In a duel for headlines with Amazon and Prime Day, Apple has finally announced its new iPhone 12 line. From 5G to MagSafe, there was a lot to cover so here are the most important things you should know.
There are four phones to choose from.
Just as the rumors suggested, this year's suite of iPhones is a family of four. There is the vanilla iPhone 12, which is roughly the same size as last year's iPhone 11. Then there's it's smaller sibling, the iPhone 12 mini, which sports all the same features in a body that's only marginally larger than the old iPhone 5.
On the higher end there are two familiarly sized Pros: the iPhone 12 Pro, which sports a stainless steel body and more impressive suite of cameras, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which sports all the same pro features in addition to a larger camera sensor, which improves its low-light photography performance.
The prices and preorder dates are as follows:
- iPhone 12 Mini: $699, preorders on November 6
- iPhone 12: $799, preorders on October 16th
- iPhone 12 Pro: $999, preorders on October 16th
- iPhone 12 Pro Max: $1,099 preorders on November
5G is the flagship feature across the whole line.
While the vanilla iPhones 12 and the iPhones 12 Pro differ in terms of materials and camera powers, all four of this year's phones are 5G capable, bringing Apple's flagship line up to speed with the various Android phones that started supporting the new, faster wireless network in earnest earlier this year.
The speed advantages of 5G largely boil down to the quality of your network and connection, but Apple says its iPhone 12 line is uniquely suited for the tech thanks to the company's silicon-to-software control of their product. Apple says it has already started tweaking iOS for optimal compatibility for 5G, including a mode that will switch you between LTE and 5G in the background, to ensure you're only using the battery power required for extra high speeds when you need it.
The iPhone 12 mini is the tiny phone you've been waiting for.
For years, people who wanted a smaller iPhone were stuck with the iPhone SE, but no longer. The iPhone 12 mini has all the same features as the larger iPhone 12, but in a smaller body that's just slightly larger than the iPhone 5 was. Yes, it will cost you twice as much as an iPhone SE 2, but if your main concern is size and not price, it's a good option to have.
The iPhone 12 Pro is stealing tons of features from pro-grade cameras.
Better cameras have always been a star feature of the Pro line, but this year Apple has gone further in pilfering features from dedicated pro-grade cameras. The new iPhone 12 Pros have adopted a high-end camera feature called "sensor shift" which stabilizes shaky hands by moving the camera's sensor to keep it still. Apple's 12 Pros also have gained the ability to shoot in what Apple is calling ProRAW, a setting that allows photographers to have a bit more control over the software enhancements iPhones have traditionally done automatically.
MagSafe is back, for more than just power.
MagSafe is gone from Macbooks (for now), but it's back for the iPhone. Apple's new MagSafe chargers are, essentially, Qi-standard chargers with a magnetic attachment to make sure they alight properly, and don't come unstuck.
But it's more than just that; Apple is also making use of the magnetic mountpoint on the back of the new iPhones as a way to attach accessories (like wallets) and cases. Expect a new ecosystem of peripherals to grow out of that feature.
None of the iPhones come with a wall adapter anymore
And part of the reason you might buy a MagSafe charger is because iPhones no longer come with a wall adapter in the box, a decision Apple is spinning as an environmental concern but which is also doubtlessly saving money on production as well. Instead, the iPhones 12 will come with a single Lightning to USB-C adapter, so make sure you have a wall adapter with a USB-C port handy.
There's a HomePod mini, and its main feature is price.
Oh remember the HomePod? It's back, but small and cheap. Apple's new HomePod mini is both a speaker and a hub for Siri and Homekit functionality, but honestly its most compelling feature has got to be its price. At just $99, you might be able to overlook that Siri isn't quite as great as its main competition.