What’s the Deal with the iPhone 12?
13th October 2020: Apple announces its new iPhone 12 range.
Have we already met?
From the iPhone 6 onwards, Apple has opted for variations on essentially the same rounded edge overall shape. There was nothing especially wrong with this shape and all these iPhones were good-looking phones.
But many people couldn’t help but miss the flat-sided design introduced with the iPhone 4 and continued with the 4S, 5 and 5S.
That Jony Ive design is widely acknowledged, even by Android fans, as an absolute classic of industrial design.
It was resurrected for the first-generation iPhone SE and somehow did not seem to have aged. Hold it in your hand and it just feels wonderfully good, for reasons which it might be difficult to fully explain.
Well, now you don’t have to buy an old phone to experience that joy, because the entire new iPhone 12 range has adopted that classic design.
Rounded sides are out. And back in is the distinctively solid, flat-sided reassurance of the classic iPhone 4. Perhaps some designs are so right that attempts to improve upon them are doomed to failure.
OLED is taking over. Goodbye LCD.
Previously reserved for the Pro iPhones, OLED screens will be standard on all the iPhone 12 models.
OLED displays do not have to be backlit. This makes them capable of much deeper blacks than LCD displays, which really beefs up the Wow factor for a premium new smartphone.
Mini is now mainstream
Remember when Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone and sought to impress us all with its “giant” 3.5 inch screen?
Remember when some people laughed at the ridiculously huge 5.3 inch screen of the first Samsung Galaxy Note?
Well those days are long gone now and screens of 6 inches or more have long since become the new normal.
Apple followed this trend for bigger phones. But it didn’t forget those loyal customers who liked their small phones. It kept them happy with the original iPhone SE — essentially an iPhone 5S, but with updated internals.
And now, with the iPhone 12 series, Apple’s mini phones are going upmarket, because alongside the 6.1 inch iPhone 12, the 6.1 inch iPhone 12 Pro and the 6.7 inch iPhone 12 Pro Max, there’s also a 5.4 inch iPhone 12 mini.
The iPhone 12 mini is not a special edition ‘budget’ phone, like the original iPhone SE was. It’s a fully paid up member of the premium iPhone 12 family. And with an edge-to-edge display, it features a much larger display than similarly sized mini phones of the past.
Expect to see a mini iPhone at the annual iPhone event from now on.
What does this mean for the iPhone SE? Now that Apple’s main iPhone has a mini version, it’s possible that, in the future, instead of introducing new SE models, Apple may simply discount the price of its previous generation iPhone mini. So, next year, when the iPhone 13 range is released, the iPhone 12 mini will be discounted and the SE may disappear from Apple’s line up.
But whether this happens or not may depend on how expensive those OLED displays are, compared to the old LCD displays used in the SE range. To keep costs down, Apple may wish to continue using LED screens in its more wallet-friendly phones. And if that’s the case, it may continue to produce special edition ‘SE’ phones with those cheaper LCD displays.
5G is here
Apple was a little slow with making phones compatible with 5G networks, but all its iPhone 12 models will now have 5G capabilities.
Note that processor. It’s very important.
As usual, the new iPhones come with a new, faster, more efficient processor — in this case, the A14.
It’s unsurprising, but that doesn’t make it unimportant. For whilst outward design changes and 5G capability may get most of the attention, it is Apple’s relentless pursuit of chip design excellence that has been central to maintaining its advantage over its competitors.
The A14, created with a new 5nm process, looks set to extend that advantage even further.
And that’s especially important this year more than any other, because Apple is about to launch new Macs, which will be powered, not by Intel, but by Apple’s own ARM-based A-series processors, just as it already uses in its iPhones and iPads.
The A-14 processor, or a variant of it, may be about to permanently change the face of laptop and desktop computing, as well as being the clear top dog in the world of smartphones.
Watch this space. Big things are about to happen — perhaps as soon as next month. Thanks for reading!