Forget Apple’s iPhone 11, the iPhone 12 in 2020 will be where all the significant changes come into play with things like 5G, new designs, and OLED panels for ALL…
Apple’s iPhone 12 will get a release date in 2020 and it will pack in quite a few new features, according to analysts at JP Morgan. That means if you’re looking for the best iPhone, you might well be best off waiting until 2020… This is when all the good stuff is happening: 5G, new cameras, updated CPUs, and, potentially, the return of the iPhone SE 2.
Chief among these updates will be to do with the camera, it will apparently include Time-of-Flight technology, and the addition of an actual budget iPhone (the iPhone 12R) to the lineup. 5G will also be a mainstay on ALL iPhone 12 handsets. But that’s a given, seeing NONE of Apple’s iPhone 11 range feature 5G. And there’s even talk of a fourth model joining the mix, a handset called the iPhone Mini – though this is very much a rumor right now.
However, you can still run an iPhone and not pay mega money for it; if you buy refurbished iPhone models, for instance, even newer ones like the iPhone XS and iPhone XR, you could save around 40% on the cost of the handset. And if you didn’t know that, well… now you do!
OK, back to the iPhone 12! Let’s see what’s cracking…
The First 5G iPhone – AKA The iPhone 12
The biggest change coming to iPhone in 2020 is the inclusion of 5G. To date, no iPhones – even the iPhone 11 Pro Max – have featured 5G connectivity. This could be quite a problem for Apple, as it will mean every single current iPhone user will have to upgrade to the iPhone 12 in order to access 5G mobile data.
This will either create the biggest adoption rate of ALL time for iPhone, or it won’t make a difference – the jury is still out on whether people actually care all that much about 5G. By the time the iPhone 12 launches, 5G will be available in most places in the UK and the USA, so the adoption of Apple’s new 5G-capable iPhones should be strong.
Apple is definitely feeling good about the effect 5G will have on its sales. According to reports, Apple has already sent word to its suppliers that the release of the iPhone 12 could herald a SUPER-CYCLE, whereby tens of millions of users flock to buy one of the new 5G iPhones. Conservative estimates point to a 30% uplift in sales for the iPhone 12 in 2020 versus 2019’s iPhone 11 range.
Nikkei Asian Review reckons Apple will sell around 80 million iPhone 12 units before the close of 2020, a 6-14% increase on last year’s numbers. Either way, given how hard the iPhone 12 will be marketed, both by Apple and carriers/networks, it is almost certain that 5G will help Appel secure some impressive growth in its iPhone business during 2020/21.
iPhone 12 Will Be The Most Impressive iPhone Design To Date…
Word on the street suggests that Apple is prepping something rather special for 2020. And by special, I mean something totally different – just like when it first released the iPhone X. Analysts (and leaks) now point to a radical change in design language with absolutely no notch and an almost total display frontage.
Credit Suisse, following a pretty hefty leak published in China Times, says Apple is looking to bring an iPhone to market in 2020 that effectively has no bezels on the entire front of the phone. The iPhone 12 – or whatever it is eventually called – will basically be ALL display, as you can see in the image above.
Furthermore, Apple will integrate TouchID and FACE ID into the display itself, as seen in some iPhone 12 leaks already. Apple has been working on this new Touch ID for a few years now, so its inclusion in the iPhone 12 is certainly significant. I just hope it functions better than the current Android in-display fingerprint readers; I’ve yet to use one that’s actually any good.
Apple’s iPhone 12 range will follow the current iPhone lineup branding – so, 12, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max. However, ALL iPhones in the iPhone 12 range will feature this new design language. Even the iPhone 12 XR, apparently – though I’m not 100% convinced by this claim. Why? Simple: the XR is cheaper and Apple needs to keep users’ buying its more expensive iPhones.
What will the iPhone 12 look like? According to information from the planet’s #1 Apple analyst (Ming-Chi Kuo), the iPhone 12 will look like a cross between the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 11. It’ll sport a flatter, more square chassis and, sadly, there will still be some form of a notch on the front of the device. And the camera unit will still be square.
With the display, again, you’re looking at OLED panels on the premium models (the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max) and LCD on the base model (iPhone 12). All models, however, will feature 120Hz displays and this will be one of the most noticeable new aspects of the new iPhones.
We don’t have any information on size changes or dimensions, but I wouldn’t expect Apple to mess around in this context. Apple’s iPhones are now fairly uniform in their sizes. People are used to it and I don’t see Apple messing with this in 2020. All the big changes, as you will see further down, will be to do with the iPhone 12’s internal specs and features.
If it made them ALL the same, save for camera tech and display type, no one would buy the Pro Max models. What’s more likely is that the iPhone 12 Pro Max will feature a more advanced camera and more storage options. That way, Apple can charge more and it keeps its models nicely differentiated.
iPhone 12 Display Size – One Will Be A LOT Smaller Than Usual…
Think iPhones just keep getting bigger and bigger? Well, think again – this year’s iPhone 12 range will apparently feature one of the smallest iPhones Apple has produced in years. According to leaked information, one of the iPhones in Apple’s iPhone 12 range will feature a 5.2in display.
To put that into context, it is smaller than the iPhone X’s display by quite a margin; Apple’s original iPhone X had a 5.6in OLED panel. The other interesting aspect of this story is that it could mean Apple is making a fourth iPhone 12 model, alongside the standard iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Alternatively, this 5.2in iPhone 12 model could be Apple’s truly cheap iPhone release which is often referred to as the iPhone 9 or iPhone SE 2 – the phone is rumored to retail for $399.99. Multiple sources claimed this handset would launch in March 2019, but the advancement of the COVID-19 epidemic apparently put the breaks on that, meaning we’ll have to wait until later this year to see whether or not we’ll actually get an “affordable iPhone” option in 2020…
Don’t Expect Foldable iPhones in 2020 Though…
One MAJOR change, however, could be the introduction of new form factors. Apple already has patents for foldable iPhones, so we could see the first foldable iPhone launched in 2020. This model would compete directly with the Huawei Mate X and the Samsung Galaxy Fold. Apple will likely be monitoring how these handsets are received by the public before wading in with its own version.
This is what Apple has done with all major design changes since the birth of the iPhone in 2007. It doesn’t do anything until it has already been tried and tested by its competitors – just look at things like large displays, stylus pens, and in-screen fingerprint readers. This softly-softly approach always works in Apple’s favor too. It knows its customers are loyal and are happy to wait for it to add in features that have been available on Android for years.
A foldable iPhone would be a HUGE addition to 2020’s iPhone range, and while it does seem rather far fetched now, I am almost 100% positive we will see one released before 2021, providing the form factor is a resounding success with consumers. If it is, expect to see Apple wade into the space with its take on a foldable OLED phone.
Apple’s A14 CPU Gets Benchmarked
Apple’s A13 CPU was a monster. But if recent leaks are to be believed, the incoming A14 chip that will ship inside the iPhone 12 range could be something else entirely, blowing every other Android phone released in 2020 well and truly out the water.
According to the leaked benchmarks for Apple’s A14 chipset, the new SoC scored 1658 in GeekBench’s single-core test and 4612 in the multi-core test. To put that figure into context, the Galaxy S20 Ultra ONLY managed to score 805 on the same single-core test and 3076 on the multi-core test.
That is a HUGE difference and further proof that it is Apple, not Qualcomm and Samsung, that has most command over the development of ARM-based mobile processors. Even Apple’s current A13 CPU is more powerful than the latest Snapdragon 865, according to GeekBench tests.
However, all of the above must be taken with a pinch of salt; this leak is unverified, so it could just be a hoax. No one has seen the iPhone 12 in the wild, so actually getting a test for it on GeekBench seems unlikely, unless someone in Apple’s manufacturing arm got curious and decided to test it out. Again, this seems unlikely.
Whatever the case, Apple’s A14 will be supremely powerful. It will build on the momentum set by the A13 and push things even further. Built by TSMC, Apple’s A14 CPU will be built using a 5nm process. That’s right on the bleeding-edge of what’s currently possible. And because of its teeny size, it will be more power-efficient than larger 6 and 7nm chips like Samsung’s new Exynos and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865.
The take away here, however, is simple: if you value performance and power efficiency, the iPhone 12 range is going to be leading the pack well into 2021 with zero competition from anyone in the Android space.
iPhone 12 New Features Aren’t All That New…
If you’ve been running an Android phone, a new(ish) one from the last 12 months, chances are you’ll have encountered many of the iPhone 12’s so-called “new features” which has to lead many commentators to claim that Apple is now playing catch up with its Android rivals.
Take the Time-of-Flight camera, for instance: both the Huawei P30 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S10 5G have this camera tech built into them. And by the time Apple’s iPhone 12 gets official, almost a year and a half from now, Time-of-Flight will be common on Android handsets.
It’ll still be a welcome addition to the iPhone 12’s camera, but it is not something that could be called a “new feature” – not when Android phones have had it for over 12 months. Still, Apple has a habit of really OWNING new features and making it its own, so perhaps this will happen with Time-of-Flight aboard the iPhone 12’s camera.
What is a Time-of-Flight Camera?
You know that bokeh-style effect where the background is blurred out in portrait shots? Well, Time-of-Flight is kind of like that… only the images it produces are vastly superior, as it uses its Time-of-Flight sensors and software to calculate distance more accurately, resulting in a sharper, more-realistic blur effect.
Time-of-Flight and other advancements to imaging, such as the advent and evolution of machine learning, are what will help smartphones close the gap on DSLRs in 2020 and beyond. If you think how far they’ve come in the last few years, it’s easy to imagine phones having better imaging capabilities that DSLRs by the mid-2020s.
All iPhone 12 Handsets Will To Carry OLED Displays?
Another interesting theory about Apple’s iPhone 12 range is that it could be the first series of iPhones to exclusively use OLED technology across the entire range – from the MAX model to the new XR and 12R models.
If true, this would signal the end of LCD Apple displays. Normally, OLED is revered for the most expensive phones. But with the iPhone 12, OLED could become the de facto display on ALL iPhone 12 models – even the budget option.
Could this happen? I don’t see why not; I mean, OLED panels are more or less standard now in the smartphone space. The fact that Apple has thus far gotten away with charging a premium for its OLED is, well… frankly a little odd. Even more so when you consider that you can grab an Android phone with an OLED panel for 50% less than the iPhone XS Max.
OLED is now no longer a flagship feature, and bringing OLED panels to ALL iPhone 12 units in 2020 would be a wise move on Apple’s part – especially if it makes a truly affordable iPhone in the form of the iPhone R12…
iPhone 12R Will NOT Replace iPhone XR Update
If you’re worried Apple’s iPhone XR is going somewhere in 2020, don’t be – Apple’s iPhone XR will get a refresh alongside the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max. However, Apple will add a fourth model to its line-up called the iPhone 12R, apparently.
The iPhone 12R – we expect this name to change, don’t worry – will be a true “budget” iPhone. And not budget in the Apple sense of the word, but actually cheap – think Google Pixel 3a money. Not much is known about this handset just yet, though it will likely be the biggest handset Apple ever releases if the price is right.
Why’s that? Simple: most people cannot afford, or refuse to pay, the money Apple demands for its phones. They’re too expensive; even the iPhone XR is very pricey. Savvy shoppers know they can get more value for money with an Android phone or, if they do want an iPhone, going the refurbished iPhone route (it’s 40% cheaper).
For this reason, if Apple released a sub-$500 smartphone, it would open itself up to potentially tens of millions of new customers. Hundreds of millions if you start looking outside the US and UK markets. And this is significant because it will aid growth for Apple’s iPhone market share and create even more revenue for the company via increased App Store purchases.
Haven’t We Been Here Before Though…
Yes, the idea of a “budget iPhone” is not new; analysts have been banging on about it for years. But 2020 would prove to be the most opportune time for it to actually happen. Why? Again, pretty simple: it would allow Apple to better compete with the likes of OPPO, Xiaomi, and Huawei – companies that are currently making a killing in the mid-range phone space.
And because the iPhone 12R would likely just be a recycled iPhone 8, or iPhone 8/iPhone X-hybrid, the cost of producing it, given that Apple already has most of the components, would be relatively low and this would ensure the handset still generates plenty of profit margin, despite its lower RRP.
The prospect of a truly affordable iPhone, for me, is the #1 most exciting thing about Apple’s 2020 plans. Forget OLED panels and Time-of-Flight cameras, what people REALLY want from Apple is value for money. If Apple can deliver that with the iPhone 12R, it’ll be making itself a lot of new friends inside 2020 and beyond…