Home / iPhone / iPhone 12 rumors: Apple likely to launch new 5G iPhone in October – CNET

iPhone 12 rumors: Apple likely to launch new 5G iPhone in October – CNET


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The current iPhone 11.


Angela Lang/CNET

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

In August, Apple apparently leaked a Sept. 10 event date on its YouTube channel. But recent invitations sent out by the company confirms that it’s holding an online event that’s actually scheduled for Sept. 15. During this presser, we expect Apple to focus on the next Apple Watch Series 6 and new iPads, instead of the new iPhone 12, 12 Pro and 12 Max (Apple has not confirmed the names of the phones, but we’ll go with those for now).

That’s because while we usually see new flagship iPhones in September, the COVID-19 outbreak has forced suppliers in China to shut down or operate on limited capacity. This affected not only Apple’s inventory in September, but it may affect sales, too. Apple also closed its US retail stores, though now some have reopened in limited ways. All this culminated with Apple confirming there will be a delay on the iPhone 11 sequels, perhaps as late as October. Our best educated guess for the iPhone 12 announcement is either Oct. 13 or 14.

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Despite such disruptions and Apple’s veil of secrecy, there are some things we do know about the iPhone 12. From what we’ve seen of iOS 14 and its public beta so far, we can expect the phone to have software features like widgets, app libraries and picture-in-picture. Unofficial hardware rumors include 3D depth sensing on its rear cameras and new screen sizes. Adding 5G connectivity would also make sense considering Apple’s main opponent, Samsung, launched several 5G phones this year, including the recent Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra, as well as the flagship Galaxy S20 phones. The later timeline might have some unexpected positive consequences too, including giving carriers like Verizon more time to build out its 5G coverage.

Until any of that happens though, check back often as we will continue to update it with the most probable and compelling rumors. And if you’re already planning to get the device, here are three things you can do now to prep for the iPhone 12.

Top iPhone 12 rumors

  • Apple said the iPhone 12 will be available “a few weeks later” than the usual mid-September launch. An October release date is possible. 
  • There may be four iPhone 12 models in three different screen sizes: the iPhone 12 (5.4-inch), 12 Max (6.1-inch), 12 Pro (6.1-inch) and 12 Pro Max (6.7-inch).
  • iPhone 12 base model may be cheaper than the iPhone 11’s $699 starting price.
  • iPhone 12 phones may have 5G.
  • iPhone 12 may not come with earbuds or a power adapter.
  • iPhone 12 may come in dark blue.
  • iPhone 12’s rear-facing camera(s) may have 3D depth-sensing technology.

Announcement date: Possibly October

In what appeared to be a misstep on Apple’s part, a Twitter user posted a screenshot of a possible Apple livestream event scheduled for Sept. 10. The event date and time appeared on Apple’s YouTube page and then was taken down.

We now know, however, that Apple is holding an event on Sept. 15, and it most likely won’t be about the iPhone. This still leaves the date of the iPhone 12 announcement up in the air. Another mobile leaker and Front Page Tech host Jon Prosser reported that the iPhone 12 will be introduced during an Oct. 12 event and will ship out Oct. 19, for instance.

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Apple’s invitation to its Sept. 15 event. iPhones are not expected to be announced.


Apple

Release date: iPhone 12 may not ship out until October

Despite Apple’s largest manufacturer, Foxconn, assuring investors it should still make its fall timeline, The Wall Street Journal reported that the iPhone 12 could face delays. This is due to the coronavirus pandemic and its unprecedented effect on manufacturing and consumer demands. The report estimated that Apple may wait until October to announce or launch the phone, which is about a month after the iPhone’s usual launch. 

Apple CFO Luca Maestri all but confirmed this on a quarterly earnings call, saying, “This year, we project supply to be available a few weeks later” than last year’s mid-September launch. 

Others have suggested not a single launch date but several. A rumor floated by DigiTimes and picked up by MacRumors, suggested that Apple may launch its 2020 iPhones in multiple stages. The two 6.1-inch iPhone models may launch first, with the 6.7- and 5.4-inch variants coming later. (For more on the different speculated iPhone sizes, read more below.)

Price: iPhone 12 may be cheaper than iPhone 11

When the iPhone 11 debuted last year, we were pleasantly surprised that its base model cost $699, which was $50 cheaper than 2018’s iPhone XR. This trend may continue, with one tech analyst reporting that Apple will price the iPhone 12 at $649, the iPhone 12 Pro at $999 and the iPhone 12 Pro Max at $1,099.

5G: iPhone 12 may have next-gen connectivity

Several rumors are predicting that Apple will include 5G connectivity this year. More specifically, Apple analyst Ming-chi Kuo expects the company to unveil three 5G phones, and Fast Company reported that Apple may use its own proprietary 5G antennas.

There are a couple of reasons why the company didn’t jump on the trend in 2019. First, Apple usually isn’t the first in on mobile trends, preferring instead to perfect an emerging technology before committing to it. For example, it was behind its competitors in making phones with 3G and 4G LTE connectivity when those networks just launched. 

Second, Apple stopped working with the leading 5G modem provider, Qualcommbecause of a dispute over Qualcomm’s licensing fees. The two companies settled their litigation in April 2019, and then agreed to a multiyear 5G chip deal. This led to Apple’s previous partner of 5G modems, Intel, to ultimately exit the 5G phone modem business altogether and Apple later acquired Intel’s smartphone modem business for $1 billion. Apple is still working with Qualcomm, but it got started too late to launch a 5G phone last year when a few of its rivals released their 5G models, like the Galaxy S10 5G, LG V50 5G and OnePlus 7 Pro 5G.

Whatever its start date though, Apple releasing a 5G phone is notable not only because the phone will be able to connect to the next-gen network, but also because this standout feature won’t be entirely under Apple’s control. 5G networks are built by carriers and Apple is taking a risk because users all across the country will have different experiences on this nascent network depending on their coverage. 

Design: iPhone 12 may be similar (or not) to iPhone 11

Every other year, Apple usually makes notable cosmetic changes to its iPhone to freshen up its look, much to the delight of anticipating buyers. But a report by Japanese publication Mac Otakara, citing an unnamed Chinese supplier, reported that the iPhone 12 will look similar to the iPhone 11. The only possible difference is that the iPhone 12’s edges will be slightly bowed.

On the other hand, Apple is also speculated to completely revamp the iPhone’s design with flat edges (similar to the new iPads). This could trigger what Wedbush analyst Dan Ives called “the perfect storm of demand,” which would drive up sales and result in a “super cycle” for Apple.