It's never too early to get excited about the next iPhone launch. Indeed, there are already plenty of questions around the next new iPhone, which will almost certainly be called the iPhone 12, and almost certainly launch in September 2020.
We're expecting major updates, including the first new iPhone design changes since 2017, potentially across a four-strong range of iPhone 12 models, featuring a spread of different screen sizes. Whereas as the current iPhone - the iPhone 11 - was more a case of 'evolution' rather than 'revolution', the iPhone 12 is said to feature an all-new design and be packed with plenty of ground-breaking tech.
But of course, there remain plenty of questions, not least around the iPhone 12 specs and features that will really set the new phone apart from the competition. Will the iPhone 12 be 5G? Will it have a 3D laser camera? Will it have a new Apple chip? Just how much will it cost? Will it be the best phone we've ever tested? All valid questions.
Thus far, Apple has, of course, been tight-lipped about the iPhone 12, so you won't find any official images, nor an official price or release date. But we've delved into the latest iPhone 12 rumours, leaks and news, and sorted the trustworthy from the outlandish, in order to help build a picture of the 2020 iPhone. Read on for all the details.
iPhone 12: key details
- Four new iPhones, three sizes
- OLED screens, angular design, 3D laser camera
- Release date: slight delay but still autumn
- Price: cheaper entry-level, from £729/$699 to £1149/$1099
iPhone 12: release date
A September iPhone launch is always a dead cert, an annual event as reliable as Christmas. But this year, things could be a little different...
The CEO of Broadcom, a major supplier of components for the iPhone, recently told analysts of a "major product cycle delay" at a "large North American mobile phone" customer, thought to be Apple. This delay is likely due to the coronavirus pandemic, and is in line with previous reports.
However, the iPhone 12 is still thought to ship before Christmas, with the delay likely to be weeks rather than months. A previous report still put the handset in the regular autumn launch window.
In 2019, the iPhone 11 became available for pre-order on Friday 13th September, with shipments and in-store availability starting Friday 20th September. For the iPhone 12, Apple will be hoping to get as close to those dates as possible.
iPhone 12: price
As for price, a recent leak suggests that starting prices for the iPhone 12 (6.1in) and iPhone 12 Pro will be $749 and $999 respectively – comparable, then, to those of the iPhone 11 series when it launched. The smaller iPhone 12 (5.4in) will cost $649 and the larger iPhone 12 Pro Max (6.7in) will start at $1099. As a comparison, the current iPhone 11 prices are as follows:
- £729/$699 for iPhone 11
- £1049/$999 for iPhone 11 Pro
- £1149/$1099 for the iPhone 11 Pro Max
How will it feature brand-new tech and 5G chipsets and be a similar price? Well, according to trusted iPhone analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will not bundle EarPods or a charger with the handsets, instead filing them under optional extras.
iPhone 12: name
According to trusted iPhone analyst Ming-Chi Kuo the next iPhone will be called the iPhone 12, rather than the iPhone 11S, 11X, 11.5 or similar.
That makes perfect sense given that the iPhone 12 is rumoured to be a big leap forward in terms of both design and tech.
It sounds like naming the new iPhone the '11S' wouldn't really do it justice, or set the stage for a truly 'next-gen' handset.
iPhone 12: design
Apple is expected to launch not one but four iPhones in 2020, including the iPhone 12 and an iPhone 12 Pro handset. The range is rumoured to include three display sizes: 5.4-inch, 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch – all of which are said to be OLED.
The potential existence of a 5.4-inch model is reinforced by a video (posted on Twitter by EverythingApplePro) of a bijou model said to represent the iPhone 12. These CADs are purportedly issued to protective case manufacturers ahead of phone launches, to aid production.
Rumours suggest the 6.7-inch model, and one of the two 6.1-inch models, will be the high-end variants with triple-lens cameras and 5G capability. The smallest 5.4-inch model, and the cheaper 6.1-inch, will be classed as 'affordable' iPhones. If that comes to pass, the 6.7-inch will be the largest (and likely most expensive) iPhone ever released.
The iPhone 12 will feature a revamped design, too. Kuo says that the iPhone 12 will look "significantly" different thanks to a stainless steel frame that harks back to the legendary iPhone 4. This idea of a more angular iPhone design, has since been reiterated in the form of leaked molds and CAD drawings.
That said, others have suggested the new devices will look more like an iPad or an iPhone 5. According to sources quoted by Bloomberg, the successors to the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max will have flat stainless steel edges instead of the current models' curved designs. They will also have more sharply rounded corners, resembling the iPad Pro that launched in 2018.
These two iPhones will have flat screens, the sources add, instead of the sloping edges of the 11 Pro and Pro Max. All of which sounds suspiciously close to the design of the iPhone 5.
Pocket space at a premium? The iPhone 12 could be the thinnest iPhone ever. Apple is said to be considering using a thinner type of OLED display featuring an in-screen fingerprint scanner. Together with a rumoured 'custom battery protection' circuit that's tipped to be "50% smaller", Apple's designers could take the opportunity to slim the device down.
It could also be curtains for the camera 'notch'. Apple is rumoured to be developing a new front-facing camera, along with new Face ID tech, that would enable Cupertino's design department to drastically shrink or, with any luck, delete the notch.
Another rumour says that the notch will remain but in a smaller, less intrusive form. Apple watcher Jon Prosser recently shared purported iPhone 12 schematics that show this will be achieved by moving the phone's front speaker into the bezel. The ambient light and proximity sensors would also be more centrally positioned within the TrueDepth camera system.
Though one report flies in the face of all these rumours. Japanese Apple blog Macotakara (via CNET) quotes an unnamed Chinese supplier as saying the iPhone 12 will have a very similar chassis to the iPhone 11, just with slightly bowed edges. As ever with Apple, we'll just have to wait and see...
iPhone 12: OLED display
The iPhone 12 is said to come in three screen sizes: 5.4-inch, 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch screen. All three are rumoured to be OLED, which means that the standard 6.1-inch iPhone 12 will get an upgrade from LCD to OLED.
What's more, one or more of the high-end models will feature a refresh rate of 120Hz (the iPhone 11 tops out at 60Hz). iPhone leaker @UniverseIce claimed that Apple was discussing the plan with Samsung and LG, the two largest suppliers of smartphone AMOLED displays.
They could feature the same ProMotion display tech as the iPad Pro. This changes the screen's refresh rate dynamically depending on what content is displayed. So if you're watching a film or playing a game, it would refresh at 120Hz, but if you're just reading text it would drop to a lower rate to conserve battery power.
We've seen ultra-smooth 120Hz screens on Razer's gaming smartphones (now discontinued) and it would certainly play well with Apple Arcade, the company's Netflix-style gaming platform. The Samsung Galaxy S20 - launched in February - has a 120Hz screen too, and Apple won't want to fall behind its arch rival. So put this rumour in the 'definitely' category.
iPhone 12: 8K video
The iPhone 11 Pro is capable of capturing the best 4K video of any iPhone yet. Could the iPhone 12 top that with 8K video?
There's no word on whether the iPhone will capture 8K video. But the Samsung Galaxy S20 can. Unless Apple wants to cede pro customers to its arch rival Samsung, we would expect it to follow suit.
Ball's in your court, Apple.
iPhone 12: 5G support
Now that most major mobile networks have launched 5G across towns and cities in the UK and US, it's widely rumoured that Apple will join the 5G party.
Indeed, iPhone analyst Kuo has predicted that all four 2020 iPhones will sport 5G. Wishful thinking? Perhaps. But perhaps not. The rumour was reiterated by Bloomberg's more recent report, hinting there is some truth in it after all.
What's more, multiple analysts have tipped the iPhone 12 to get a faster A14 Bionic processor which should stretch the iPhone's battery life and provide extra oomph when streaming 4K video content over 5G networks.
iPhone 12: camera
Rumour has it that the iPhone 12 will feature a laser-powered 3D camera. The futuristic tech uses a laser to calculate depth for objects in the room, dramatically improving the phone's photography chops and augmented reality capabilities. It could also mean we get a Portrait mode for video.
How much difference would a laser really make? Well, currently, Apple's infrared TrueDepth tech can scan objects 25-50cm away. The iPhone 12's 3D laser tech is said to scan objects up to 15ft away. It could be a game-changer for photography fans.
It's widely suggested that both high-end iPhones are due to get the triple-lens with the 3D laser snapper, while the cheaper models will make do with an upgraded dual-camera set-up. Apple's 11 Pro and Pro Max have three rear cameras, while the cheaper iPhone 11 has two, so there'll be no change to the number of snappers, it's just the added functionality that should be different.
Given that the iPhone 11 Pro already has one of the most impressive cameras we've ever tested, it'll be interesting to see what the iPhone 12 delivers. We'll keep you updated will all the most exciting iPhones 12 camera news as the launch approaches.
iPhone 12: power
Some analysts claim that the iPhone 12 could be in for a power boost. Barclays says that the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max will have 6GB of RAM apiece, up from 4GB on their predecessors. The standard iPhone 12 is reported to stick with 4GB, however.
UBS analysts reportedly share this view, so there could well be something in it...
As previously mentioned, it seems Apple may not bundle the iPhone 12 with a power adapter, instead selling that separately. While the iPhone 11 Pro comes with an 18-watt USB-C power adapter, it appears the iPhone 12 will use a new 20-watt USB-C adapter. The 18-watt charger, as well as the 5-watt variant that comes with the standard iPhone 11, are expected to be discontinued towards the end of the year upon the new adapter's arrival.
iPhone 12: other rumours
Google 'iPhone 12' and you'll be bombarded with whacky predictions and wild rumours. Here are a few features that probably won't make it into the iPhone 12...
Firstly, there's talk of the next iPhone being 'totally wireless'. In other words, Apple could ditch wired chargers and accessories altogether – much like it ditched 3.5mm headphone jacks back in 2016.
It would certainly make for a sleeker design, but it would also create huge backwards compatibility issues and force iPhone users to rely on Qi wireless chargers to juice up handsets and accessories. According to Kuo, Apple won't go totally wireless until 2021... at the very earliest.
Though given Apple's recent hoo-ha with the EU over its Lightning cables, maybe it will be motivated to go wireless earlier. But we're not betting on it.
Another fairly outlandish rumour hints at a foldable iPhone in 2020, complete with a display supplied by LG. It seems unlikely given that 2019's foldable phones didn't exactly cover themselves in glory.
Samsung had to delay the launch of its foldable phone after several reviewers reported that their sample handsets had broken. LG's foldable phone suffered a similar fate, with reports of early models 'breaking in half'. Motorola's recent RAZR also came with some disclaimers on how to take care of the delicate folding screen.
The iPhone 12 Foldable? We'd suggest taking that with a shovel of salt.
Finally, there's long been talk of augmented reality glasses that would connect to the iPhone, using the handset as the 'brain' to power the specs.
Recently, rumours surfaced suggesting Apple had partnered with game developer Valve to bring the glasses to market. The specs would overlay maps, games and notifications over your field of vision. However, an insider who claims to have had eyes on Apple's roadmap says the AR glasses are pencilled in for 2022/2023.
This year, we're expecting Apple Tags (Tile-style trackers that tell you where your keys are) and a new HomePod instead. Both of which will do us nicely.
With the iPhone 12 set to be announced in September 2020, we'll be keeping this page updated over the coming months with all the latest news and rumours.
Read our iPhone 11 review
Read our iPhone 11 Pro review