Apple has taken the wraps off the new iPhone 12 Pro series. During an online-only keynote, the company revealed its two newest Pro-grade smartphones consisting of the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.
The big new feature? 5G. Apple touted Verizon’s new nationwide 5G network up on stage during the event, and the company made it a priority to try and hype up 5G as much as it could. Slide after slide showed you what’s possible thanks to 5G despite the technology not being as widespread as some might think. Truth be told, you probably shouldn’t buy the iPhone 12 Pro or 12 Pro Max because they have 5G. It just won’t come in handy like you think it might.
Both devices offer the same structural redesign as the rest of Apple’s iPhone 12 line in which they opt for flat stainless steel sides and flat front/back glass. Apple uses its new Ceramic Shield glass developed in cooperation with Corning for the front which infuses nano-ceramic crystals and makes it 4x more likely to survive a drop. I’m not sure why they didn’t put it on the back, but since screen cracks seem to be more of an issue I can kind of understand.
The iPhone 12 Pros stick with same element layout as virtually every modern iPhone. That includes Lightning ports, mute switches, volume/power buttons, and stereo speakers. They also stick with notches for Face ID. Luckily, it seems like they’re a touch smaller than previous iterations, although that difference will only matter when you compare the iPhone 12 Pro to an older model like the iPhone 11 Pro.
The new iPhones are also IP68 certified for dust and water resistance.
Screen size has changed on both the standard Pro and the Pro Max. The smaller of the two has a 6.1-inch 2532×1170 Super Retina XDR OLED display. Meanwhile, the larger model has a 6.7-inch 2778×1284 Super Retina XDR OLED display. That’s the largest screen ever on an iPhone. Unfortunately, neither of these models come with a 120Hz refresh rate which is a pretty big disappointment. I guess we’ll have to wait until iPhone 13 to finally get a smoother display on an iPhone.
Under the hood, Apple packs its A14 Bionic processor built on a 5nm process. It’s the same chip found in the new iPad Air. Apple says its up to 50 percent faster compared to competing smartphone chips which likely means it’ll smoke Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865. The company also includes its 16-core Neural Engine that improves machine learning performance.
On the back of the iPhone 12 Pro, Apple includes a main 12MP f/1.6 lens, an ultra-wide 12MP f/2.4 lens, and a telephoto 12MP f/2.0 lens. The company says the main sensor has 27 percent improved low-light performance thanks to the updated hardware, while the 52mm focal length telephoto camera can optically zoom up to 4x.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max, on the other hand, tells a slightly different story. It too has a triple 12MP camera setup, but the main sensor boasts a 47 percent larger sensor with 1.7μm pixels for a pretty big 87 percent improvement in low-light. The telephoto camera also has a 65mm focal length for improved zoom-in shots. Speaking of which, the sensor allows you to optically zoom in up to 5x.
Across both models, Apple includes improvements to Night mode which now works on all the cameras, including the new 12MP TrueDepth selfie shooter. You also get Night mode in Time-Lapse, improved Deep Fusion across all cameras, and Smart HDR 3. On the video side, Apple lets you shoot in up to 4K at 60 frames per second with support for Dolby Vision HDR, improving each frame as you record your videos.
On both phones, Apple also includes a new LiDAR sensor which can measure light distance and utilize pixel depth information for more impressive portrait shots, fast autofocus, and reduced capture time. So technically, there are four cameras on the new iPhone 12 Pros, although you can’t directly take a photo wiht the LiDAR element.
Apple is also promising a new feature called ProRAW which will be shipping later this year. It essentially lets you take a beefed-up RAW image with your iPhone using Apple’s multiframe image processing and computational photography. You’ll get full control over color, detail, and dynamic range right on your phone in addition to inside third-party photo editing applications.
While speaking about what’s on the back of the new iPhone 12 Pros, it’s worth mentioning the wireless charging situation. It’s present on both models, but now Apple gives you an alternative way to juice up your device without having to plug in a cable: MagSafe.
That’s right, folks. Apple has revived its MagSafe brand from the MacBook and brought it over to the iPhone. Now, you can purchase a magnetic puck which connects to the back of your phone and wirelessly charges at up to 15W. It’s definitely a better solution than trying to guess where the coils line up inside the phone and on top your wireless charging pad.
Using the same magnetic connection, Apple is also introducing a lineup of new magnetic accessories like cases and detachable wallets. Third parties can also create new accessories for the feature. I can definitely see MagSafe being a popular feature for these new iPhones, especially since it seems so convenient.
Much like the situation with the new MagSafe charger, you’ll have to buy a power brick separately. That’s because Apple no longer includes a wall adapter in the box with the iPhone 12 series. All you get is the phone, some instructions, and a USB-C to Lightning cable. It’s aimed at reducing e-waste since a) it won’t have to ship power bricks that might not get used in the first place and b) it can ship up to 70 percent more phones since less volume is taken up thanks to the slimmer packaging.
The iPhone 12 Pro series will ship in Graphite, Silver, Gold, and Pacific Blue. The iPhone 12 Pro starts at $999 while the iPhone 12 Pro Max starts at $1,099. The former goes up for preorder this Friday, October 16th and launches October 23rd. Meanwhile, the latter will go up for preorder November 6th and launch November 13th.