Apple’s iPhone 12: Everything you need to know

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Chris Schulz

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Apple has launched four brand new iPhone 12 models at a socially distanced livestream event. Here's what happened ...

“Today is the beginning of a new era for iPhone,” declared Apple CEO Tim Cook at the start of today’s socially distanced, virtual presentation from Apple’s Californian headquarters.

As expected, Cook announced an all-new range of Apple iPhone 12 models which come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colours that promise different experiences.

What’s new? Are they any good? Let’s take a look at the key takeaways. 

iPhone 12 comes in four models

Looking for options? You’ve got plenty. You can get your new iPhone 12 in four different ways. There’s the standard 6.1-inch iPhone 12 model, which comes  in blue, green black, white or red, costs $1499 and is available from October 23. The 5.4-inch iPhone Mini comes in the same colour range, costs $1349 and ships on November 13. For those wanting more grunt, the iPhone Pro costs $1899 and ships October 23, while the iPhone Pro Max costs $2099 and ships November 13. Big or small? Tall or short? Red or blue? You have so many decisions to make.

Your iPhone 11 is already out of date

The iPhone 12 is the same size of your iPhone 11, but it comes with a bigger screen thanks to smaller display borders. It’s also 11 per cent thinner and 16 per cent lighter. It has higher screen resolutions, with double the pixels as the iPhone 11, and is twice as bright. It’s also twice as fast, with an all new A14 bionic chip, capable of 11 trillion operations per second, if you can work that fast. Your iPhone 11 might only be 12 months old, but it already seems dusty and a bit dated.

All iPhone 12s will be 5G enabled

Every iPhone 12 model comes with 5G. “This is definitely the start of something big,” declared Cook. This upgrade means faster uploads and download speeds, more responsive gaming and improved security and privacy. It also means fast connection speeds in highly populated areas, like city centres or large scale sports or music events – when we’re allowed to have those again. And it’s better for your phone, decreasing the need to connect to dodgy Wifi signals. It promises, says Cook, “unprecedented performance”.

iPhone 12

The iPhone 12’s Pro and Pro Max models come in a range of colours. Photo/Apple

It can handle some rough and tumble

Everyone’s terrified of dropping their phone, but that apparently won’t be a problem with iPhone 12. That’s because it’s got an all-new ceramic shield, a shell that “goes beyond glass”. Apple says it’s tougher and more durable than any smartphone glass, and is four times less likely to be damaged than your iPhone 11 if it falls out of your pocket onto the floor. There was no mention of the self-healing technology Apple is rumoured to be developing, but this still sounds pretty good. 

They’ll charge faster than ever

Nanocrystalline shields. Magnetometers. Charging coils. Polycarbonate housings. What the heck do these terms mean? Apparently they all help your phone charge faster. This is a good thing, because no one likes running out of battery.

Apple’s accessories are disappearing

If you’ve got too many Apple wires and charger knocking around in your drawers, Apple understands. The company says there are already too many spare chargers and headphones in the world. So they’re not giving them away any more. For iPhone 12, you won’t find either of these things in the box. It’s all part of a new environmentally friendly practice designed to make the company carbon neutral by 2030. And, possibly, a way to increase sales for their AirPods and Beats headphones. Because if you want those things, you’ll have to buy them separately.

Get ready to play games on your phone

The iPhone 12 is so powerful, it’s bringing the world’s most popular PC game on board. League of Legends: Wild Rift will debut late this year, and that’s a big one for anyone addicted to the massively popular title.

iPhone 12 photos and videos look insane

Let’s face it, you’re mostly using your phone to take selfies. With iPhone 12, they’re going to look better than ever. Every iPhone 12 model has night mode, letting you capture perfect pictures in low light situations. They also have the highest quality video of any smartphone, with Dolby Vision options capturing 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. You could probably make a movie on this thing. But if you want the best camera of them all, you’ll need to opt for the Pro Max model, which has  a bigger lens, better sensors, increased pixel numbers and improved stabilisation.

It’s not all about the iPhone 12

Apple also announced something a little smaller today, a new Homepod Mini. The cut, compact Siri-enabled pod comes with 360-degree sound and a range of connectivity options. Put two in a room, and they’ll become a stereo pair. Take your phone close, and it will immediately sync. And you can talk to your kids in their bedrooms if you need them to come out for dinner. Again, Apple has made a big deal of the Homepod’s security options, declaring: “Nothing you say is sent out of your home.” Because no one else should hear your family’s arguments about what to watch on Netflix. The Homepod Mini retails for US$99.

  • Pre-orders for the iPhone 12 are available here
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Chris Schulz

Chris Schulz has 20 years experience writing about New Zealand's technology and entertainment industries. He lives in Auckland.

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