iPhone 12 is supposed to be a blowout upgrade. But COVID-19 could change that

Apple's iPhone 12 lineup

This year, Apple introduced four iPhones, ranging from the iPhone 12 Mini to the iPhone 12 Pro Max.


Apple

This story is part of Apple Event, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple headquarters.

Apple’s iPhone 12 family hits the market at an extraordinary time — with the coronavirus pandemic leaving tens of millions of people out of jobs and kicking off a recession that has thrown everything into a state of uncertainty. The new phones feature a boxier look, a magnetic attachment called MagSafe and, yes, super-fast 5G, but the price tag of these typically premium gadgets may be more important than ever. 

Rivals have already responded to the economic and health crisis. Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S20 FE, a budget phone with high-end specs wrapped in a plastic housing that helps push its price down to $700 from the $1,000 price tag for its standard cousin. Google cut the price of its flagship Pixel 5 by $100 from the previous year’s model to $699. 

On Tuesday, Apple announced its $699 iPhone 12 Mini, a handset the company says is the smallest 5G phone in the world. The Mini is nearly identical to the iPhone 12, only with a 5.4-inch screen, compared to the larger one’s 6.1-inch screen. Both have the same new, sharper screen technology, “ceramic shield” screen protector system, faster A14 Bionic processing chip, and the new MagSafe charging and accessories system.

A smaller phone for the same price may come across as a price hike, which is likely why Verizon and Apple are offering that people can turn in phones as old as 2017’s iPhone X and buy the $699 iPhone 12 Mini

iPhone 12 with 5G, HomePod Mini and more: Everything Apple just announced

2020-10-13-11-06-15

Apple/Screenshot by Sarah Tew/CNET

This story is part of Apple Event, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple headquarters.

Another year, another iPhone. (Did I say that last year?) This is the iPhone’s last year of tweendom before it hits teenhood: Apple announced its four-model iPhone 12 line on Tuesday, the first major revamp of the iPhone’s design since 2017’s iPhone X, which introduced face unlocking and better screen technology. This year they sport an array of colors, more models and 5G wireless support across the lineup. In addition to the HomePod Mini smart speaker, we were treated to the MagSafe wireless charging system for the iPhone and a stealth release of the $50 Beats Flex wireless headphones.

Here’s how you order iPhone 12, Mini, Pro and Pro Max models, on different days and at different prices.

Apple’s late to the 5G party (if you can call it “late” when the party’s just started), and incorporating the new wireless tech poses potential problems for Apple, but it could still be a big win for the company and carriers. And experts are already worrying about the new design’s affect on repairability, given that Apple already ranks pretty low on that score.

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg came out to talk about the iPhone on its 5G Ultra Wideband network and its expansion plans, including turning on its nationwide 5G network. The iPhone 12 has a custom antenna design and, according to Apple, a boatload of testing. All models support mmWave 5G, at least in the US.

Apple updated its wireless charging with MagSafe for iPhone, a new charging coil design with a magnet that

iPhone 12 and 12 Pro 5G: Apple unveils super-speedy new phone lineup

screen-shot-2020-10-13-at-1-46-59-pm-2.png

Apple’s new iPhone 12 — including its premium Pro model, pictured here — pack in 5G connectivity.


Apple; screenshot by CNET

This story is part of Apple Event, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple headquarters.

Apple’s iPhones just got a lot faster. During its virtual event Tuesday, the company unveiled its iPhone 12 lineup — and all four new devices come with 5G, including the ultra-fast millimeter wave version. The company’s 5.4-inch iPhone 12 Mini, 6.1-inch iPhone 12, 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Max pack in some of the biggest advances Apple has made in years. 

The two middle phones go on sale next week (preorders begin this Friday), while the Mini and Max arrive in mid-November. The starting prices range from $699 for the Mini — making it one of the cheapest premium 5G phones on the market — to $1,099 for the Max. All international versions of the iPhone come with 5G, but only the US versions have mmWave (Verizon has been the technology’s main proponent). 

The entire iPhone 12 lineup features a new design, reminiscent of Apple’s iPad Pro tablets. The flatter sides give the iPhones a new feel for the first time in three years. All models come with a new, ultra-strong, Corning-designed front cover display, dubbed “ceramic shield.”  It’s “tougher than any smartphone glass,” Apple said, and is four times less likely to crack if you drop it. The new phones come with Apple’s updated A14 Bionic, the same chip that’s in the new iPad Air. They also get bumps in their camera capabilities

Read: Our first impressions of the iPhone 12,

Apple iPhone 12 Pro’s four cameras aim at serious photographers

Apple’s iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini add significant new photography features, but camera hardware and computational photography software on the higher-end iPhone 12 Pro models really show how hard Apple is working to attract photo and video enthusiasts.



a close up of a camera: Apple's iPhone 12 Pro phones get new camera abilities, including a bigger image sensor, a faster main camera lens, improved image stabilization, a lidar sensor for low-light autofocus and a longer-reach telephoto lens on the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET


© Provided by CNET
Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro phones get new camera abilities, including a bigger image sensor, a faster main camera lens, improved image stabilization, a lidar sensor for low-light autofocus and a longer-reach telephoto lens on the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Among the changes in the iPhone 12 Pro models are new abilities to fuse multiple frames into one superior shot and a lidar sensor for improved autofocus. The iPhone 12 Pro Max also gets a larger sensor for better low-light performance on the main camera, a telephoto camera that zooms in better on distant subjects and better stabilization to counteract your shaky hands.

iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, Pro and Pro Max explained

UP NEXT

UP NEXT

The iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max debuted at Apple’s iPhone 12 launch event Tuesday. The iPhone 12 (from $799, £799, AU$1,349) and 12 Mini (from $699, £699, AU$1,199) stick to last year’s design, with regular, ultrawide and selfie cameras. 

Loading...

Load Error

The bigger photography improvements come with the 12 Pro (from $999, £999, AU$1,699) and 12 Pro Max (from $1,099, £1,099, AU$1,849), which get a larger image sensor and a fourth telephoto camera for more distant subjects, too. The iPhone 12 Pro has the same 2X zoom telephoto reach as earlier iPhones — a 52mm equivalent focal length — but the 12 Pro Max’s extends to 2.5X zoom, or a 65mm equivalent lens.

Cameras are one of the most important features on a new smartphone along with processor

Apple iPhone 12 Gets a Tentative Thumbs Up From Wall Street

Apple’s  (AAPL) – Get Report much-anticipated iPhone 12 lineup revealed Tuesday received a generally tentative set of upward thumbs from Wall Street analysts, who praised the advent of 5G and the pricing of the handsets but were slightly more suspect of how much demand there will be for the new models.

Apple on Tuesday unveiled four different iPhone models, including the iPhone 12 mini, a 5.4-inch model starting at $699; a 6.1-inch device starting at $799, a 6.1-inch Pro model starting at $999, and a 6.7-inch pro model starting at $1,099.

Apple also introduced its HomePod Mini smart speaker, which includes a touch panel on its top for play/pause and volume options, along with a light-up display to indicate use of the Siri assistant.

“The pricing dynamics are the killer app for the phone launch,” Piper Sandler analyst Harsh Kumar wrote in a note to clients. “Pricing was lower than our expectation, which is important in the current global pandemic.”

“iPhone 12 mini hits the magic $699 price point,” Loup Ventures’ Gene Munster wrote on Twitter. “That’s a big deal and slightly expands iPhone’s addressable market. This is the first time in 7 years (iPhone 5S) that smaller form factor is part of flagship lineup.”

Wedbush Securities’ Daniel Ives also expressed optimism that the pricing lineup would be enough to convince current iPhone owners to upgrade, noting that “350 million of 950 million iPhones worldwide are currently in the window of an upgrade opportunity,” which he believes will “translate into an unprecedented upgrade cycle,” particularly in China.

Goldman Sachs analyst Rod Hall also was impressed with the iPhone lineup additions, noting in his own research note that Apple’s iPhone event had a “few unexpected twists,” including the introduction of the iPhone 12 mini and Magsafe charging, though he