The iPhone 12 is coming in 2020, and it may be a big change to Apple’s flagship smartphone. After a limited update with the iPhone 11 series, the first flagship Apple phone of a new decade does seem to be the perfect opportunity for a shake up.
Why does Apple need to change things with the iPhone 12? The iPhone 11 range focused on camera tweaks and upping the power inside, but these were modest upgrades on the iPhone XS series.
We’ve already seen Apple unveil the ‘budget iPhone’ this year in the form of the iPhone SE, but it’s almost certain the company will bring a new flagship series toward the end of the year. So what will that encompass? We’re starting to get a clearer picture.
If you’re excited about iPhone 12 leaks and rumors, you’re in luck. There are lots, and we’ve already heard details about the potential price, the iPhone 12 design, how many models there will be, 5G connectivity and much more.
We’ve combed through all the latest leaks and rumors about the new iPhone, and we’ve put together the most likely ones below. TechRadar has been monitoring the iPhone rumor mill since day one, so we’re well placed to give you the fullest picture of what to expect from your next iPhone.
Latest iPhone 12 news: No matter what model of the iPhone 12 you buy, you’ll likely get 5G. That’s what the latest rumor says, and it suggests you’ll only get the top-end 5G connectivity technology if you opt for the top-end phones. You can find more in the 5G section below.
iPhone 12: cut to the chase
- What is it? The new iPhone family from Apple
- When is it out? Probably September 2020
- What will it cost? We’re expecting over $700 / £700
iPhone 12 release date: will it be delayed?
There isn’t any official iPhone 12 release date information available yet. We’re almost certain the phone (or phones) will appear in 2020 though as Apple launches its new phones almost metronomically.
Firstly, the new iPhone release date will probably be in September 2020 – and it’s always around the second week of the month. It’s almost always unveiled on a Tuesday too, so we’d put our money on it being revealed on September 8, 2020.
There’s always the chance it may be pushed back to September 15 too as it isn’t always the second week of the month.
We’d predict that you’ll be able to pick it up 10 days after that, so you’ll need a Friday off work if you’re desperate to get your hands on one. That said, there’s a chance that the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on the production of the next iPhone may push things back.
Other phones we expect to see in 2020:
We had heard that development would be unaffected, and there are even now reports that the main manufacturing factories are fully staffed up. Plus, an exec at Foxconn (the main manufacturer of the iPhone) has said that company aims and hopes to make up for lost ground.
But elsewhere there are reports that the phone will be delayed until October or November, with Apple apparently not even having finalized the design in late March 2020. Some sources even say it could slip into 2021 with Reuters also claiming a delay could be likely.
So what is going to happen? No-one knows for certain yet, but there’s a strong possibility that the iPhone 12 release date may be staggered by model. This is something said by respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who says it would likely be the larger models of the phone that would come later than September.
As of April 2020, the most recent news on this subject comes from a report in The Wall Street Journal, which states that production of the iPhone 12 has been delayed by around a month.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that the release date of the range will also be delayed as the company may find a way to make up for lost time, but we’d think there’s a significant chance that it will be.
iPhone 12 price
When it comes to the iPhone 12 price, it’s likely to stay broadly in line with the current models. For reference, the iPhone 11 started at $699 / £729 / AU$1,199, the iPhone 11 Pro starts at $999 / £1,049 / AU$1,749, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max starts at $1,099 / £1,149 / AU$1,899.
That’s backed up by rumors too, with a leak suggesting that the iPhone 12 Pro will start at $999 (and likely therefore £1,049 / AU$1,749), while the iPhone 12 Pro Max will start at $1,099 (likely £1,149 / AU$1,899).
However, things are a bit different at the bottom of the range, with the most direct iPhone 11 successor (the 6.1-inch iPhone 12) apparently starting at $749 – so $50 more than the iPhone 11. But then there’s also said to be a new 5.4-inch iPhone 12 model that will start at $649 – so $50 less than the iPhone 11.
Having said all that, one report suggests that the cost of materials for the iPhone 12 range might go up, which could mean even higher prices at retail.
iPhone 12 name
First things first: we’re pretty confident the 2020 Apple phones will be called the iPhone 12 series. It’s likely not to be the 11S or similar, and that’s mostly thanks to an industry analyst (with a great track record) saying as such.
That’s why we’re calling it the iPhone 12 throughout this article, even though Apple hasn’t confirmed this name. Others might be calling it the iPhone 2020 or the ‘new iPhone’ – but we’re not thinking that will be the moniker Apple plumps for.
That said, Apple may surprise us with a whole new name entirely so that may be subject to change in the future.
Before we get started on the rest of the leaks and rumors, it’s important to note that we expect there to be four versions of the iPhone 12. Unlike the last two years where we’ve seen three models, lots of consistent and recent leaks suggest there will be four models.
iPhone 12 design
So far, leaks suggest the iPhone 12 is set to get a very different design but it’s likely going to take elements we’ve seen on previous iPhone models and use them here. Remember the iPhone 4? You may recognize some of the elements.
First off, you’ll have four sizes to choose from. According to the most recent information on models, there will be the below:
- iPhone 12 with a 5.4-inch display
- iPhone 12 with a 6.1-inch display
- iPhone 12 Pro with a 6.1-inch display
- iPhone 12 Pro Max with a 6.7-inch display
That offers a larger screen size for those who don’t want to spend lots on an iPhone 12 Pro model, and essentially means you’ll have the choice of two devices are each of the price points.
Jon Prosser – a Twitter leaker who proved to have consistently correct information on the iPhone SE and MacBook Pro 13 – this information is correct and you can see some of the specs below.
Prototyping for iPhone 12 devices is just about finalized!Final details line up pretty well with what Kuo said last year! 🤯Expect to see CAD renders of the devices within the next month or two from your favorite leakers! 👀Now let’s see if Apple can get them out by EOY! pic.twitter.com/nAfA7JHMx2April 6, 2020
Consistent leaks have suggested the iPhone 12 will have a metal frame, and the most trusted source before Prosser was Apple analyst Ming-Ch Kuo. The rear of all four phones is is still expected to be made of glass, but the edges are expected to be more squared than the rounded ones on current models.
Prosser’s information suggests it’ll be aluminum used on the iPhone 12, while the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max will come with a stainless steel body.
Some sources speaking to Bloomberg claim similar, and they make comparisons to the design of the iPad Pro, saying that the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max will have flat stainless steel edges, more sharply rounded corners, and flat screens.
The reports above also point to smaller notches on all four rumored models, which is something we’ve heard consistently since new Face ID technology was first rumored in October 2019.
You should still expect a notch at the top of the phone’s display, but it looks like it’ll be a lot smaller than before but won’t be drastically different to previous models.
One of the upcoming phones might even lack a notch according to analysts, with the front-facing camera potentially set to be embedded under the screen instead. If this happens we’d expect it to be the most expensive iPhone 12 model that has this feature – likely the iPhone 12 Pro Max, or whatever it launches as.
One report has also suggested Face ID will be dropped entirely in favor of an under screen fingerprint scanner, though this seems unlikely.
This would be a big change for the brand, since current models don’t have a fingerprint scanner at all. That said, if the camera really is in-screen then it might not be possible to have all the Face ID sensors, so it could be that this fingerprint scanner will replace Face ID, though we’re not convinced Apple would go that far.
iPhone 12 colors
As for the iPhone 12 colors, we’ve heard a rumor that Apple will be debuting a navy blue on its top-end models. Reports say the Midnight Green color that debuted on the iPhone 11 Pro sold beyond Apple’s expectations, so it may decide to keep that or it may be replaced in the lineup by this navy shade.
The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max were available in Space Gray, Silver and Gold alongside the Midnight Green. Those shades may remain for the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, but we’ve yet to hear any firm evidence those colors will return.
As for the standard iPhone 12, we’re expecting a similar pastel range to the iPhone 11. That phone is available in Black, Green, Yellow, Purple, Red and White, so you should probably expect some of those colors to return for 2020’s device.
iPhone 12 display
We’ve touched upon display a little bit above and the four different models you can expect in 2020, but here we’re going to dive into the rumors about the tech for the screens being used.
The iPhone 11 features an LCD display, while the iPhone 11 Pro features OLED technology. That may allow for a far stronger screen on the standard iPhone 12 models, although we don’t yet have any clear details on the resolution you can expect from any of the four phone’s displays.
Another source has said that the two Pro models will use a form of OLED that’s both thinner and cheaper to produce than the screens used in the iPhone 11 Pro range. That could mean lower prices, but we wouldn’t count on it.
One or more 2020 iPhone models might also have a 120Hz refresh rate, up from 60Hz on current models. This – which has been rumored by a reputable leaker – could make interactions feel smoother.
This is a claim we’ve now heard more than once, and some phones already have higher refresh rates than 60Hz, as do some iPads, so this isn’t unbelievable. That’s especially true as top-end phones like the Samsung Galaxy S20 and OnePlus 8 Pro now feature the tech too.
We’ve also heard that at least some iPhone 12 models could have thinner, cheaper and more energy-efficient screens than the iPhone 11 range. This in turn may allow the phones themselves to be thinner, as well as lasting longer between charges.
iPhone 12 5G
Another big change could take the form of 5G, which has been widely rumored for the iPhone 12 as many of its competitors now sport the technology. Back in July 2019, Kuo predicted that all models will support 5G.
At the time, we only expected this feature to come to one model in the iPhone 12 range but it now looks like it’ll be on all four devices. Prosser has suggested as much in his specs that he learned from a source at Apple.
The big caveat here is that the base iPhone 12 models may not support mmWave 5G technology. It’s expected this will be a feature reserved for the two top-end models, so those on carriers like Verizon in the US will have to opt for those.
iPhone 12 specs
How are these phones going to power 5G connectivity? One rumor suggests it’ll have a custom-made 5G antenna alongside a 5nm A14 Bionic processor.
What that means for the average consumer is an iPhone with an even longer battery life and more power than ever. That would be rather impressive, given the iPhone battery life is currently the best we’ve ever seen from Apple.
The RAM could also get a boost, with analysts claiming that the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max will have 6GB of the stuff, up from 4GB on their predecessors – though the standard iPhone 12 will apparently stick with 4GB. This is something we’ve now heard again, so it may well be true.
The chipset seems ready to wow too, as an A14 Bionic leaked benchmark showed it had a single-core and multi-score score that was ahead of the Snapdragon 865, the processor we’ve seen in almost all Android flagships in 2020.
And the iPhone 12 might also support the new 802.11ay specification, which could allow it to share content at speeds of at least 20-30Gbps. So in every sense this phone is likely to be fast.
Battery capacity is an unknown at the moment for the iPhone 12 range. One rumor from late 2019 suggested that Apple may be using a smaller battery protection module for the iPhone 12 that would allow it to pack in a larger cell.
Whether that happens or not is currently unknown, and we may not even know that until someone manages to get one to do a teardown on the exact internals of the new iPhone.
iPhone 12 camera
The iPhone 12 might also get a camera upgrade, with a laser-powered 3D camera rumored for inclusion. This would be on the back, and while only one rumor mentions lasers, another also talks about a depth-sensing snapper, while one mentions 3D sensing, so this might well be something we see in some form.
We’ve also now seen a leaked sketch showing four rear lenses on the iPhone 12 Pro. This sketch supposedly came from a build of iOS 14 and is backed up by lots of sources.
Three of the lenses look like those on the iPhone 11 Pro, if perhaps slightly bigger, but the new fourth lens looks like the LiDAR scanner found on the iPad Pro 2020. This can accurately judge distances and therefore depth, so it’s in line with the rumors above and would allow for improved augmented reality and Portrait mode.
What should Apple work on?
Mark Wilson, Cameras Editor for TechRadar, says, “The iPhone 11 and 11 Pro’s cameras gave us great new shooting options, but what I’d really like to see on the iPhone 12 is Apple ramping up the quality on those ultra-wide and telephoto lenses.
“Both of those have smaller sensors and slower apertures than the main camera, and can struggle in lower light. It’d be great to see Night Mode available in all shooting situations and also a brighter lens on the ultra-wide with optical image stabilization.
“I’d also love to see Apple’s take on the periscope lens design we’ve seen from Samsung, Huawei and Oppo for a boost in optical zoom, though we may have to wait a bit longer for that.”
We’ve since heard specific mention of a LiDAR scanner being included on the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max (alongside three lenses), while the basic iPhone 12 is said to have two camera lenses and no LiDAR scanner. These claims have been made by multiple sources.
Elsewhere, one source says the iPhone 12 might have a 64MP main camera, over the 12MP snapper on the previous few versions, which would be a huge upgrade. This leak also suggests that the phone will have multiple lenses that support night mode shooting, and the ultra-wide snapper could have a dedicated macro mode.
Another report from Fast Company cites sources close to production of the phone and says these same features are in development. One of the sources for this rumor claims the two top models would get this, along with a triple-lens camera, while the two lower end ones would just get a dual-lens camera without 3D sensing.
Elsewhere, we’ve heard that the top end iPhone 12 (likely the iPhone 12 Pro Max) will get a new image stabilization tech called ‘sensor-shift’, which would allow the sensor to move in order to counteract camera shake.
A recent EU ruling may also mean future iPhones won’t be able to use Lightning cables in Europe. That may force Apple to switch the connector on future phones to USB-C, and while it’s not clear yet whether this will be the case for the iPhone 12 it may be something to consider.
Another report from Chinese publication Caifa news also suggests Apple and other manufacturers may soon use GaN power adapters. These are currently used by Xiaomi, and allow for fast-charging speeds up to 65 watts.
There’s no gurantee this will debut on the iPhone 12 – or any future iPhone for that matter – but it may mean we see an improved fast-charging experience along the line.
iPhone 12 software
Apple’s big software developer conference is set to start on June 22. It’s called WWDC 2020 and it’s expected to be the event where we first hear about iOS 14, which is likely to debut on the new iPhone.
It’s also likely to come to your existing handset, but the iPhone 12 will be where it originates and it’s likely to come with a few major upgrades over iOS 13.
That said, little is actually rumored about iOS 14 so far. There are rumors of a new Fitness App that will come to iPhone, Apple Watch and Apple TV that allows you to watch fitness related videos on your phone.
iMessage is heavily rumored to be getting some upgrades too with an ability to tag people – with an @ sign like you can do on other messaging platforms like Slack – as well as a way to delete your messages after you’ve sent them.
Should I wait for the iPhone 12?
The iPhone 12 release date is still around half a year away, if the September 2020 launch window stays constant, so you should probably consider the iPhone 11 series if you need a new iPhone in the next few days, weeks or even months.
If you need a new top-tier Apple phone now, you’re looking at the iPhone 11 or the higher-spec iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone 11 Pro Max. Here are the best prices in your region:
Want to know what we want to see from the iPhone 12? Head on over to the next page to find out.