iPhone 12 release date, price, specs and rumors

Jan 17, 2020 – Update: Analysts at Barclays expect the iPhone 12 line-up to feature a new Face ID camera system, according to a note seen by MacRumors. Analyst Blayne Curtis and team said they expect this year’s new iPhones to have a “refreshed” TrueDepth system on the front-facing camera. Lumentum, which supplies components for the iPhone, is expected to benefit from this updated camera system.

iPhone 12

Image source: Apple.com

Barclays analysts also said they expect the iPhone 12 Pro to feature a Time of Flight sensor and 3D sensing, which has been rumored already. They also predict that the high-end models will have 6 GB of RAM, compared to the 4 GB that’s believed to be in the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max. Apple doesn’t officially report the amount of RAM included in its iPhones.

They also echoed something fellow analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said about next year bringing the beginning of the end of the Lightning connector. Barclays analysts expect the Lightning connector to removed from at least one of the iPhone models released next year, which is what Kuo also said. If that change happens, then the box might not contain wired EarPods included with the handset.

Kuo expects Apple to release five new iPhones this year, including a less expensive model that could be called the iPhone 9 or iPhone SE 2 in March and four more expensive iPhone 12 models equipped with 5G support.

Jan. 14, 2020 – UPDATE: The iPhone 12 rumors over the last few months have detailed a number of features and design aspects of Apple’s upcoming flagship. Considering many of the tipsters and analysts sharing the leaks are well-connected within Apple’s supply chain, the rumors have some truth in them.

Reputed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities said in a research note that Apple would sell 80-85 million iPhone 12 models this year due to the 5G technology. The analyst added that Apple is preparing to launch both sub-6GHz as well as the sub-6GHz + mmWave 5G iPhone models later this year.

iPhone 12

Source: Behance

In some countries, telecom operators are using the sub-6GHz 5G networks while other countries are relying on the millimeter wave (mmWave) networks. As per Kuo, the iPhone 12 models supporting mmWave will be sold in five markets – the US, UK, Canada, Japan, and South Korea. Of course, Apple will also be selling 4G variants of at least some iPhone 12 models.

It will be interesting to see what Apple’s 2020 iPhone lineup would look like in different countries. According to Kuo, the 5G iPhone 12 models would feature an advanced sensor-shift stabilization technology. It will allow you to take clear pictures even when there is excessive motion. It would be similar to optical image stabilization. But while OIS relies on specific lenses, the sensor-shift stabilization will apply to the camera sensor itself.

How many models?

One thing we’ve heard is that this year’s models will be called the iPhone 12 line-up rather than the iPhone 11S series. But that’s not all we’ve heard. Rumors and reports have already been piling up even though the iPhone 12 is several months away.

If Apple follows the same naming scheme that it used for the 2019 iPhones, the 2020 iPhones would be called iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. The Cupertino company is rumored to skip the ‘S’ moniker because the 2020 iPhones would be a massive upgrade in terms of design as well as capabilities.

Apple will supposedly release more iPhone models than ever in 2020, but analysts disagree on how many iPhone 12 models to expect. Rosenblatt Securities analysts have said there could be six iPhone 12 models this fall and a less expensive iPhone SE 2, which could be called the iPhone 9 if Macotakara is correct.

According to the Rosenblatt note, there will be a 6.1-inch LCD-equipped iPhone 12 with 4G. There will also supposedly be 4G and 5G variants of the iPhone 12 Pro with a 5.4-inch OLED screen and 4G and 5G variants of the “iPhone 12 Pro Plus” with a 6.1-inch OLED display. The firm also suggests there will be an iPhone 12 Pro Max, which will supposedly come in a 5G variant only.

On the other hand, JPMorgan analyst Samik Chatterjee has predicted four models, according to a note seen by CNET. The analyst backs up what we heard previously from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo about four new models. Supposedly the screen sizes will be 5.4 inches, 6.1 inches and 6.7 inches, with there being two 6.1-inch models.

According to Chatterjee, the two high-end models (one 6.1-inch and another 6.7-inch) will have a triple camera setup, 5G connectivity, and a “world facing” 3D sensor for improved augmented reality. The two low-end models (5.4-inch and 6.1-inch) will have a dual-camera setup. They would launch without 5G and “world facing” 3D sensor.

iPhone 12 release date

The iPhone 12 won’t arrive until late 2020. The Cupertino company has historically unveiled new iPhones in the first half of September. So, we expect the iPhone 12 series to debut in September 2020. Apple generally chooses the second Tuesday or Wednesday in September for the big reveal, which would be Sept. 08 or 09, 2020. The release date then generally follows on Friday of the following week, which would be Sept. 18, 2020.

Of course, these dates are pure speculation on our part based on release and launch dates of past years. It is far too early to know with any certainty when Apple will release the 2020 iPhone line-up.

iPhone 12 design and display

Apple is widely expected to change the design of the iPhone 12 series. According to noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities, Apple will replace the rounded corners with a metal frame similar to the iPhone 4. The iPhone 12 lineup would have a metal frame with squared edges to support the front and back glass panels. The redesigned 2018 iPad Pro had similar edges.

Kuo added that the new iPhones will use a more complex grooving and injection molding of the metal frame. It will help reduce negative effects of metal shielding on the transmission efficiency of the antenna.

iPhone 12

Image source: Apple/Screenshot

What’s more, the analyst predicts the screen size of the iPhone 12 Pro will be smaller than iPhone 11 Pro. It will get a 5.4-inch display instead of the iPhone 11 Pro’s 5.8-inch. The iPhone 12 Pro Max is said to feature a giant 6.7-inch screen compared to the 6.5-inch of iPhone 11 Pro Max. The regular iPhone 12 would retain the 6.1-inch size.

The 2020 iPhones will also reportedly feature a notch, which Apple first introduced with the iPhone X. Although there are reports that Apple wants to move away from the notch, we probably won’t see a notch-free design until 2021. However, a couple of months ago, tipster Benjamin Geskin shared a rendering of a 6.7-inch iPhone that does not feature a notch.

In place of the notch, Geskin’s rendering places the TrueDepth camera components inside a thin bezel. In a tweet, he said the prototype is of a 2020 iPhone model. Further, the tipster said Apple is testing Face ID prototypes which could be fitted into the phone’s top bezel.

On November 20, Ben Geskin shared a set of fresh iPhone 12 renders with a squared-off metal edging like iPhone 4 and no display notch. That’s what he wants to see in the 2020 iPhone. The mockup looks gorgeous. But Geskin says in a follow-up tweet that we are unlikely to see this design in 2020.

He also shared what the iPhone 12 series will most probably look like. The notch is expected to remain there for at least another year, though the width of the notch appears to have become smaller.

Twitter tipster Ice Universe has suggested that the 2020 iPhones would also feature Apple’s ProMotion technology with a switchable 60Hz/120Hz refresh rate. The Cupertino company already offers ProMotion technology on the iPad Pros.

Apple has been trailing its Android counterparts in the screen refresh rate, so this improvement would pull it ahead of competitors, or at least in line with them if they should boost their 90Hz refresh rate up to 120Hz this year.

iPhone 12 concept

Based on the rumors, folks at ConceptsiPhone have come up with an exciting concept video imagining what the upcoming iPhone would look like.

Designers at ConceptsiPhone imagine a shinier and flatter iPhone 12, which resembles the iPhone 5. The notch-less phone has flat metal edges. It has slim bezels around the display. The concept phone features a Touch ID fingerprint sensor integrated under the display.

The selfie camera also appears to be placed under the screen. LetsGoDigital recently claimed that the iPhone 12 would have a full-screen display, placing the front camera under the screen. There is no sign of the 3.5mm audio jack. On the back panel, the device has four camera lenses and a flash housed in a square-shaped bump.

ConceptsiPhone also imagines the iPhone 12 in a wide variety of colors including Black, White, Red, Lilac, Yellow, and Green. The iPhone 12 concept has a glossy finish rather than the iPhone 11 Pro’s frosted glass finish.

5G connectivity

Last year, Apple reached a deal with Qualcomm to bring the latter’s 5G modems to iPhones. Apple is developing its own 5G modems, but they are still a few years away. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, all three 2020 iPhone models would offer 5G technology.

Japanese blog Nikkei claims the iPhone 12 series would feature Qualcomm’s X55 5G modem, which delivers up to 3Gbps of upload speed and 7Gbps of download speed. Wireless carriers would have rolled out their 5G networks in most parts of the US by the time 5G iPhones arrive.

Most Android vendors including Samsung, LG, OnePlus, Xiaomi, and Huawei have already launched their 5G phones. Apple will be playing catch-up in the 5G race. However, Strategy Analytics predicts that Apple will become a leader in the 5G race following the launch of iPhone 12. The sales of 5G Android phones haven’t been that strong due to high price tags and the lack of 5G network availability in most regions.

In a recent research note (via 9to5Mac), Ming-Chi Kuo told investors that the iPhone 12 series would support both mmWave and sub-6GHz bands. Some wireless carriers are using the mmWave frequency while others rely on the sub-6GHz band. The analyst believes that in the future, the 5G networks will depend on a combination of the two frequency versions.

The analyst added that Apple will use the Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) FCP antennas in the iPhone 12 series. The LCP antennas minimize the signal loss, and they perform well irrespective of temperature fluctuations. Since 5G phones need more antennas, the iPhone 12 would pack more LCP PFC antennas, boosting demand for them. Kuo predicts Apple’s switch to 5G will increase the demand for LCP FPC antennas to 220 million in 2020.

Camera capabilities

The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max feature a triple-camera setup on the back in a square camera module. The relatively affordable iPhone 11 gets only two rear cameras. According to the rumor mill, Apple could add an additional camera to the iPhone 12 lineup.

It’s no secret that Apple is investing heavily in augmented reality. Ming-Chi Kuo claims the iPhone 12 series would feature a time-of-flight camera on the back, which would not only enhance the AR experience but also help capture depth information in photos. The time-of-flight camera could also enable bokeh effects in videos.

The ToF camera would be smaller in size than the wide, ultrawide, and telephoto lenses. The rumor mill claims the ToF sensor would be added only to the high-end Pro and Pro Max variants. Additionally, a recent patent filing suggests Apple is working on a periscope-like telephoto lens. Such a lens would provide a longer zoom range than on earlier iPhones.

Confirming Kuo’s prediction, Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis and his associates told investors that the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max would feature rear-facing 3D sensing cameras. The 3D sensing ToF camera would be necessary for offering a “revolutionary AR experience,” said Curtis. The ToF sensor would be used to create a 3D reconstruction of the real world.

In-display fingerprint sensor

The iPhone 12 could be the first model to have an in-display fingerprint scanner using ultrasonic technology. As cited by MacRumors, the Economic Daily News reports that Apple is planning to meet with GIS, a touchscreen maker from Taiwan, to discuss an in-display fingerprint sensor. The discussions will supposedly focus on making the technology available for the 2020 iPhone line-up.

The report does line up with other claims about the iPhone models having an in-display fingerprint sensor starting either this year or the next. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Bloomberg, analysts from Barclays and other sources have suggested that the technology could be arriving on the iPhone within the next two years. Interestingly, Kuo also said GIS could be involved in the supply chain for the iPhone 12’s under-display fingerprint sensor.

According to Barclays analysts (via MacRumors), Apple will bring Touch ID back in 2020 by enabling fingerprint recognition anywhere on the display. However, Ming-Chi Kuo believes the 2021 iPhones could be equipped with both Face ID and Touch ID. The 2020 iPhones could stick with Face ID.

MacRumors explains that two different types of fingerprint sensors for under-display use exist. They are ultrasonic, which utilizes high-frequency sound to create a 3D fingerprint image, and optical, which creates a 2D fingerprint image using light from the smartphone’s display.

According to PC Mag, Qualcomm discussed a newer, bigger under-display fingerprint sensor at its Snapdragon Tech Summit on Tuesday. The 3D Sonic Max is 17 times larger than the sensor used in the Galaxy S10, although it’s unclear whether it will be more secure than the one currently used in Samsung’s devices.

Apple has long been rumored to be planning to include both Touch ID and Face ID in the iPhone 12. The company could shift to an all-OLED line-up this year, which would make sense because ultrasonic fingerprint sensors do not work with LCDs.

Rumored iPhone 12 features

There have been plenty of other rumors about the iPhone 12. The iPhone 12 line is widely expected to run Apple’s custom A14 Bionic chipset. The A14 chips will reportedly be based on TSMC’s 5nm process technology, which would make them smaller, faster, and more energy-efficient. Apple’s A-series processors have proved to be far more powerful than other smartphone chips in the market.

Apple never shares the amount of RAM on its smartphones. However, a teardown conducted by iFixit revealed that the iPhone 11 series packs 4GB RAM. In a new research report, Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis (via MacRumors) shares that the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max would feature 6GB RAM, a significant jump from the iPhone 11 series.

However, the non-Pro iPhone 12 would get 4GB RAM, which should be more than sufficient to handle most tasks, including heavy gaming. Blayne Curtis has provided accurate information about unannounced Apple products in the past.

We’re also hearing that the iPhone 12 could feature improved battery technology. According to South Korean news outlet The Elec, this year’s iPhones could have custom Protection Module Packages from ITM Semiconductor. The news outlet claims this year’s iPhones will have a custom battery model that’s nearly half the size of the one used in earlier iPhones. All that leftover space will supposedly be taken up by a bigger battery, according to Redmond Pie.

Will Apple raise the prices?

With all the new features the iPhone 12 is expected to get, it sounds like the bill of materials could increase significantly. The deciding factor on price will be 5G support. The 2020 iPhones will reportedly be the first iPhones to support 5G.

The iPhone 11 came with a starting price of $699. But the addition of 5G could prompt Apple to increase prices this year. Presently, most 5G smartphones in the market come with a premium price tag compared to the non-5G models of the same phones.

For example, the Galaxy 10 5G starts at $1,299, compared to a starting price of $999 for the Galaxy S10+. Similarly, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G costs $1,299, which is $200 more than the standard Note 10 Plus.

However, Apple supposedly won’t be passing the entire increase on to customers. In a note last week, well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple probably won’t increase the price of the iPhone 12 line-up by any more than $50. He added that adding support for 5G will raise the bill of materials by $30 to $100. However, instead of passing the entire extra cost on to customers, Apple reportedly plans to offset most of the extra cost by cutting expenses in the rest of its supply chain.

Although Apple will be late to roll out 5G iPhones, it will enjoy one major benefit of waiting until 2020 to release a 5G iPhone. The price of 5G components should decline this year. This could help Apple release the new iPhones around the same price as the 2019 models.

The cost of other components is also expected to jump in 2020. Ming-Chi Kuo speculates that the cost of glass case could increase by 40% to 50%, and the metal frame could increase by 50% to 60% for the upcoming iPhones. He also suggested that if the grooved metal cover includes tempered glass, the chassis could increase by 20% to 30% in price, and the metal frame cost could increase 25% to 35%.

If the bill of materials for 2020 iPhone models really does increase as much as he believes it could, we must believe that a price increase isn’t out of the question for the iPhone 12. It’s unlikely that Apple could pass all of the increase on to consumers because the iPhone is already one of the most expensive smartphones on the market. However, it’s difficult to imagine that Apple won’t try to pass off some of the higher bill of materials to consumers in the form of a price increase.

There is still a lot of time left for the iPhone 12. As we move closer to the launch, we will see more leaks and rumors surrounding them. We will keep updating the article as new information arrives.