(Pocket-lint) - The annual refresh of the iPhone is one of the biggest events in tech: it's the phone that many aspire to own, one that sets trends and the phone that all others are looking to better.
While leaks and rumours are nothing new to the world of tech, getting information about new Apple devices is fairly rare. They don't tend to leak as comprehensively as a Samsung or Google phone - but we're gathering up everything we hear about the new iPhone right here.
We've also got a separate round-up for the iPhone 5G talking about when a fully 5G iPhone will appear. We believe that the iPhone 12 will have 5G, but there is a chance it may be restricted to, say, the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max rather than being available on all devices. It may also be a separate, fourth device.
Apple iPhone 12 release date
- Launch in September 2020
- But will the release date end up being later?
Typically Apple holds its iPhone event in the second week of September and normally on a Tuesday. The company followed the same pattern for the 2019 iPhones - announcing them on 10 September 2019.
If the company follows suit again in 2020, we'd expect 8 September 2020 to be a good bet for the launch event of the iPhone 2020.
But there's a big unknown due to the current global situation and the rumours suggest that - particularly for 5G models - on-street availability will either be delayed or restricted. That could mean that we'll see split iPhone release dates like in 2017 where the iPhone 8 launched in September but the iPhone X wasn't available until very early November.
What will the iPhone 2020 be called?
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 Max
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
Pre-2017, it was pretty easy to predict what the next iPhone would be called. Following the iPhone 3G up to the iPhone 8, Apple used sequential numbers and that was that.
Whether there will be separate naming for 5G models, it's hard to tell, but we suspect not. There could be an additional larger non-Pro model added, leading to an iPhone 12 Max too. Putting all the rumours together, it seems likely we are going to get four phones.
Apple iPhone 12 design
- All-new design
- Squarer edges?
The Apple iPhone 12 models are reported to be coming with a new design - some renders show squarer edges more like the iPhone 4 or 5 compared to the rounded edges we have been used to since the iPhone 6. Supply chain sources have suggested the phones will be slightly larger, due to bigger displays, but thinner overall than the 2019 models.
We're hoping to see a reduced notch at the top of the screen of the 2020 models - or no notch at all - and we hope the frosted matte glass rear from the 11 Pro models returns as it is beautiful in the flesh. There has been a patent filed for a notch-less phone, but how Face ID would be accommodated remains a puzzle.
Apple iPhone 12 displays
- All OLED
- 120Hz refresh rate
- Different sizes
Rumours suggest that all 2020 iPhones will have an OLED display. Currently, the iPhone 11 has an LCD display, while the Pro models have OLED. There's also reports of a variable refresh rate with a 120Hz refresh rate reported that can drop down to 60Hz when necessary. It's claimed at least some of the OLED displays will come from LG for the first time.
Apparently we might get a 5.4-inch model, a 6.1-inch model and a 6.7-inch in place of the 5.8-inch, 6.1-inch and 6.5-inch models we have at the moment. There may be two versions of the 6.1-inch handset, one a standard iPhone 12 and the other an iPhone 12 Pro.
Some speculation also suggests in-display fingerprint sensors although we think that's inaccurate - we're expecting all these new models to have Face ID.
Apple iPhone 12 cameras
- 3D Depth cameras
- Night Mode improvements likely
There have also been predictions of a quad camera on the iPhone 12 Pro Max. That would mean a triple lens camera as with the iPhone 11 Pro, plus a ToF sensor or Lidar sensor as in the 2020 iPad Pro. However, the general consensus is for there to be a triple camera again but yes, with a new sensor. As well as portrait mode, the new sensor will also help with ARKit apps.
We also expect to see more improvements to Night Mode and it's predicted that Apple might be adding a 3D-sensing laser array to make Portrait mode even better. For the front camera, it's been reported that Face ID will have a wider field-of-view.
Apple iPhone 12 hardware and software
- A14 chip
- iOS 14
Most reports suggest Apple will adopt 5G connectivity for the iPhone 12, claiming all models will have a 5G option and Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon has said that getting 5G into the iPhone is now a priority. Qualcomm has announced the X60 modem and a new antenna - more on that below.
The most likely scenario at present - we think - is that the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max will be 5G. Whether the standard iPhone 12 will be is more of a debate and will likely still be an unknown until the announcement.
We expect to see the A14 chip under the hood of the iPhone 12 models, with all offering the same hardware and we expect to see them all launch on iOS 14, which we learned more about at Apple's developer event in June. You can read about all the new features arriving with iOS 14 in our separate round up feature, but there are Widgets, an App Library, App Clips and advancements to Messages and Siri, among plenty more.
We also expect all three models to feature the U1 chip - which brings enhanced short-range location and sharing.
Apple iPhone 12 rumours: What's happened so far
Here's everything we've heard about the iPhone 12 models so far.
29 July 2020: The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro prices leak
A report claims there will be 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB storage options for the iPhone 12 Pro models, while the standard iPhone 12 and 12 Max will come with 64GB, 128GB and 256GB options.
Batteries will be larger in the Pro line with 2,775mAh and 3,687mAh batteries respectively. The standard iPhone 12 models will have 2,227mAh and 2,815mAh batteries, it is claimed.
Prices are are said to vary between $699 and $1449.
3 July 2020: Now the iPhone 12 Pro supposedly won't feature a 120Hz display after all
Analyst Ross Young said his sources have yet to confirm any of the speculation about the iPhone 12 - specifically, the rumoured Pro models - packing 120Hz displays. Instead, he claims his contacts think the 120Hz technology could come to the 2021 iPhone series.
2 July 2020: Apple is trying to pull back the launch of the 5G model
It seems the iPhone 5G has suffered because of the current global situation and has been delayed until very late in the year, having even slipped to 2021 at one point. That's according to supply chain information reported by Nikkei. However, Apple is working hard to get suppliers to deliver earlier.
1 July 2020: 120Hz display in doubt
According to a new rumour from display analyst Ross Young, the iPhone 12 series won't have ProMotion displays because it first needs to implement a low-power display tech which won't be happening this year.
30 June 2020: iPhone 12 could record 4K 120fps video, even 240fps
The new iPhones will apparently get a serious bump in video capability, with 4K up to 120fps and the same rumour suggesting it could even be a whopping 240fps, though we feel that's unlikely. The details were apparently uncovered due to discoveries in the iOS 14 developer beta software. While current iPhones can record higher than 60fps, you need to step down from 4K.
29 June 2020: No charger or headphones in the box?
According to sometimes right, sometimes wrong Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the new iPhone models won't have a charger or headphones in the box. Yes, you read that right. It does make sense actually because we bet the total of unused EarPods are probably in the many tens of millions. And, as for chargers, well, most people have a USB power plug. The iPhone will still have a USB to Lightning cable, apparently. Of course, it reduces Apple's costs as well...
22 June 2020: Apple previews iOS 14
Apple previewed its upcoming major software update - iOS 14 - during its Worldwide Developer Conference on 22 June. Numerous features were revealed, including cycling directions in Maps, a new Translate app and digital car keys.
15 June 2020: New iPhone 12 leak suggests a more angular design
Leaks of the iPhone 12 design suggest a more angular-edged handset, which reminds us a bit of the sides from the iPhone 4. The leak comes from some moulds that have been photographed (probably from a case manufacturer). However, the notch on the moulds looks larger than we're expecting.
29 May 2020: LG to supply at least some iPhone 12 OLED screens
LG already supplies LED panels for some iPhones but now it appears that it will be supplying some OLED displays as well, potentially for the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
19 May 2020: A massive leak of screen specs
The leaky supply chain has revealed all the iPhone 12 display specs. The entry-level 5.4-inch iPhone 12 will have a 2,340 x 1,080 resolution LCD display and then there will be a 6.1-inch 2,532 x 1,170 pixel version with OLED as well.
The iPhone 12 Pro will have the same size and resolution display as the 6.1-inch handset we mentioned above though it'll be a 10-bit panel to support HDR. The 6.7-inchiPhone 12 Pro Max will have a 2,778 x 1,284 resolution.
11 May 2020: More battery and Face ID details
A late April leak suggests the iPhone 12 Pro displays will have a 120Hz refresh rate, with the ability to switch down to 60Hz dynamically to conserve battery life. It's said there will be a 4,400mAh battery to maintain the current level of battery life. Finally, it's said that Face ID will have a wider field-of-view and the rear camera will have an improved zoom.
27 April 2020: iPhone 12 delayed?
The Wall Street Journal cited a source who suggested that the iPhone 12 launch will take place around a month later than usual because of delays to the supply chain caused by the global situation at present. That would mean a late October launch for the phone itself.
20 April 2020: iPhone 12 will introduce a smaller notch
Several reports recently have suggested the iPhone 12 will have a smaller notch, yet all the Face ID sensors will be present. This would essentially only mean that the speaker is moved upwards into the bezel of the phone, as it has been on many Android devices.
13 April 2020: Four new iPhones incoming?
According to Bloomberg, Apple is working on four new iPhones -could there be a specific iPhone 5G? The company is reportedly redesigning the iPhone Pro models of the series so that they have flatter screen edges, despite other analysts saying the screen edges would remain curved.
8 April 2020: Leaked image suggests iPhone 12 Pro will have LiDAR sensor
It looks like the iPhone 12 will have a triple camera but add a LiDAR sensor, just like the new iPad Pro. This will improve AR capabilities as well as photography. Alongside it, there will be regular, ultra-wide and telephoto as with the iPhone 11 Pro.
12 March 2020: Apple might put a 3D-sensing camera on the back of the next iPhone
Apple's apparently been exploring the possibility of putting a 3D sensor system on its phones for a couple of years, but the iPhone 12 could be the one to actually get it, according to reports. Whether this would look like a quad-camera unit or be more subtle is unclear, but either way it could allow for better Portrait Mode performance and augmented reality.
9 March 2020: The iPhone 12 Pro camera reportedly has a 64-megapixel sensor
With the new Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra boasting a 108-megapixel sensor, the iPhone 11 Pro camera 12-megapixel cameras are now looking a little paltry. A 64-megapixel sensor will be used in the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max it seems, while there will be upgrades for the other two lenses (yes, a triple camera again). However, a Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensor will also be added.
18 February 2020: Is this the iPhone 12 Pro 5G modem?
Apple partner Qualcomm debuted its latest X60 5G modem. While it'll be destined for stacks of flagship phones in 2021, it could end up being inside the iPhone 12 Pro.
After years of legal issues, Qualcomm and Apple struck a deal early last year so we know that some tech inside the first 5G iPhone will be Qualcomm-based.
21 January 2020: The standard iPhone 12 will be thinner and bigger than the iPhone 11
Supply chain sources are suggesting that the 2020 iPhone design won't change hugely, but the phones will be getting thinner than the 2019 models, but perhaps slightly larger, with larger displays.
31 December 2019: It looks like the iPhone 12 won't have a notch
Patents files by Apple have appeared for a notch-free phone, but it does raise the question of how Apple will offer Face ID if there's no space for the needed hardware.
5 December 2019: Report suggests four iPhone 12 models
A report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims there will be four iPhone 12 models in 2020. From the same report comes the detail that in 2021, Apple will ditch all physical connection to the phone.
5 December 2019: Qualcomm CEO says 5G iPhone a priority
The CEO of Qualcomm, Cristiano Amon, has said that one of Qualcomm's priorities in its relationship with Apple will be to get a 5G iPhone launched as soon as it can.
30 October 2019: Apple 5G iPhone 12 plans ramped up, with three models tipped for 2020
Nikkei Asian Review has claimed Apple is in talks with mobilisation suppliers to produce a range of three iPhones with 5G data connectivity in 2020.
If true, it would mean the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max should all be 5G enabled.
28 October 2019: iPhone 12 said to come with 120Hz OLED display
According to sources in China, Apple will use 120Hz screen technology on its 2020 iPhone 12 models, which is the same refresh rate it currently uses on the iPad Pro models.
While 90Hz screens are becoming more popular on smartphones with OnePlus and Google both adopting them - 120Hz refresh rates are more rare, with only the Razor 2 and Asus ROG II devices featuring the higher refresh rate for now.
30 September 2019: Latest Apple iPhone 12 renders show no notch for the Pro models
Ben Geskin produced some more renders showing what the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max could look like if the notch disappears and Face ID is integrated into the bezel above the display, as well as squarer edges, like the iPhone 4.
26 September 2019: iPhone 2020 prototype shows FaceID integrated into top bezel with no notch
Ben Geskin - who has produced multiple renders of iPhones in the past - has tweeted to say "one of the 2020 iPhone prototypes has 6.7-inch display with Face ID and TrueDepth camera system housed in the top bezel." Looks pretty nice if it's accurate, hey?
Exclusive: One of the 2020 iPhone prototypes has 6.7-inch display with Face ID and TrueDepth camera system housed in the top bezel. pic.twitter.com/sAJE7J12ty— Ben Geskin (@BenGeskin) September 26, 2019
26 September 2019: Apple iPhone 12 will revert to iPhone 4 design feature, claims analyst
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo published a report claiming the iPhone 12 will have a new metal frame structure, much like the iPhone 4 introduced almost a decade ago. He said: "The metal frame and the front and rear 2/2.5D glass are still used, but the metal frame surface will be changed to a similar design to the iPhone 4, replacing the current surface design."
The predictions match renders from Ben Geskin, which were then retweeted following the report.
So maybe my 2020 iPhone concept is right pic.twitter.com/GrBcEDCG4u— Ben Geskin (@BenGeskin) September 25, 2019
7 September 2019: The 2020 iPhone will reportedly usher in an all-new design
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that next year's phone will feature an all-new design.
Kuo said the 2020 iPhone lineup will feature three major changes: An all-new form factor design; support for 5G support; and camera upgrades.
5 September 2019: Apple might use in-screen sensor in 2020 iPhone
According to the site, Apple is developing an in-display fingerprint authentication technology that works much like the solutions we've seen implemented by Samsung, OnePlus, Huawei, and others. Presumably, it would be a Touch ID-branded feature that would work alongside Face ID, allowing users to more efficiently bypass their device's lock screen and process payments.
22 August 2019: Apple iPhone 11 'Pro', Watch Series 5 and AirPods 3 details revealed in new report
A report from Bloomberg offered a number of details on the 2019 iPhones, but it also said the 2020 iPhones would offer 5G connectivity and a camera boost on the rear for AR.
According to the report: "None of the new models will include 5G, but next year's will. They'll also have rear-facing 3D cameras that will boost augmented reality capabilities."
21 August 2019: Apple testing OLED displays from other suppliers for iPhone 2020
According to Nikkei Asian Review, spotted by Apple Insider, Apple is claimed to be testing OLED displays from suppliers other than Samsung for the 2020 iPhone.
It's claimed the latest supplier being tested is BOE Technology and Apple is reported to decide by the end of 2019 if the panels meet its standards.
5 August 2019: Long live Touch ID! Apple's 2021 iPhone might use in-display fingerprint tech
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has claimed Apple will likely offer an Ultrasonic under-display fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 2021. Kuo said the system will work alongside Apple's Face ID.
He also reiterated that the notch would be getting smaller for the 2020 iPhone before being ditched completely for the 2021 iPhone.
22 July 2019: Next year's iPhones might get a display that's twice as fast
According to leaker Ice Universe, the 2020 iPhones could offer a variable refresh rate, allowing them to switch between 120hz mode from 60hz for smoother action on screen.
We suspect the iPhone would stick to 60hz for most purposes, allowing it to save on power consumption, but switch into 120hz mode for video or perhaps Apple Pencil work if Apple adds compatibility next year.
19 July 2019: Renders of iPhone XII Max appear on Twitter with predicted specs
Ben Geskin has produced some renders of what he believes the iPhone XII Max will look like in 2020. He also offered some details on specifications he expects to appear, all of which are plausible.
2020 iPhone XII Max Concept— Ben Geskin (@BenGeskin) July 19, 2019
- New squared-off design
- 6.7” OLED with smaller notch
- Quad Camera with ToF camera
- 5nm A14 Chip
- USB Type-C
- 5G pic.twitter.com/iQQy4Y0mx4
11 July 2019: The iPhone will have its front-cameras under the display by 2021
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims the iPhone's large notch will completely disappear by 2021. Kuo claims the iPhone's notch will get significantly smaller in 2020 before its 2021 disappearance.
Kuo doesn't elaborate on how Apple might succeed in this, but one way would be to move the True Depth camera system - which is used for Face ID - to behind the display. There are big challenges with this technology at the moment though so perhaps there is another solution?
9 July 2019: Apple could release four iPhones in 2020 including mid-range model
Analyst Samik Chatterjee at JP Morgan Chase has claimed Apple might launch four new iPhones in 2020, including the next successors to the iPhone XS and XS Max, the next successor to the iPhone XR and a mid-range iPhone.
Chatterjee claims the mid-range iPhone could have the same screen size as the iPhone 8 but it won't have an OLED display or 5G capabilities, like the other three iPhones are expected to offer.
18 June 2019: Apple iPhone XS Max could get even bigger in 2020, analyst suggests
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said Apple will announce 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch high-end iPhones with OLED displays offering 5G connectivity, along with a 6.1-inch OLED model supporting up to LTE.
Kuo also said Apple will offer 5G support for all new iPhones from 2021 and it is thought the company will have its own 5G chip by 2023.
3 April 2019: Three OLED models and different sizes rumoured for iPhone 2020
Digitimes reported that all three 2020 iPhones will have OLED displays and the screen sizes will change compared to the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and the iPhone XR.
The site claimed there will be a 5.42-inch model, a 6.06-inch model and a 6.67-inch model for next year's iPhones.
30 January 2019: Apple to add triple cameras to 2019 iPhone, 3D cameras to 2020 iPhone
Bloomberg reported that a new TrueDepth camera system will be added to the 2020 iPhone and that it will feature Time of Flight 3D sensors with lasers that bounce off objects in a room to create a 3D image of your surroundings.
The result should be a detailed AR experience, with accurate depth perception and placement of virtual objects. These 3D cameras will scan areas up to 15 feet from the device, it is claimed.
4 December 2018: No 5G iPhone for 2019, you'll have to wait until 2020 for Apple adoption
Bloomberg reported that "people familiar with the matter" claimed Apple will wait until the 5G network matures and stabilises before releasing a compatible product.
It's therefore assumed Apple won't release a 5G iPhone in 2019, but it will in 2020.
23 March 2018: Apple might ditch current phone design for foldable iPhone in 2020
CNBC reported that analyst Wamsi Mohan at Bank of America Merrill Lynch claimed Apple is working with Asian partners on a foldable phone and the 2020 iPhone will be radically different.