Apple Unveils 5G-Enabled iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Series—Pre-orders Begin on October 16 and November 6 in Singapore
After months of leaks and speculations and pushing back the launch of its 2020 iPhones, Apple finally unveiled its latest line of 5G-enabled phones in a live-streamed event last night.
Taking on a significant redesign from the iPhone 11 range of last year, these new phones recall the sleek, angular design of iPhone 4, albeit with increased display size. The first of its phones to support 5G networks, Apple said in its presentation that peak download speeds could reach up to 3.5Gbps in ideal conditions, though it is subject to carrier and region. The tech giant also said that the iPhone 12 series includes “the most 5G bands of any smartphone”, allowing it to work in most places.
In addition, Apple expanded its smart home ecosystem by introducing HomePod Mini, a small spherical speaker that is much smaller than the HomePod, but with the “same acoustic principles” that provide “an immersive 360-degree audio experience”.
Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming launches arriving soon.
iPhone 12 and iPhone Mini
Apple’s iPhones have adopted curved edges since the iPhone 6, but the new iPhone 12 series will feature a flat-edge design. The iPhone 12 maintains the same size as iPhone 11 but with a bigger display size of 6.1 inches, while iPhone 12 Mini, which will boast all the features of the iPhone 12, comes with a smaller, 5.4-inch screen. Apple touts the latter to be the “the smallest, thinnest, and lightest 5G smartphone in the world”.
Both phones feature expansive edge-to-edge Super Retina XDR displays for immersive viewing, achieving true tone in photos, videos and games. Images and text appear in higher resolution, with two times more pixels than the iPhone 11.
The phones run on the latest A14 Bionic chipset, first introduced with the new iPad Air in September. The Apple-designed chip is said to be the first in the smartphone industry built on 5-nanometer process, with “the fastest CPU and GPU by up to 50 per cent compared to the fastest competing smartphone chips”.
This allows for a faster and more efficient experience, including powerful computational photography features with the iPhone 12 series’ dual-camera system—the 12 mega-pixel Ultra-Wide camera and a new 12-megapixel Wide camera with ƒ/1.6 aperture. Night mode and Deep Fusion are also extended to all cameras, including the front-facing TrueDepth camera for brighter pictures and better contrast even in low light, as well as more texture and less noise. Smart HDR 3 uses machine learning to intelligently adjust the images from white balance to contrast for better-quality shots.
iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini will also be the first to shoot HDR video with Dolby Vision, enabling an end-to-end experience from capturing to editing and sharing. Dolby Vision grading is processed in real-time while recording, offering cinema-grade videos coupled with the iPhone’s improved cinematic video stabilisation.
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The new generation iPhones feature a Ceramic Shield front cover—tougher than any smartphone glass with four times increase in drop performance from its predecessor—and an aerospace-grade aluminium enclosure. It offers an IP68 rating for water resistance up to six meters for up to 30 minutes, and protection against everyday spills like coffee and soda.
It comes in five colourways: blue, green, black, white, and (Product)Red; and three storage capacities: 64GB, 128GB and 256GB. Pre-orders for iPhone 12, priced from $1,299, begin on October 16. It will be available for retail from October 23.
iPhone 12 Mini, which starts from $1,149, will be available later, with pre-orders beginning on November 6 and availability from November 13.
iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max
For those who want more out of their iPhone 12 experience, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max offers additional creative control for photo and video enthusiasts with its state-of-the-art camera hardware.
The iPhone 12 Pro features a new seven-element lens Wide camera with an ƒ/1.6 aperture for 27 per cent improved low-light performance in photo and video; the Ultra-Wide camera with a 120-degree field of view; and a 52 mm focal length Telephoto camera, that offers four times optical zoom range.
On the other hand, iPhone 12 Pro Max’s ƒ/1.6 aperture Wide camera boasts a 47 per cent larger sensor with 1.7μm pixels that improves low-light conditions to 87 per cent. The Pro Max camera system also includes the Ultra-Wide camera and a 65 mm focal length Telephoto camera, for 5x optical zoom range, allowing for more flexibility in framing your shots.
Night mode is available on all cameras except the Telephoto, while Deep Fusion is available on all cameras. On top of Apple’s Smart HDR 3, the tech giant introduces Apple ProRaw to the iPhone 12 Pro models, combining “Apple’s multi-frame image processing and computational photography with the versatility of a Raw format.” This offers users control over colour, detail, and dynamic range natively on the iPhone, and possibly on other photo editing apps.
(Related: Apple Teams Up With Singapore to Launch LumiHealth, a New Apple Watch App That Promotes Healthier Living)
Photography and videography on the iPhone Pro models are pushed to greater heights with the all-new LiDar Scanner, an advanced hardware that works together with the Neural Engine in the A14 Bionic to deliver “faster, more realistic AR experiences and improves autofocus by 6x in low-light scenes for more accuracy and reduced capture time in photos and videos.” It measures light distances and uses pixel depth information of a scene to render beautiful images, such as Night mode portraits with a low-light bokeh effect.
Like the iPhone 12 models, the iPhone 12 Pro line features a Ceramic Shield front cover, but with a textured matte glass back and stainless steel enclosure. They are available in silver, graphite, gold, and pacific blue and storage capacities of 128GB, 256GB and 512Gb. Pre-orders for iPhone 12 Pro, priced from S$1,649, begin on October 16. It will be available for retail from October 23.
iPhone 12 Pro Max, which starts from S$1,799, will be available for pre-order from November 6 and available for purchase from November 13.
(Related: Google Unveils Its First 5G Smartphones, Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G)
Smaller in size and lower in price compared to the original HomePod launched in 2018, HomePod Mini is Apple’s latest addition to its ecosystem, which makes an Apple-enabled smart home—fitted with HomeKit devices—all the more accessible.
Adopting a short spherical shape, but with the same mesh fabric exterior, HomePod Mini measures just 3.3 inches tall and 3.9 inches wide, weighing 345 grams. Despite its smaller size, Apple strives to offer quality audio performance with “computational audio” processing that intelligently adjusts the dynamic range of your sound, up to 180 times per second. This is powered by the Apple S5 chip, also used in the Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch SE.
Like most smart speakers, HomePod Minis can also be paired together for a stereo-sound experience and multi-room audio.
But more than playing music, HomePod Mini acts as a smart home assistant. An Intercom feature allows household members to relay messages from one HomePod Mini to another in the home, or even other devices like the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and AirPods.
Paired with other smart devices in Apple’s HomeKit, HomePod Mini becomes a central hub to control everything like lighting, security, and temperature with simply your voice.
Apple’s smart assistant Siri also recognises the voices of each member of the household to offer personalised experiences. Addressing privacy concerns, Apple offered assurance that users can choose whether audio recordings are saved, while personal requests will only work when your iPhone is with you. Requests are also encrypted and saved with an Anonymous ID.
The HomePod Mini is available in white and space grey. However, like the HomePod, there have been no plans announced to launch them in Singapore yet.