Rumor Roundup: Everything We Know About the iPhone 12 Pro & 12 Pro Max

Everything We Know About the iPhone 12 Pro & 12 Pro Max

The iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max are great upgrades to the iPhone XS and XS Max, introducing an excellent camera system, A13 Bionic chip, and new design choices. Still, there's a sentiment in the smartphone community that Apple didn't do enough with the 11 line to warrant an upgrade from the 2018 iPhones. Based on the latest rumors, it appears 2020 is looking to change that.

If you're looking for rumors about an iPhone 11 successor, as in Apple's "cheaper" iPhone option, you'll want to keep an eye out for the iPhone 12. The rumors here concern only the "Pro" iPhone line. You know, the iPhones we expect to cost $1,000 and up.

Jump to a section: Names | Dates | Storage | Prices | Body | Basics | Display | Performance | Battery | Cameras | Audio | Sensors | Connectivity | Security | Software | In the Box

Names

Apple used to have it easy when it came to naming conventions. Introduce a new number every one year, tack an "S" on it the next. Rinse and repeat. Then, the iPhone X came along the same year as the iPhone 8. Where do you go from there? XS, XS Max, and XR, apparently. Last year brought some sanity back to the mix — iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max are easy enough to follow. So what about 2020?

There are no rumors yet about what Apple is leaning towards for names. For the time being, we'll go with iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

  • iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max

Dates

Let's face it — it's way too early to know when the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max will be announced. It's usually too early in the weeks leading up to the event, let alone months. That said, we imagine Apple will follow suit with past releases, making an announcement in September of 2020, with preorders going live the following Friday and the official release one week after that.

  • Announcement date: September 2020
  • Preorder date: September 2020
  • Release date: September 2020

Storage

We haven't seen any critical rumors about storage size this year. Apple has made strides in the past few years, dropping the terrible 16 GB base storage option in favor of 64 GB. That said, we'd like to see Apple go even further. Make 128 GB standard for the base model iPhones, then up it to 256 GB. We don't even have a 128 GB option at the moment — it just right from 64 GB to 256 GB, for a considerable fee.

  • Storage available: likely 64 GB , 256 GB, 512 GB
  • Expandable storage: no

Prices

When it comes to the Pro iPhone models, we all know what Apple's going to do — $999 minimum for the 12 Pro and $1,099 for the 12 Pro Max. That's the price Apple's set for its premium iPhone since the X. Look, it's not within the realm of impossibility that Apple toys with a price reduction. The iPhone 11, after all, costs $100 less than the iPhone XR's original price. Still, we expect the brick price tag to remain the same.

  • iPhone 12 Pro Price: likely $999, $1,149, and $1,349
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max Price: likely $1,099, $1,249, and $1,449
  • AppleCare+: likely $199 or $299 (or $9.99 or $14.99 each month)

Body

The 2020 iPhones could be the biggest design change since the iPhone X, a welcome change for all of us a bit bored with the three-year-old design. Interestingly, we might see an iPhone that resembles the 4 and 5, as well as recent iPad Pros — more square than round, with raised sides. You can see that in these designs by PhoneArena, based on design reports by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Image by PhoneArena/YouTube

We'll talk more about the 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max's 5G capabilities down below, but for the time being, know that the rumors point to a larger antenna line design to accommodate this new technology. The antenna lines could be made from glass, ceramic, or sapphire.

  • Frame: possibly stainless steel
  • Back: likely glass
  • Finish: unknown

Basics

It's tough to say at this time what the dimensions for the 12 Pros will be. In the past, we could assume Apple would keep the measurements somewhat similar, but considering this year's design refresh, we could see some more significant changes in that department.

  • Height: unknown
  • Width: unknown
  • Depth: unknown
  • Weight: unknown
  • Dust/water resistance: likely IP68 under IEC standard 60529
  • Mobile network operators: likely AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon

For the environmental operating requirements, it's been the same since the iPhone 7, so we don't expect any change.

  • Operating temp: 32° to 95° F
  • Nonoperating temp: -4° to 113° F
  • Relative humidity: 5–95% noncondensing
  • Operating altitude: up to 10,000 feet (though could be more)

Display

The 2019 iPhone lineup features recycled device sizes — the iPhone 11 Pro copies the same screen size as both the iPhone XS and X, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max has the same size displays as the XS Max.

One prediction from Kuo suggests the 2020 lineup features refreshed screen sizes for the two premium models. The 11 Pro Max successor could see a jump in size from 6.5 inches to 6.7, while the 11 Pro successor actually sees a reduction from 5.7 inches to 5.4. That smaller size might sound surprising, but it makes sense for Apple to target users who find even the 11 Pro size a bit too large.

If you listen to Kuo today, however, the 12 Pro might come in at 6.1 inches. A more recent prediction from the analyst suggests that Apple plans to release four iPhones this year; one 5.4-inch, two 6.1-inch, and one 6.7-inch model. The former two will include two cameras, suggesting they're the "budget" options, while the latter two will feature three cameras, suggesting they're the "Pro" versions.

Have you been holding out for higher refresh rates? 2020 might be your year. Apple leaker Ice Universe claims Apple is thinking about a variable display that can alternate between 60 Hz and 120 Hz.

Another major rumor? Economic Daily reports Apple is considering implementing in-display fingerprint reader in the 2020 iPhones. In-display fingerprints aren't new — Samsung, OnePlus, and other major OEMs have added this technology to their flagships in recent years. It would, however, be a major step for Apple. The last new iPhone to include any kind of fingerprint reader with the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, as Face ID became the standard for dealing with authentication in iOS.

Finally, let's talk notches. Yes, the notch. First introduced with the iPhone X in 2017, the notch was famously mocked for its design, then copied by almost every smartphone OEM in the world. Nowadays, OEMs have found workarounds to reduce or even eliminate this notch design. Will Apple do the same? Tough to say. Some reports show Apple planning a design much like the recent iPad Pros, with the Face ID cameras tucked away in the thin bezel at the top of the display. Others, however, point to a smaller notch, which provides extra screen real-estate, but still looks odd compared to recent Galaxy or OnePlus phones.

  • Screen size: 5.4 inches or 6.1 inches (12 Pro) and 6.7 inches (12 Pro Max)
  • Screen resolution: unknown
  • Pixel density: likely 458 ppi
  • Screen type: likely OLED, Super Retina XDR
  • HDR: likely Dolby Vision and HDR10
  • Notch: likely yes
  • Screen-to-body ratio: currently unknown
  • Aspect ratio: likely 19.5:9
  • Minimum brightness: Unknown
  • Maximum brightness: likely 1,200 nits
  • Refresh rate: 60 Hz, possbily 120 Hz
  • Color temperature: Unknown
  • 3D Touch: likely no

Performance

At this point, we know Apple is going to put its latest chipset into the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max. TSMC is reported to be nearing production on the A14, a continuation of the A13 Bionic chip found in last year's devices. Rumors also point to the chip being 5 nanometer in size, which could make it the first of its kind to hit the market.

Johnny Cross of Macworld believes the A14 could match the 15-inch MacBook Pro's power, which would be an incredible achievement for Apple's mobile chipset. Cross says if the A14 really packs in 15-billion transistors, he could see the new iPhones breaking 5,000 on Geekbench's multi-core score, the same score territory the 15-inch MacBook Pro currently holds.

  • Memory: possibly 4 GB RAM
  • Processor: likely Apple A14
  • Chip size: likely 7 nanometer
  • Coprocessor: unknown
  • CPU frequency: unknown
  • CPU cores: unknown
  • GPU: Apple-designed (unknown model)
  • GPU cores: unknown

Battery

Rumors suggest the 2020 iPhones could see larger batteries due to new circuitry. How much larger those batteries may be is unclear, but thanks to a smaller module inside the new iPhones, there might be more room to expand battery size.

  • Battery: likely rechargeable lithium-ion
  • Capacity: Unknown
  • Wireless charging: likely yes, Qi standard (7.5 W)
  • Charging port: likely Lightning
  • Wired charging: likely yes, USB PD (18 W)

Cameras

According to Kuo, the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max will exclusively ship with 3D "Time of Flight" (ToF) cameras. This type of camera system allows for greater application of AR, a field that Apple has been pushing for years now.

Depending on who you ask, the 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max might come with either three or four cameras. According to Kuo, the Pros will sport a triple-camera system similar to those on the 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max. At the same time, other reports suggest the fourth camera could be the ToF camera mentioned above. Kuo also reports that high-end smartphones in 2020 will feature longer optical zooms, although he doesn't specify if the iPhone will be among them.

Image by PhoneArena/YouTube

DigiTimes claims that Apple will be adding "sensor-shift" stabilization to the pro iPhones this year, which brings stabilization directly to the camera sensor itself.

Other than that, there's not much out there about any of the new cameras. For now, we simply must expect an upgrade of some sort, alongside carrying the quality of the 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max's camera.

Front Camera

  • Resolution (Photos): likely at least 12 MP
  • Resolution (Videos): likely 1080p and 4K
  • Max frame rate: likely 60 fps for 1080p and 4K
  • Slow motion: likely yes, 1080p at 120 fps
  • Aperture: likely at least ƒ/2.2
  • Zoom: unknown
  • Flash: likely screen-based
  • Image stabilization: likely software-based
  • RAW support: likely no
  • Object detection: likely bodies, faces, winks, tongues

Rear Camera (Photos)

  • Resolution: likely at least 12 MP (wide-angle), 12 MP (telephoto), 12 MP (ultrawide)
  • Aperture: likely at least f/1.8 (wide-angle), f/2.0 (standard), f/2.4 (ultrawide)
  • Zoom: likely at least 2x optical, 10x digital
  • Flash: likely Quad-LED True Tone flash with Slow Sync
  • Image stabilization: possibly sensor-shift, wide-angle and telephoto
  • Time of Flight lens: likely yes
  • RAW support: likely yes
  • Lens cover: likely sapphire crystal
  • Object detection: likely bodies, faces
  • Formats: likely HEIF, JPEG, RAW
  • HDR: likely Smart HDR

Rear Camera (Video)

  • Resolution: likely 720p, 1080p and 4K
  • Max frame rate: likely 30 fps for 720; 60 fps for 1080p and 4K
  • Slow motion: likely yes, 1080p at 120 or 240 fps
  • Time-lapse: likely yes, with stabilization
  • Photos: likely at least 8 MP stills while recording 4K
  • Zoom: likely at least 4x optical, 6x digital
  • Flash: likely Quad-LED True Tone flash
  • Image stabilization: possibly sensor-shift
  • Lens cover: likely sapphire crystal
  • Object detection: likely bodies, faces
  • Audio: likely stereo sound
  • Formats: likely H.264, H.65 (HEVC)

Audio

No rumors yet, but it's safe to say the headphone jack isn't coming back (neither is the adapter).

  • 3.5 mm headphone jack: likely no
  • Stereo speakers: likely yes
  • Mics: likely three total (on rear, front, and bottom)
  • Max speaker volume: unknown

Sensors

We expect the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max to carry on the sensors of its predecessors.

  • Sensors: GPS, barometer, accelerometer, three-axis gyroscope, proximity sensor, barometer, digital compass

Connectivity

While some were disappointed by the lack of 5G in the 2019 lineup of iPhones, 2020 seems to be another story altogether. According to Kuo, the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max will feature 5G connectivity for both mmWave and sub-6 GHz bands, increasing the lifespan of the devices with regards to connectivity speeds. That's backed up by reports that Apple is implementing wider antennas in the design to compensate for 5G.

That said, Kuo has some doubters. Analyst Susquehanna claims that only sub-6 GHz bands will be supported this year, with mmWave technology coming to future iPhones. The latter supports speeds of up to 1 Gbps, while the former supports a range between 100–150 Mbps. Kuo subsequently followed up with a later report confirming support for mmWave 5G, appearing confident in his earlier statement.

Why did it take Apple so long to implement 5G in the first place? CNET notes that waiting an extra year could have made things a lot easier for Apple. 5G phones need both a 5G chip and 5G modem inside, whereas future chips (like the one built for a 2020 iPhone) could combine these functions into one.

  • Wi-Fi: likely 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6)
  • Bluetooth: likely 5
  • NFC: likely yes
  • Cellular: likely dual Nano-SIM card tray, Gigabit-class LTE and 5G
  • Port: likely Lightning
  • Other: likely iBeacon microlocation, AirPlay, AirDrop

Security

The only rumored upgrade in security this year revolves around the in-display fingerprint reader. Face ID appears unlikely to change unless we see reports of Apple improving its technology. Right now, Face ID has a "one-in-a-million" chance of failure according to Apple, so it will be interesting to see how secure its new in-display fingerprint scanning is by comparison.

USB restricted mode will surely be present as well. The feature prevents third-party devices from connecting to your iPhone via USB and extracting your data. When the feature is enabled, you need a passcode to authenticate yourself when plugging your iPhone into a computer.

  • Security: possibly Face ID, Touch ID, and USB restricted mode

Software

The iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max will most likely be running iOS 14, which Apple will probably have been testing since June 2020's WWDC. However, given any hiccups or advancements with the software, Apple could ship the new iPhones with a later build of iOS 14, something like iOS 14.0.1 or 14.1.

  • Software: likely iOS 14

Built-in features will likely include Wi-Fi or cellular FaceTime video calls, FaceTime audio, voice over LTE (VoLTE), Wi-Fi calling, and full Siri support. A variety of language options, QuickType keyboard, Siri, dictation, dictionaries, and spell check, will also likely be available.

The following audio files will probably be supported — AAC-LC, HE-AAC, HE-AAC v2, Protected AAC, MP3, Linear PCM, Apple Lossless, FLAC, Dolby Digital (AC-3), Dolby Digital Plus (E-AC-3), Dolby Atmos, and Audible (formats 2, 3, 4, Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX, and AAX+) files. Video playback support likely includes HEVC, H.264, MPEG-4 Part 2, and Motion JPEG, as well as High Dynamic Range with Dolby Vision and HDR10 content.

In the Box

AirPods, anyone? There's a rumor going around that Apple is going to include its wireless earbuds in the box with your iPhone 12 Pro or 12 Pro Max. Would that raise prices? Who knows! All I know is, I assumed that was the plan when Apple announced AirPods to begin with. I guess they preferred taking an extra $159 from its users. Go figure.

Other than AirPods, we expect the rest of the iPhone box to stay the same:

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Cover image by PhoneArena/YouTube

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