- 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display
- Ceramic Shield, tougher than any smartphone glass
- A14 Bionic chip, the fastest chip ever in a smartphone
- Advanced dual-camera system with 12MP Ultra Wide and Wide cameras; Night mode, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 3, 4K Dolby Vision HDR recording
- 12MP TrueDepth front camera with Night mode, 4K Dolby Vision HDR recording
- Industry-leading IP68 water resistance
- Supports MagSafe accessories for easy attach and faster wireless charging
- iOS with redesigned widgets on the Home screen, all-new App Library, App Clips and more
The iPhone 12 features a 6.1-inch (15 cm) display with Super Retina XDR OLED technology at a resolution of 2532×1170 pixels and a pixel density of about 460 ppi. The iPhone 12 Mini features a 5.4-inch (14 cm) display with the same technology at a resolution of 2340×1080 pixels and a pixel density of about 476 ppi.
5G. The 5G technology in all four new iPhone 12 models supports both sub-6GHz and mmWave networks. The sub-6GHz spectrum is more pervasive, can travel farther, and is more resistant to interference. But it's also more crowded, limiting its actual speed. In contrast, mmWave is much faster but is more susceptible to interference and so works best only at close range to cell towers. In the US, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless offer both types of networks, but mmWave is considered the up-and-comer, especially by Verizon.
The major carriers have been rolling out their 5G networks, but access, especially in the US, remains limited to major cities. So, unless you live in the right spot you're not going to see better performance with just a 5G smartphone.
SEE: 5G smartphone shipments forecast to grow by more than 1,500% this year (TechRepublic)
Adding 5G does make the iPhone 12 lineup more future-proof, as 5G should be more ubiquitous in a couple of years as coverage expands. This aspect is important since budget-conscious consumers are holding onto their smartphones longer than in the past. Of course, Samsung and other Android phone vendors have been equipping their phones with 5G, so Apple needs the feature if only to stay competitive.
Since 5G can be a drain on the battery, Apple has wisely introduced a Smart Data Mode feature. When 5G is not needed, the phone automatically drills down to 4G.
Processor. The latest iPhones are powered by the new A14 Bionic processor, which is also found in the 2020 iPad Air 4 announced in September. As Apple's most advanced mobile chip yet, the A14 is designed to improve performance and save on battery life. The new six-core processor has four high-efficiency cores and two high-performance cores.
Using a new and innovative 5nm process, this latest chip is home to 11.8 billion transistors, up from the 8.5 billion in last year's A13 Bionic. The higher transistor count means that the A14 is not only faster but more power-efficient. Moving from 8 to 16 cores, the A14's neural engine can process 11 trillion operations per second, increasing the speed of computations and machine learning.
Display. All four new iPhones sport OLED screens outfitted with Apple's Super Retina XDR display and High Dynamic Range (HDR). Offering a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio and 1,200 nits of maximum brightness, these are some of the most advanced screens ever built into an iPhone. Taken together, these features provide superior image quality, greater energy efficiency, more accurate colors, and better contrast over traditional LCD screens.
Ceramic Shield Screen. Through a feature called Ceramic Shield, the iPhone 12 includes ceramic in its front glass display, thus making the screen tougher and more drop resistant. This process works by adding a new high-temperature crystallization method that grows nano-ceramic crystals within the glass matrix. Based on Apple's testing, Ceramic Shield increases the iPhone 12's drop performance by four times over the iPhone 11.
Rear cameras. The iPhone mini and iPhone 12 sport two 12-megapixel rear cameras--one wide and one ultrawide. The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max have three 12-megapixel rear cameras--wide, ultrawide, and telephoto. Plus, the two Pro models devote the fourth lens for LiDAR mapping to measure the distance and depth of objects more accurately, a feature of benefit to augmented reality apps. The wide camera boasts an ƒ/1.6 aperture, the fastest yet on an iPhone, which Apple says will provide 27% more light in low-light conditions.
The 12-megapixel telephoto cameras found in the two iPhone 12 Pro models offer an ƒ/2.0 aperture with a 52mm focal length, a 4x or 5x optical zoom range, and optical image stabilization.
On the video front, the rear cameras on the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 can shoot HDR video with Dolby Vision up to 30 fps, while the ones on the two Pro iPhone 12 models can shoot HDR video with Dolby Vision up to 60 fps.
Front camera. The iPhone 12's front-facing 12-megapixel camera offers an ƒ/2.2 aperture and can shoot HDR video with Dolby Vision up to 30 fps.
QuickTake. Introduced with iOS 13 on the iPhone 11, the QuickTake feature lets you tap and hold the shutter button to take a quick video while you're composing a regular still photo. That video then appears as a short clip in your Photos library.
Night Mode. This camera mode is automatically enabled when it's dark enough to use it, and it works with the new camera sensors to make low-light photos pop. Night Mode takes shorter and longer frames and merges them automatically for better low-light performance. All four iPhone 12 models incorporate Night Mode on both the rear and front cameras. The new Night mode Time-Lapse feature provides longer exposure times, better lighting, and smoother exposure for time-lapse photography when your phone is on a tripod.
Smart HDR 3. The Smart HDR feature uses the new camera sensors to capture better HDR shots and Portrait mode shots.
ApplePro Raw. Built into the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max, this feature allows you to capture photos in a RAW format but with all the advanced camera tools and technologies to enhance the image. You can also edit ApplePro Raw images directly in the iPhone's Photos app and other third-party apps.
Design. In a major design change, the newest iPhones have shifted away from the rounded edges of the iPhone 11 and reverted to the flat-edged shape last seen on the iPhone 5 and currently found on the iPad Pro.
MagSafe. Introduced with the iPhone 12 lineup, MagSafe improves the wireless charging built into the phone for faster and more accurate charging. But there's more. MagSafe also offers a magnetic base through with accessories can attach themselves to the phone. As one example, Apple has touted a MagSafe compatible thin wallet that attaches itself to the back of the phone.
Battery. The batteries in the iPhone 12 models will be 10% larger than the ones in the iPhone 11 due to the extra drain taken by 5G. The iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max promise at least an hour longer of time on a single charge, but the iPhone 12 mini's battery life is more limited due to its smaller size.
Colors. The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 come in the traditional white and black but also blue, green, and red. The iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max are available in blue, gold, graphite, and silver.
More features in the iPhone 12
The iPhone 12 family also includes these shared features.
- Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) for up to 38% faster download speeds.
- Better dust and water resistance: IP68 rating on iPhone 12 Pro for up to 4 meters of water at up to 30 minutes.
- Fast-charging for up to 50% battery capacity in just 30 minutes.
- Audio sharing with two sets of AirPods to Beats headphones on a single iPhone.
- Spatial audio that simulates surround sound
- Dolby Atmos that simulates sound moving around in a 3D space
- Dual SIM with eSIM
To keep down the prices of the new phones and reduce the carbon footprint of accessories, Apple is selling the iPhone 12 without earbuds or charging plugs in the box. The only accessory in the box is the standard Lightning to USB-C cable. Apple also likely expects that many buyers already have earbuds and USB chargers on hand.