12 display 

There seems to be a consensus among the various rumor sources that all iPhone 12 models will be moving to OLED screens, which will finally bring the greater contrast ratio and black levels to the full lineup. Similarly, we’ve seen widespread agreement on screen sizes, with the iPhone 12 Mini coming in at 5.4, the iPhone 12 at 6.1-inches and the iPhone 12 Pro models at 6.1 and 6.7-inches respectively.

There is some conflict regarding the features of the display. The point of contention centers around whether the iPhone 12 Pro models will feature a 120Hz ProMotion display like the iPad Pros have since 2017. With Samsung going to 120Hz across its Galaxy S20 lineup this year, and on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, it would be an easy target for Samsung to go after if Apple were to fail to introduce it in its top-end iPhone models.

The first reports suggesting that Apple wouldn't be able to bring 120Hz to the iPhone 12 Pro came from Ross Young, an analyst with DSCC that has proven to have some solid sources in the display supply chain. He has specifically claimed that Apple has been unable to secure the necessary 120Hz driver integrated circuits (ICs). He originally made this claim on August 4 and then further elaborated on it on August 24 indicating that are would either need to be a significant launch delay or the displays will again be 60Hz.

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Following this second claim a couple of prominent voices in the leaker community, Jon Prosser and Max Weinbach, also voiced concern over Apple's ability to deliver 120Hz on the iPhone 12 Pros. Ultimately on September 11 Prosser weighed in again saying that the 120Hz had indeed failed to make it into final mass production.

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At this point, too many reliable sources are indicating that this is not going to happen this year for it to be ignored. It sounds like iPhone 12 owners will all be running 60Hz displays this year which is unfortunate as those who have experienced 120Hz displays know that as our reviewer said of the 120Hz display on the new Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus it makes "animations look and feel buttery smooth."

 iPhone 12 software 

(Image credit: Apple)

iOS 14 will, of course, be ready in time for the launch of the iPhone 12 and it is bringing some interesting new options to iOS users. Here’s a look at some of the highlights.

Homescreen customization is something that power users on iOS have had to covet on Android for years now, and with iOS 14, it is finally coming close. Users can add widgets that will allow them to monitor and control apps and services on their devices without actually jumping into an app. 

The “App Library” view is another feature Android users will be familiar with so rather than having to view every app on your screen, you will be able to hide some and let Apple automatically organize them or sort them by a variety of methods.

Picture-in-picture is not just for iPads anymore, iPhone users will also be able to view content, like a video, while working in another app.

Some notifications are also getting tamped down a bit, most notably is the call notification which has traditionally taken over your screen completely and will now only cover roughly the top third to allow you to keep working while you think about taking that call.

iPhone 12 accessories in the box

(Image credit: @L0vetodream)

Why would we bother to bring this up? Well, Apple is looking to break new ground in terms of what it doesn’t give you in the box. Traditionally, you’ve found a set of EarPods, a charger and a charging cable. But iPhone 12 buyers may only find one of those items in the box when they get home.

The charging cable is rumored to be the sole pack-in accessory with the iPhone 12, according to a report from Ming-Chi Kuo and originally covered by MacRumors, Apple may drop the EarPods in order to drive additional buyers to its AirPods and AirPods Pro.

While some will be frustrated by this exclusion, the next omission comes as an even greater surprise and that is the removal of the charger. Yes, you might be getting nothing but a USB Type-C to Lightning cable in the box with your iPhone 12. The justification will supposedly be to avoid some of the waste associated with devices as virtually every user already has headphones and a charger, but it is also a clear attempt to upsell buyers that have already spent a fortune on a new phone so it isn’t likely to be met with cheers from consumers.

On the plus side, there is also a rumor courtesy of a since-deleted tweet from leaker @L0vetodream that the iPhone 12 will finally ship with an improved braided USB Type-C-to-Lightning cable, which would be a massive upgrade from the standard version that Apple has been including for years now.

iPhone 12 outlook 

While the design change is likely going to be the most attention-grabbing feature of the iPhone 12 when it launches, there is a lot going on under the hood as well. Apple dealt a real blow to the mid-range smartphone market last year with the release of the $399 iPhone SE and, with the pricing on the iPhone 12, it looks like it may extend that battle further up the market. 

We are seeing a perfect example of how Apple’s complete control of its chipset manufacturing is paying off in mobile and how it could pay off in its laptops and desktops as well. While Android manufacturers had to contend with the high-priced Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 and raise prices accordingly, it seems like Apple might be able to offer greater value while presumably maintaining its margins.

But ignoring the business side of things, based on the rumors, the iPhone 12 is shaping up to be an amazing update from Apple with a reimagined design and an impressive array of software and hardware updates that should thrill most iPhone fans.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.