As the unveiling date for the 2019 iPhones is coming closer, the rumor mill is becoming more and more insistent that there will be nothing to blow our minds this year. Instead, it’s the 2020 iPhones that would get major revamps and some features worth dropping upgrade money on.
So, with that said, let’s take a good look at what leaksters are claiming for next year’s iPhone 12 lineup and put it through the filter of rationable thought.
Design: begone, Notch!
The Notch has been a highly controversial topic ever since the iPhone X dropped in 2017. In order to make room for the front camera, the earpiece, and all the Face ID sensors, Apple had to make a cutout in what would otherwise have been a perfectly rectangular, edge-to-edge display.
It was clear that The Notch won’t be staying for long — it was just a temporary fix until the technology evolved to the point where said sensors can either be hidden under the screen or made smaller so that they can fit tinier spaces.
Well, the former is still not happening, but the technology to at least shrink all of these sensors certainly is. And, while we won’t see a different Notch in 2019, rumors heavily suggest that it will shrink in 2020’s iPhone 12. Either that or Apple will move it to a pill-shaped cutout in the display, a lot like the Samsung Galaxy S10+ dual selfie cameras. Wishful thinkers say that Apple will move to under-the-display Face ID scanners and be done with any sort of cutouts entirely… but we are kind of skeptical.
Currently, the rumor mill is in a bit of turmoil, as the latest reports stated that Apple gave up on the triple camera for this year’s iPhone. However, the company does want to dive deeper into AR, we know that, and the industry is moving towards triple cameras being a standard. So, it’s pretty much inevitable that if the 2019 iPhones skip the third lens, then the 2020 ones would have it.
Display: OLED you glad we switched?
Ever since the iPhone X launched in 2017, Apple has been slowly moving on to OLED screen panels and phasing the good old LCD out. In 2018, of the three new models — iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR — the XR was the only one to have an LCD panel. Rumor has it that it will also slowly move to OLED. When?
Well, initial hopes were that would happen in 2019. However, lately, the rumor mill has been saying the plans are a bit postponed. But, in 2020, we should see OLED on the full iPhone 12 lineup. Well, that’s what they say for now. Allegedly, their screens’ diagonals would measure at 5.42, 6.06, and 6.67 inches. In other words, the iPhone XS’s grandson will be a bit smaller, the XR’s successor will be around the same size, and the XS Max’s descendant will be a tad bigger than the current one.
The one question we have for that rumor is: how will Apple differentiate the XR line from then onwards? Now, the iPhone XR is noticeable the “cheaper” version because of its single camera and thick bezels due to the LCD panel. With rumors saying that the XR’s cameras are about to multiply and its screen panel will be getting upgraded, it sounds like it’s going to cannibalize its more expensive siblings real fast.
Unless Apple comes up with crazy tech to keep making the other two phones that much more enticing.
Hardware: steeds in your pocket
The Apple A12 Bionic processor is already extremely powerful. Many would argue that it’s being held back by iOS but the ultimate point is that it provides for super snappy performance and raises the iPhone XS’ computational photography to a whole new level.
Rumor has it, we haven’t seen anything yet. In 2020, Apple will introduce a new chip, built on a 5 nm process, which would supposedly kick the A12 Bionic to the curb. What’s with the nanometers? Basically, the smaller the distance between the components, the less energy they drain and the smaller the processor is. So, in terms of battery drain to productive power conversion, the less nm, the better. The current A12 is built on a 7 nm process, which is pretty impressive as it is. The projected speed boost for the 2020 Apple processors is about 15% over the current generation.
Camera: one step closer to triggering trypophobia
The triple camera modules have really exploded over the past year and word on the street is that Apple will be joining the party… sooner or later.
Currently, we are expecting the 2019 iPhones to have a triple camera module on the back (with the exception if the iPhone XR successor, which will have 2 lenses). However, the latest rumors are a bit shaky, claiming that Apple may be pushing those plans back by a year.
In other words, in 2020, we will definitely, absolutely, maybe, probably have the square-shaped chimney module on the back with at least three cameras in it. The XR’s successor is rumored to come with only 2 cameras but in the same big module.
The reason we are saying “at least” is because while we do expect a normal, telephoto, and ultra-wide-angle lens back there, but also something to help with accurate scanning of the environment to improve AR. Apple was supposed to equip its iPhones with these fancy new quantum dot sensors, but it turned out they were too expensive… so “Scratch that!”, Cupertino went.
Instead, we might see just a regular Time-of-Flight camera nestled next to the triple lenses. ToF cameras are used to better detect the environment, shapes, objects, and distances. And Apple has said time and again that it does believe that AR is the future, so that sounds likely.
Oh, also, “trypophobia” means “fear of a cluster of irregular holes, bumps or patterns”
iPhone 8S: another rerun
In 2016, we saw the revival of the iconic iPhone 5. It came back as the iPhone SE. Well, at least it’s body did — the iPhone SE was pretty much an iPhone 6s in the shell of the classic model. “Why?” you might ask? Well, believe it or not, there still were (and are) naysayers around the world who didn’t want bigger screened phones. Not to mention, they had been holding on to their iPhone 5 or iPhone 5S for so long that they had surely amassed tons of accessories for them that simply wouldn’t fit an iPhone 7.
So, Apple launched the iPhone SE to nudge these users to finally upgrade to a device that supports Apple Pay has a faster processor and a better camera.
Word on the street is that, in 2020, Apple might do the same for those that are still clasping on to their iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 units. An alleged iPhone 8S would pop up as the new “compact iPhone”, sporting the good old home button with Touch ID, but a newer and faster processor. Will it have 3D Touch, though? One can dream… But hey, since we are on the topic of finger-related things.
3D Touch and fingerprint scanners
The death of 3D Touch has been rumored about for a long, long time. Apparently, the majority of Apple users never really got into it that much and either use it very rarely or not at all. So, Cupertino has decided to kill that feature off for a couple of reasons. For one, it’ll save some extra cash that goes towards the expensive pressure-sensitive screen panels; and two, it will save some space so it can get back to making thinner iPhones again.
We’ve been hoping that these rumors are wrong for a while, but it’s slowly starting to seem like they are not. Especially with all the new controls in iOS 13 beta which are obviously added as replacements for what 3D Touch has been able to do up to this point.
Reports say that 3D Touch will be gone from 2019’s iPhones, so we definitely don’t have much hope to see it in 2020’s models.
On the topic of fingerprint scanners, the rumor mill has been kind of erratic. Some claim that Apple plans to put under-the-screen Touch ID in the near future, others insist these plans have been shelved. And we have to say, it doesn’t sound very Apple-ish if they put both Touch ID and Face ID on the iPhone. It was always about minimalism and never about stuffing the iPhone chock-full of features.
However, a very curious report came out recently, which kind of rekindled the in-display Touch ID talks. Allegedly, Apple’s thinking about producing a special iPhone version just for the Chinese market. This one would have no Face ID and would sport a fingerprint scanner embedded in the display. It’s supposed to be a bit cheaper than your regular iPhone and will be positioned to battle giants like Huawei and Xiaomi on their home turf. Interesting for sure, and it sounds like it might be an epic battle.
Where’s that 5G?
Oh, it went by so fast, you couldn’t see it. In seriousness, though, Apple is known to not be first in line when it comes to adopting technology while it’s still in its shaky stages. And that’s where 5G is — limited coverage, clunky components required to support it, and so on.
Reports say that we will see 5G iPhones in 2020 at the earliest, but some analysts say it may take them all the way to 2021 to arrive. Our take on this? Don’t sweat over 5G too much. It still has a long way to go until it expands in coverage in a reliable and realistic way. Just ask anyone with a Galaxy S10 5G.
iPhone 12 release date and price
As it is every year, we expect to see the iPhone 12 lineup announced in early- to mid-September. Price-wise, we do think that the iPhone XS generation kind of hit the price ceiling for the next few years. So, we expect the 2020 trio to cost $750, $999, and $1099. If there happens to be an iPhone 8S as some rumors suggest, it’ll probably start at about $650.