The annual refresh of the iPhone is one of the biggest events in tech: it’s the phone that many aspire to own, one that sets trends and the phone that all others are looking to better.
While leaks and rumours are nothing new to the tech world, getting information about new Apple devices is fairly rare. They don’t tend to leak as comprehensively as a Samsung or Google phone – but we’re gathering up everything we hear about the new iPhone right here.
We’ve also got a separate round-up for the iPhone 5G talking about when a fully 5G iPhone may or may not appear. We believe that the iPhone 12 will have 5G, but there is a chance it may be restricted to, say, the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max rather than being available on all devices.
Apple iPhone 12 release date
- September 2020
Typically Apple holds its iPhone event in the second week of September and normally on a Tuesday. The company followed the same pattern for the 2019 iPhones – announcing them on 10 September 2019.
If the company follows suit again in 2020, we’d expect 8 September 2020 to be a good bet for the launch event of the iPhone 2020.
One unknown is around the spread of coronavirus and the effect it could have on new tech launches later in the year – including the iPhone 12.
Because of travel restrictions and reduced production capacity, it’s very unclear how the current global situation will affect things. There have been a few rumours suggesting a month delay meaning a late October launch, but the truth is it’s a complete unknown at present.
What will the iPhone 2020 be called?
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 Max
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
Pre-2017, it was pretty easy to predict what the next iPhone would be called. Following the iPhone 3G up to the iPhone 8, Apple used sequential numbers and that was that.
Whether there will be separate naming for 5G models, it’s hard to tell, but we suspect not. There could be an additional model added, leading to an iPhone 12 Max too.
This could also be an iPhone 5G sitting further up the range alternatively. It seems likely we are going to get four phones though.
Apple iPhone 12 design
- All new design
- Squarer edges?
The Apple iPhone 12 models are reported to be coming with a new design, according to rumours. It’s not yet clear what the design might be – though some renders show squarer edges compared to the rounded edges we have been used to since the iPhone 6. Supply chain sources have suggested that the phones will be slightly larger, due to larger displays, but thinner overall than the 2019 models.
We’re hoping to see a reduced notch for the 2020 models – or no notch at all – and we hope the frosted matte glass rear from the 11 Pro models returns as it is beautiful in the flesh. There has been a patent filed for a notch-less phone, but how Face ID would be accommodated remains a puzzle.
Rumours are actually saying that there will be four iPhone models – two sizes for the Pro and two sizes for the regular model – meaning a wider range of price points, and potentially a cheaper entry point.
Apple iPhone 12 displays
- All OLED
- 120Hz refresh rate
- Different sizes
Rumours suggest that all 2020 iPhones will have an OLED display. Currently, the iPhone 11 has an LCD display, while the Pro models have OLED. There’s also reports of a variable refresh rate with a 120Hz refresh rate reported that can drop down to 60hz when necessary.
Apparently we might get a 5.4-inch model, a 6.1-inch model and a 6.7-inch in place of the 5.8-inch, 6.1-inch and 6.5-inch models we have at the moment. There may be two versions of the 6.1-inch handset, one a standard iPhone 12 and the other an iPhone 12 Pro.
Some speculation also suggests in-display fingerprint sensors although we think that’s probably innacurate.
Apple iPhone 12 cameras
- 3D Depth cameras
- Night Mode improvements likely
There have also been predictions of a quad camera on the iPhone 12 Pro Max, with a ToF sensor or Lidar sensor as in the 2020 iPad Pro. However, the general consensus is for there to be a triple camera again but yes, with a new sensor. As well as portrait mode, the new sensor will also help with ARKit apps.
We also expect to see more improvements to Night Mode and it’s predicted that Apple might be adding a 3D-sensing laser array to make Portrait mode even better.
For the front camera, it’s been reported that Face ID will have a wider field-of-view.
Apple iPhone 12 hardware and software
- A14 chip
- iOS 14
Most reports suggest Apple will adopt 5G connectivity for the iPhone 12. Reports are suggesting that all models will have a 5G option and Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon has said that getting 5G into the iPhone is now a priority. Qualcomm has recently announced the X60 modem and a new antenna – more on that below.
The most likely scenario at present – we think – is that the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max will be 5G. Whether the standard iPhone 12 will be is more of a debate and will unlikely still be an unknown as we approach September.
We expect to see the A14 chip under the hood of the iPhone 12 models, with all offering the same hardware and we expect to see them all launch on iOS 14, which we will likely hear more about at Apple’s developer event in June.
We also expect all three models to feature the U1 chip – which brings enhanced short-range location and sharing.
Apple iPhone 12 rumours: What’s happened so far
Here’s everything we’ve heard about the iPhone 12 models so far.
19 May 2020 – A massive leak of screen specs
The leaky supply chain has revealed all the iPhone 12 display specs. The entry-level 5.4-inch iPhone 12 will have a 2,340 x 1,080 resolution LCD display and then there will be a 6.1-inch 2,532 x 1,170 pixel version with OLED as well.
The iPhone 12 Pro will have the same size and resolution display as the 6.1-inch handset we mentioned above though it’ll be a 10-bit panel to support HDR. The 6.7-inchiPhone 12 Pro Max will have a 2,778 x 1,284 resolution.
11 May 2020 – More battery and Face ID details
A late April leak suggests the iPhone 12 Pro displays will have a 120Hz refresh rate, with the ability to switch down to 60Hz dynamically to conserve battery life. It’s said there will be a 4,400mAh battery to maintain the current level of battery life. Finally, it’s said that Face ID will have a wider field-of-view and the rear camera will have an improved zoom.
27 April 2020: iPhone 12 delayed?
The Wall Street Journal cited a source who suggested that the iPhone 12 launch will take place around a month later than usual because of delays to the supply chain caused by the global situation at present. That would mean a late October launch for the phone itself.
20 April 2020: iPhone 12 will introduce a smaller notch
Several reports recently have suggested the iPhone 12 will have a smaller notch, yet all the Face ID sensors will be present. This would essentially only mean that the speaker is moved upwards into the bezel of the phone, as it has been on many Android devices.
13 April 2020: Four new iPhones incoming?
According to Bloomberg, Apple is working on four new iPhones -could there be a specific iPhone 5G? The company is reportedly redesigning the iPhone Pro models of the series so that they have flatter screen edges, despite other analysts saying the screen edges would remain curved.
8 April 2020: Leaked image suggests iPhone 12 Pro will have LiDAR sensor
It looks like the iPhone 12 will have a triple camera but add a LiDAR sensor, just like the new iPad Pro. This will improve AR capabilities as well as photography. Alongside it, there will be regular, ultra-wide and telephoto as with the iPhone 11 Pro.
12 March 2020: Apple might put a 3D-sensing camera on the back of the next iPhone
Apple’s apparently been exploring the possibility of putting a 3D sensor system on its phones for a couple of years, but the iPhone 12 could be the one to actually get it, according to reports. Whether this would look like a quad-camera unit or be more subtle is unclear, but either way it could allow for better Portrait Mode performance and augmented reality.
9 March 2020: The iPhone 12 Pro camera reportedly has a 64-megapixel sensor
With the new Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra boasting a 108-megapixel sensor, the iPhone 11 Pro camera 12-megapixel cameras are now looking a little paltry. A 64-megapixel sensor will be used in the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max it seems, while there will be upgrades for the other two lenses (yes, a triple camera again). However, a Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensor will also be added.
18 February 2020: Is this the iPhone 12 Pro 5G modem?
Apple partner Qualcomm debuted its latest X60 5G modem. While it’ll be destined for stacks of flagship phones in 2021, it could end up being inside the iPhone 12 Pro.
After years of legal issues, Qualcomm and Apple struck a deal early last year so we know that some tech inside the first 5G iPhone will be Qualcomm-based.
21 January 2020: The standard iPhone 12 will be thinner and bigger than the iPhone 11
Supply chain sources are suggesting that the 2020 iPhone design won’t change hugely, but the phones will be getting thinner than the 2019 models, but perhaps slightly larger, with larger displays.
31 December 2019: It looks like the iPhone 12 won’t have a notch
Patents files by Apple have appeared for a notch-free phone, but it does raise the question of how Apple will offer Face ID if there’s no space for the needed hardware.
5 December 2019: Report suggests four iPhone 12 models
A report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims there will be four iPhone 12 models in 2020. From the same report comes the detail that in 2021, Apple will ditch all physical connection to the phone.
5 December 2019: Qualcomm CEO says 5G iPhone a priority
The CEO of Qualcomm, Cristiano Amon, has said that one of Qualcomm’s priorities in its relationship with Apple will be to get a 5G iPhone launched as soon as it can.
30 October 2019: Apple 5G iPhone 12 plans ramped up, with three models tipped for 2020
Nikkei Asian Review has claimed Apple is in talks with mobilisation suppliers to produce a range of three iPhones with 5G data connectivity in 2020.
If true, it would mean the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max should all be 5G enabled.
28 October 2019: iPhone 12 said to come with 120Hz OLED display
According to sources in China, Apple will use 120Hz screen technology on its 2020 iPhone 12 models, which is the same refresh rate it currently uses on the iPad Pro models.
While 90Hz screens are becoming more popular on smartphones with OnePlus and Google both adopting them – 120Hz refresh rates are more rare, with only the Razor 2 and Asus ROG II devices featuring the higher refresh rate for now.
30 September 2019: Latest Apple iPhone 12 renders show no notch for the Pro models
Ben Geskin produced some more renders showing what the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max could look like if the notch disappears and Face ID is integrated into the bezel above the display, as well as squarer edges, like the iPhone 4.