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iPhone 12: What we know so far about September 2020 iPhone release

iPhone 12: What we know so far about September 2020 iPhone release
(Image credit: PhoneArena)

UPDATE 28 MAY: More details on the release of the iPhone 12 models have been leaked, throwing doubt on whether we'll be seeing the iPhone 12 any time soon. The annual Apple September event has been a highlight of the year for Apple enthusiasts for years now, but it looks like the tradition might be broken in 2020. 

A new report from Cowen investment bank suggests that the iPhone 12 series launch will be delayed by at least two months. This means that it will take place in November, rather than its usual September slot. There have been rumors circulating for a while that the iPhone 12 would be delayed in some way, but the last thing we heard was that some models would arrive on time, and some would be delayed.

This delay is likely mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic. GizChina explains that Apple orders most of its components from different Chinese, Taiwanese and other south-Asian companies. However, because of the closed borders and travel restrictions, Apple's employees weren't able to meet deadlines and the iPhone 12 has subsequently been delayed.

While this setback is likely to be a disappointment for anyone looking forward to getting their hands on some fresh iPhone tech, there is a silver lining to this news. There had been some speculation on whether only some of the iPhone 12 models would be capable of 5G. However, according to this report, it seems that all of the iPhone 12 units will be able to support 5G networks. 

While this is certainly great to hear, it's also worth keeping in mind that we've heard various rumors on how the iPhone 12 will incorporate 5G, and they all seem to conflict each other in some way – so take the above rumor with a pinch of salt. 

UPDATE 12 MAY: The iPhone 12 models have received a fresh set of leaks – and the information certainly looks exciting. Max Weinbach, an Apple leaker who shares rumors on the YouTube channel EverythingApplePro, has claimed that the iPhone 12 models will feature a 3x telephoto zoom lens (as opposed to the iPhone 11 Pro's 2x optical zoom), improved Smart HDR software, even better low-light performance, sensor-shift image stabilization and auto white balance improvements. 

According to Weinbach, there will also be a 2x to 3x boost in autofocus performance due to the LiDAR sensor that's rumored to be on both of the Pro models. However, while the iPhone 12 Pro models will apparently be receiving a bumper gift of new features, the base models might be slightly less impressive. The base iPhone 12 models will only have two rear cameras and will likely miss out on the LiDAR sensor and telephoto camera. However, apparently they will still have OLED displays.

Weinbach also advised that Apple will be adding a 120Hz Pro Motion display to the iPhone 12 Pro models, which would allow it to have refresh rates similar to the Samsung Galaxy S20. Apparently, Apple waited until this generation, as it didn't want a half-step like 90Hz. 

We could also be seeing a small update to the Face ID technology, with the Face ID sensor array getting smaller and being able to work at wider angles. This means that you might be able to unlock your phone while it's laying on your desk. There might also be an increase in the size of the iPhone 12 batteries as well, with the 6.7" iPhone rumored to have a battery over 4,400mAh to handle the additions of 5G and the 120Hz screen.

While these rumors are certainly exciting, we'll have to wait until the official announcement to see how many of them are correct, so make sure you take them with a pinch of salt for now!

ORIGINAL STORY:

With only a matter of months to go until Apple's traditional September iPhone launch event, the internet is already abuzz with rumors and speculation on what the iPhone 12 release is going to look like. With the 2019 iPhone 11 release leaving some feeling underwhelmed, will the iPhone 12 be able to amaze and impress just as the iPhone launches of the past did?

In the lead up to last year's iPhone 11 launch, there were plenty of whispers concerning 5G technology. Considering that other manufacturers had been producing 5G-capable phones for months, it felt like Apple had somewhat missed the boat when the iPhone 11 eventually came out sans 5G. 

• Read more: Best iPhone for photography

However, the good news is that it looks like the iPhone 12 will be getting the major update that Apple fans were expecting last year (better late than never, eh?). This includes at least one 5G capable model, new cameras, a new design and a new screen. 

When will the iPhone 12 be released?

Update 28 May: As mentioned above, it now seems likely that we'll be seeing the iPhone 12 arrive in November, rather than its usual launch date of September. However, this information comes from a sole report from Cowens banks, so we'll have to wait and see whether it's verified by a second source.

This is an interesting one. At present, it seems likely that we'll see four iPhone 12 models announced at the September 2020 launch event, rather than the traditional three models that we've grown to expect over the past few years. 

While it's almost certain that we'll see at least one iPhone 12 model launched in September 2020, there is speculation that we might not see at least one of the iPhone 12 models until 2021. This is apparently due to a mixture of issues, including perfecting the design of the mmWave antenna (a very vital aspect, considering that mmWave is notorious for delivering lightning-fast internet speeds, but also being prone to having its signal easily blocked). 

There's also the dark cloud of coronavirus looming over iPhone 12 production as well. We've heard reports that the iPhone 12 release dates could be staggered by model, with the smaller devices coming sooner after the launch and the larger ones arriving around a month later. 

With the combination of Apple's apparent teething pains with 5G technology and the coronavirus outbreak potentially disrupting production schedules, we wouldn't be surprised if a staggered release date is indeed the case. However, Apple has successfully launched the $399 iPhone SE in the middle of the Covid-19 lockdown.

How much will the iPhone 12 cost?

While we'll have to wait for September for official numbers, we can fairly confidently say that it'll be in line with current models. The iPhone 11 starts 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.

However, there is a possibility that adding 5G to the iPhone 12 might boost the price significantly – especially if this mysterious fourth is designed as an ultra-premium 5G-capable phone.

This render from PhoneArena suggests the top-of-the-range iPhone 12 Pro models will have increase the number of cameras from three to four. (Image credit: PhoneArena)

What will the iPhone 12 camera be like?

We've heard some tantalizing rumors about the iPhone 12 camera, and we can't wait until the September release to get some official specs. However, in the meantime, here are the most interesting rumors we've seen so far. 

The first is that we might see a 3D camera in some form in at least one of the iPhone 12 models. While there aren't any particularly clear details on this, it's something that's been mentioned in a few different rumors, so we wouldn't be surprised to see some kind of 3D camera feature come September. 

One of the most exciting rumors is that the iPhone 12 will have four rear lenses. The fourth addition is rumored to be the LiDAR scanner found on the iPad Pro 2020, which can accurately judge distances and depth. This time-of-flight camera would allow for improved augmented reality and Portrait mode.

We've also seen rumors that the iPhone 12 might have a 64MP main camera, which would be a massive upgrade from the 12MP currently seen on the iPhone 11. Whether or not this camera will involve some sort of pixel binning will remain to be seen. It's also been suggested that the iPhone 12 will have multiple lenses that support night mode shooting, and the ultra-wide lens could even have a dedicated macro mode.

Lastly, there has also been rumors that the top end iPhone 12 will get a new image stabilization technology entitled 'sensor-shift', which would allow the sensor to move in order to counteract camera shake. 

What will the iPhone 12 design be?

Apple is known for its beautifully designed technology, so we're expecting big things from the iPhone 12. One rumor has indicated that the iPhone 12 could return to a more angular design, as seen on the iPhone 5. Meanwhile, there's even a suggestion that one of the upcoming iPhone 12 models might lack the notch for the front-facing camera. 

This would mean that this camera would be embedded underneath the screen instead. This would be an exciting piece of technology, but expect this to hit your wallet hard if this rumor comes to fruition. Alternatively, other rumors suggest that Apple is developing new Face ID technology so that they can redesign (and even potentially minimize) the notch. 

There have also been rumors speculating that Apple could be equipping its next phones with an in-screen fingerprint scanner. Whether or not this would be alongside Face ID isn't clear, but we can't see Apple taking a step back from facial recognition technology now that it's so well ingrained in its iPhone line-up.

In terms of the iPhone 12 display, there have been some rumors that state we could see one or more of the 2020 iPhone models with a 120Hz refresh rate, up from 60Hz on current models. This could make interactions feel smoother when you're using the phone. We might also see all iPhone 12 models with an OLED screen, rather than only the more premium models as seen in the current iPhone 11 generation. 

And finally, we could see a slight change in the selection of sizes for the new iPhone 12 models. One analyst has claimed that we could see a 6.7-inch phone, a 5.4-inch phone and two 6.1-inch phones. 

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