While we wait for the full, official details to emerge, let’s take a look at what we already know about the most unusual iPhone launch in Apple’s history.
This story was first published on August 28, 2020, and last updated on the same day.
What’s new this year?
Oh boy — a lot, by the looks of things. Some new features, changes, and additions will be specific to the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro lines and we’ll dig into those shortly — let’s begin with the updates we expect to appear across the board this year.
For one, Apple is said to be using OLED screens across all versions of the iPhone 12. This shift will be especially noticeable to people coming from devices like the iPhone XR and iPhone 11, which used Apple’s “Liquid Retina” screens. Those were always pretty good by LCD standards, but going forward, people who don’t want to pay for Apple’s most expensive phones should still get some improved image quality.
More importantly, these new iPhones will also use the company’s latest mobile chipset, which we expect to be called (what else?) the A14 Bionic. While it’ll still be weeks before Apple explains its benefits in full, chipmaker TSMC offered something of a preview in the form of comments made during a recent earnings call. The A14 is all but certainly based on TSMC’s 5nm fabrication process, which the company said should result in roughly 15 percent faster performance while saving 30 percent in power consumption. That’s nothing to sneeze at, especially when you consider last year’s A13 Bionic was already the fastest smartphone chipset out there. And that reduced power consumption should prove especially helpful now that Apple is finally embracing 5G.
2020 is the year 5G is finally starting to matter in the real world, so it’s little surprise that all of Apple’s new iPhones will support those next-gen networks. Well, some of them, at least. There are two kinds of 5G networks taking root around the world: sub-6 and mmWave. (Their names broadly refer to the swathes of electromagnetic spectrum each type of network operates in, but you don’t need to worry about that.) All of Apple’s new iPhones will play nice with the former since sub-6 networks are more common and cover more ground.
The bigger question is which models will support the world’s faster — but more geographically limited — mmWave 5G networks. Rumors originally suggested that this feature would be exclusive to the iPhone 12 Pro line, but later reports insisted that all versions of the iPhone 12 could tap into all 5G networks. For now, that appears to be the case, but the matter is still being hotly debated.