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!
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. 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, XS, XS Max, and XR. 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.
If it made them ALL the same, save for camera tech and display type, no one would buy the iPhone XS Max. What’s more likely is that the iPhone 12 XS Max will feature a more advanced camera and more storage options. That way, Apple can charge more and it keeps its models nicely differentiated.
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.
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 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 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 phone’s 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…