Apple introduces iPhone 12 in smaller size and 5G, and iPhone 12 Pro & Pro Max with LiDAR, larger screens, and more capable cameras
Thoughts so far:
Overall, I'm personally on the fence about upgrading this cycle. Despite the super sleek return to the iPhone 4 design aesthetic, my XS is still in great shape, there's no 5G in my area, I already own a dedicated mirrorless camera so I can already access super-high photo quality, and this will be the first generation of 5G modems that are going to be relatively power-inefficient and also not designed in-house by Apple.
Given that next year might see a 120Hz screen and 5G that's relevant to me, I'm tempted to compound those upgrades into a purchase of next years cycle so I have a meaningful upgrade point.
: You know how it goes.
Same. I have two because I got a great deal on them. For the other rooms in my house, I just got Sonos Ones. The music quality is just as good and they support Airplay 2. The only thing missing is Siri, which isn't a big loss.
Can you expand on what you mean by this? I'm an Apple owner and have a few USB-C power adapters.
I wonder if they did this because their data shows very few people charging from power adapters and most people using their computers now? I personally still use a charger, but I'm really outside the normal user.
There's a userbase whose only Apple products are iPhones and iPads, without Macbooks (or with older Macbooks) who may not have any USB-C power adapters yet as a result. It's not like they have any non-Apple phones or other modern devices to have a USB-C charger or even a port around. My mother is one of those people, as are many of my older relatives, all of whom have iPhones for simplicity of use.
They all also exclusively use wall charging for these devices so if they were to upgrade to one of these new models, they actually wouldn't be able to charge their phones without buying a USB-C wall adapter.
I agree that it sucks, but at least most iPhone users have plenty of lightning chargers already lying around.
That's not true. In what I'm going to hyperbolically call "the only reasonable hardware decision Apple has made since at least 2008", all their Lightning AC adapters are USB AC adapters with a USB-A/Lightning cord. Replace the cord with USB-A/USB-C cord, and presto, you've laid out $10 for a USB-C charger.
The iPhone isn't USB-C, though, you still need a Lightning connector at the other end. So you'd need to adapt that USB-A to USB-C first, and then run USB-C to Lightning. Regardless, this means purchasing extra on top of what the iPhone is sold with, which continues the original problem.
If the phone still has a lightning socket, they can still use their existing lightning/USB-A cables with their existing wall chargers, no? The new USB-C cable can just sit in the back of a drawer for now.
[Edit] I posted before reading down the thread - looks like this has already been pointed out and confirmed.
Question because I feel like I must be missing something: why can't they use their old wall chargers from existing iPhones (assuming it is a model that has lighting port)
They can. The outrage is about the new cable not working with the old wall chargers which imo is not as big of a deal as people make it out to be.
Out of curiousity i just checked my box of the iPhone 11 I got this year. The charger, cable and headphones were all still in the box
Cool cool cool. Thanks for that confirmation. I thought that had to be the case but from the reactions I'm seeing everywhere online and in my friend groups I felt like I was missing something. Not to take away from the point that I think it is shitty, but its less shitty than a few people led me to believe.
To add to my personal anecdote: I already said I checked my box and still had charger, cable and headphones in them. What I could’ve used instead (I bought it twice) was a usb C to lightning cable. The new ones come with them. That box would have been a better choice for me personally
I suppose they could, but I don't think they charge as fast as a dedicated USB-C wall charger. I suppose the reception really will depend on how much Apple charges for that USB-C wall charger.
Basically what @TheJorro said. To be fair, I should've said "barely any Apple product owners have a USB-C power adapter". Many of us own MacBooks, but those are beefy chargers designed for USB-PD that charge at 30W, 60W, or more, and are physically larger and not very amenable to travel—for example, back in the before times when we could do that.
The majority of iPhone users who do not charge by connecting to a parent device or via wireless are going to have to buy a USB-C power adapter.
Or just use their existing charger and cables. I say this the right call. I don’t need a new charger or cable. Too bad i already shelled out for usbc to lightening for the odd connection to cpu.
OK, that makes sense. I can certainly see that being the case. The way the original phrase was worded made it sound like this was an entirely new type of connector that nobody had ever seen before, but it's still a lightning connector on the phone which will continue to work with existing adapters that some (but obviously not all) people have. That does seem like a pain if you're a new customer. Thanks for the explanation!
I have yet to own a iPhone capable of Qi wireless charging, but I bet a lot of people are charging this way now.
I'm still rocking an original iPhone SE. Put a new battery in it (higher capacity) and its like a new phone
Care to elaborate?
I should've been clearer here. Although Qualcomm and Apple earlier signed a deal which this phone likely contains the first fruition of—with Qualcomm's 5G modem inside—Apple's purchase of Intel's 5G modem division will likely see Apple-designed 5G modems at some point, perhaps with help from their processor and silicon team. Maybe next year, maybe not.
Qualcomm's 5G modems are first-generation and very power-hungry (evidenced by the fact Tim Cook yesterday mentioned 5G is used only for brief periods where the system determines peak performance is needed). Apple having the ability to custom-design a 5G modem that is tailored specifically towards the expectations of how iOS intends to use 5G and the other hardware onboard will probably result in a much more power-efficient and performant chip. This will likely go the same way as Apple's processors which for the last decade has been pumping out extremely high performance yet low-TDP CPUs and GPUs for their mobile products—that the competition lags behind by 2-3 years at this point.
If you're on a multi-year upgrade cycle, and you believe all of this is on the horizon somewhere, it may be worth waiting.
Thanks. I somehow missed that acquisition by Apple. I'm still rocking a 6S, so you could say that I'm on a multi-year upgrade cycle, but unless they bring back the home button and audio jack I'm aiming to make it a multi-decade upgrade cycle.
Don't most phones use Qualcomm modems?
Qualcomm has a virtual monopoly after Intel gave up.
But, after Intel gave up, they sold their modem business to Apple, which merged it with their existing team that's making modems. So eventually Apple will also make modems, although they're obviously not selling them to anyone.
Please elaborate? This seems like something I could get pissed about.
I have a 6S+ so am in the market. I think I'm going with the 12 Mini. Almost the exact same screen size I have now but for a lot less phone.
What an upgrade! I miss those sorts of times when we went from one device to the next and were genuinely wow'd every time. Stacking your upgrade cycles by holding onto phones for a handful of years is now the only way to do that.
While I agree with you, I see it as a positive—a sign of maturity—that you can continue using a 2015 iPhone somewhat comfortably until late 2020.
Exactly. I own a lot of old Apple tech, and it generally holds up well. I even use my 3rd gen iPod classic from 2004 on occasion with the line in connection for my sonos. Looks beautiful lit up on the dock. I also installed SSDs in 3 MBPs that are a decade old and still use them regularly.
I don’t need the brand spankin newest iPhone, especially not every little release with how fragmented they’ve become. I got my current 6S+ new 3 years ago when I wasn’t ready to give up the aux jack but needed a new device.
Man i wish my phone would last that long! (I take my phone on cycling adventures all the time. The iohone is tough but rain and grit take a toll.)
I think the 12 Mini is the best thing to come out of this. The Pro models seem like a $300 extra camera addon, but the regular lineup got a ton of great stuff. OLED & HDR, 5G, the magnetic back, and night mode are nice steps up from the 11. And there's been a clamor for the small, flat-edged form-factor for a while. I think it'll sell amazingly well, better than how the 11 did last year.
I'm on the iPhone SE (1st ed). Really glad they went back to it's design style. Thinking about upgrading, but I'm not really a heavy phone user, so the SE still does everything I need. Only thing is, I started reading a lot on my phone, so the added resolution and a bit larger screen would be nice.
Still not sure if I'm willing to shelve 800 dollars for a phone that becomes my e-reader.. Thinking I could almost get a new gaming computer for the same price hurts.
Same here, with everything you said except the reading part. I may pick one up used next year, or even the 2020 SE. The thing is, I don't really use my phone all that much, but the nerd in me that has been clamoring for a smaller flagship is very excited about it. Right when I'm considering moving (back) to Android...
I have to say: I paid 800 bucks for my phone and roundabout 800-1000 for my gaming pc. I have my pc for 2 years now, my phone is almost 1 year old. I have used my phone much more than my pc though... i am very happy with it (except for the size, but I can’t change that now)
This is my spouse, too! Her 6S+ is full and doesn't hold a charge very long and she'd like to upgrade, but wanted to wait until this announcement.
The battery is an absolute mess on this thing. I’ve replaced the battery in it twice, and it got even worse somehow in iOS 14.
I'm on a 6S+ too, and I still don't think I'm in the market. the 6S+ still does everything I want it to do. Aside from a better camera, I really don't understand why I would be motivated to update.
I also have an 8 for work, and it has absolutely no benefit to me over the 6S+ and in fact I find the fake home button rather annoying, making it a net downgrade. I think I'm probably going to stick with the 6S+ until it completely ceases to function.
If your work lets you, an upgrade to an esim model could be worth it. You can setup your personal carrier on the esim and throw your company sim in. The iPhone will let you choose which plan to use for data and calls. It can even remember which number you use to call certain contacts and use that same number.
I carry both phones specifically because I don't want to cross-contaminate. Work is perfectly happy to let me install their MDM on my personal phone and use it for work, I just don't want to. (My work phone is really a portable email an IM device, I can count the number of actual calls I've made or received in the last year on one hand.)
I had a 6 Plus and upgraded to an 11 Pro. My biggest gripe with the former was the awful TouchID. It seemed like even the slightest bit of moisture, oil, or sweat would render it useless. I very frequently had to enter the pasword manually, which became a real pain with a reasonably short auto-lock. Getting FaceID was a massive quality of life improvement after that. From what I've heard, though, the 6S had improved TouchID significantly over the 6.
I experimented a bit, but I was never able to get touch ID to work reliably. I was never a big fan though, and these days I'm firmly opposed to biometrics as authentication, so I'm indifferent to the various whateverID technologies. I have a 10 digit pin and 5 minute autolock and I don't really find it all that bothersome.
Wow the 12 mini is a pleasant surprise. Me and all my tiny phone homies can finally replace our iPhone SE gen 1's in like 4 years when the price isn't absurd.
Haha yes! When the mini rumours solidified I thought "Well I know what I'm buying in 2022!"
I don't like that they are fragmenting the line even more.
Previously, all iPhones had the same base camera and the larger/more expensive ones just added more cameras or features. Now, it seems like most of the phones have different sensors and optics.
Rather than a clearly delineated line of products, it feels like navigating a maze trying to decide which product you should get.
These all feel like products designed to hit a price point.
They are. It's awfully complex. Couple that with every technical feature having its own marketing name, and it becomes very confusing even for enthusiastic people like ourselves to actually figure out which product has what features. It shouldn't be this difficult.
Not only does every feature have it's own marketing name, but re-using previously used marketing names like MagSafe! Makes it even more confusing.
When i first saw the headlin i got super excited. A high speed data power magnetic connector would be awesome!
But alas, a simplified version of Promised airpower with an old name is just not that cool.
Yeah, if they used a smart connector like they have on the iPads, that would be awesome.
Actually, the iPhone 6 Plus added OIS to the main shooter. I don't think the non-Plus/Max phones got that feature until the X.
I think this is a sign of three phone market maturing. There's no longer a 'best' phone because there is a very large range of usecases. Phone companies have realized this which is why we see many different phone skews appear, there's gaming phones, phones centered around the camera, small phones etc.
We saw the same thing with laptops (and cars have been like this for decades), there are no flagship laptops, there are gaming laptops and productivity laptops, laptops built around being small etc.
The downside is that it requires more saviness to buy, but the upside is that you can get away paying less for a product that suits you more.
I'm actually pleasantly surprised by the iPhone 12 (non-pro). Imo a big reason why the iPhone 11 was unpalatable was the 720p LCD screen. If I wanted to jump over I know I would've had to get to the Pro to not go crazy over the big screen downgrade. I know it realistically wouldn't make that much of a difference, but man Samsung has some beautiful screens for that price. Now the 12 is spec competitive across the line for the price.
12 mini also looks interesting. It honestly looked like a normal phone in the presenter's hand (although they successfully found someone with gigantic hands for the video ad to make it look small). Same specs, better fit, 100 bucks cheaper? Sounds good to me.
For what it's worth, I honestly prefer the iPhone XR/11 LCD "720p" (technically it's 828 horizontal pixels, or vertical, depending on your preference) screen to the OLEDs. The LCD may "only" be 326ppi compared to the 450ppi+ of the OLEDs, but I tend to find that OLEDs look very speckled/"dotty"—because there's more dead space between each phosphor sub pixel in an OLED panel, whereas LCD panels are predominantly composed of individual subpixels that take up the majority of the panel.
At least with my eyes, I can definitely distinguish OLED pixels easier than I can LCD pixels, plus even Apple's OLED panels still have awful refresh-smearing with deep blacks (Activity/Fitness app with its dark mode design is a good example), and unless OLED panels are set to display a true black screen, I haven't noticed any energy efficiency gains in real world usage.
I'll just be sitting here waiting for MicroLED to solve this problem, I guess.
Hm, I haven't noticed the same issue, although I haven't used a LCD phone screen in a while. There would be things i miss for sure, though, on an OLED; I'm very use to always-on clocks on my phone now, and I use the true black option on my reddit app + reading app, and that does save me battery/make it less jarring at night.
Glad I got the iPhone 11 last year. In light of COVID, stuff like 5g and tougher screen doesn't matter as much when I'm indoors 90% of the time. And in a classic Apple move, they rolled out MagSafe instead of USB C. The equivalent sized iPhone now starts at $799 instead of $699 along with the fact that they don't have a charger and earbuds makes me appreciate the 11 so much more.
The homepod mini looks great though. I'm happy to drop the google/nest/(next rename) mini for something with (what appears to be) more audio kick and iphone integration. Also, 10/10 on privacy and security.
My biggest disappointment is that ProRAW isn’t available on the base models. Also weird that 4K HDR video is limited to 30fps on the 12 but 60fps on the 12 Pros. They all have the same processor with fancy ISP, don’t they? Pretty blatant segmentation there.
Also a bummer that the bigger camera sensors with better OIS are only in the Pro Max.
Yeah, this seems similar how a while back people found out they could "reactivate" cores in certain AMD CPUs which had been just locked out to sell them as 6 core instead of 8 core chips.
That is a process called binning that still happens to this day. It is pretty benign. When a chip can’t run all cores at desired clock speeds, they disable cores or lower clock speeds. Nowadays, they laser off the disabled parts so it is physically impossible to enable them. With a cpu, you are primarily paying for the R&D, and the fab costs. The fab costs are the same for all cpus regardless of quality (assuming they are the same die). The R&D costs are likely the same, as they are split among the entire processor generation. Binning allows the manufacturer to develop a robust product line and increase effective yeilds.
Maybe, but in this case I truly think it’s all software.
Glad they're reintroducing small form factors, this is more important than any feature for me. I want to be able to reach the upper left corner with my thumb when using the phone one handed. I might pick up a 12 Mini once my old SE stops working (it's remarkable how well it works, still).
When I read the "up to" speeds for 5G I can't help but chuckle. My phone struggles to find a reliable LTE signal. Also what on earth would I need to download a gigabyte of data in 2 seconds for? What web service even sends data at that rate?
Other than that... YAWNNN! The only interesting thing going on in the smartphone market is more of a anti-trend towards all numeric upgrades becoming meaningless. The only real game-changer for me would be some physics-breaking innovation in either battery (one week without charge or more) or usability in sunlight(sunlight being reflected like paper, old school LED style but with full color).
I imagine faster upload speeds would be key, here. Photos/videos are getting larger, live streaming at higher quality, etc...
Otherwise, ya, I agree with you. Kinda considering trading in my XS for the 12 Mini...but the lower battery life is giving me pause.
I was recently uploading some images via iCloud to use on the computer (because, you know, that's easier now than somehow transferring that shit via cable for some reason). It only works on wifi by default (as intended since I have a data cap on mobile) and it took ages to upload. In theory, I can upload with 80 Mbps on my wifi and speed test websites confirm it. That's 10 megabytes per second and a photo is like... 5MB? 10MB? It should take literally a second per photo. It did take several minutes for 5 photos because it plain wouldn't connect, get stuck halfway, wait for god knows what. Again, that's iCloud, not some random ass web server. It's laughable, really.
My launch iPhone X is starting to run out of battery pretty fast, so I guess it’s time for an upgrade. I think the iPhone 12 mini is exactly what I’ve been looking for. Love the design, love the size and love the price point.
Another option is a battery replacement! Significantly cheaper for your wallet. I'm starting to think if I'm going to be on a 3 year upgrade cycle, I should consider budgeting for an 18 month mid-way battery replacement at some point when I make my purchase.
The only thing I miss not having an iPhone is the size... Finding Android phones that aren't tiny TV's for your pocket is just maddeningly difficult and the few that exist often don't get released globally.
Basically: I have size envy iPhone users...