Apple’s first smartphones to support 5G networks are about to hit the streets. The new 6.1 inch iPhone 12 and 5.4 inch iPhone 12 mini are coming this month with starting prices of $799 and $699, respectively.

And next month the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max will be available for $999 and $1099 and up, with better cameras, premium design features, and a LiDAR scanner for improved depth detection.

iPhone 12

All of the new phones are powered by the same Apple A14 Bionic processor used in the latest iPad Air, and Apple says that means you can expect 50-percent better CPU and graphics performance from its phones than from any others on the market. Normally I don’t place much stock in that sort of bragging, but Apple does have a pretty strong track record of outperforming the competition in smartphone chip performance.

Here are some other highlights for the new phones:

  • The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini have a new 12MP dual camera system with support for computational photography that leverages the A14 chip for improved night mode photos and low-light video recording.
  • The iPhone 12 series phones have aluminum fames and the glass screen is covered with “ceramic shield” technology for better durability.
  • The iPhone 12 is 11 percent thinner and 16 percent lighter than the iPhone 11.
  • Apple’s iPhone 12 mini has all the same features of its larger sibling, but in a smaller package with a smaller display. I suspect a smaller battery as well.
  • The 6.1 inch iPhone 12 Pro and 6.7 inch 12 Pro Max feature stainless steel bands instead of aluminum, three rear cameras (there’s a telephoto lens) and LiDAR sensors. They also support Dolby Vision HDR video recording at 4K resolutions, and you can edit Dolby Vision HDR video on device as well.
  • All of the new phones have a MagSafe system that allows accessories including cases and wallets to snap onto the back. This also works with wireless chargers, allowing you to quickly ensure that the charger is connected properly. Wireless charging also works through supported cases and other accessories.
  • All of the phones also feature IP68 water and dust resistance ratings, which means they can be submerged in up to 6 meters of water for up to 30 minutes without suffering damage.
  • Apple is no longer shipping charging adapters or earbuds with its new iPhones to cut down on electronic waste (and cost, presumably, but the company is also using recycled rare earth materials for magnetic components of the phones, so it’s not like this is the only eco-friendly decision the company has made).

Here’s a run-down of the prices and release dates for each of Apple’s new phones:

  • iPhone 12 – Pre-order Oct 16, ships Oct 23 for $799 and up, with 64GB/128GB/256GB storage options
  • iPhone 12 mini – Pre-order Nov 6, ships Nov 13 for $699 and up with 64GB/128GB/256GB options
  • iPhone 12 Pro – Pre-order Oct 16, ships Oct 23 for $999 and up with 128GB/256GB/512GB options
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max – Pre-order Nov 6, ships Nov 13 for $1099 and up with 128GB/256GB/512GB options

Apple will also continue to sell the iPhone SE for $399 and up, the iPhone XR for $499 and up, and the iPhone 11 for $599 and up for folks looking for a better bargain on an iOS smartphone.

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  1. I don’t care much for the lighter colors, but it looks nice in the dark colors. Overall, another very nice phone. The big takeaway for me is the price, Apple now has cheaper flagship phones than many of their competitors, and some really great mid-range phones to boot. I still don’t think I’ll own any Apple product any time soon, but these phones, for these prices, it’s dang near impossible to recommend something like a Galaxy S20 when the new iPhone 12 Pro/ProMax are actually as cheap or cheaper. I hope this puts pressure on other manufacturers to offer more for less.

    1. Yeah, I’m probably going to pull the trigger on a Pixel 4a 5G when it goes on sale soon because I want the wide-angle camera that you don’t get on the cheaper Pixel 4a. But as someone who uses my phone for photography a lot, a $699 iPhone 12 mini with a much faster processor and much better video recording is tempting. What’s keeping me from switching is largely that I’ve spent most of the last decade acquainting myself with Android, so I’d probably be frustrated by all sorts of little differences (not to mention the need to pay again for some apps I’ve already purchased).

      1. Yeah. Personally I won’t be switching to Apple (like, ever) because I hate their OS (the restrictions, the walls, the clunky clunky file manager that requires too many steps to get things from one app to another), but I have to admit that this announcement includes various nice things:
        a manageable size (for one handed use) with full fledged specs (which Frankly only Sony does on Android right now)
        finally upped their screen resolutions
        strong durability and IP rating
        a good range of prices (especially when including the older models)

        The one thing that makes me chuckle though is the affordable options. Wasn’t it just like two years ago that they stopped reporting number of handsets sold and basically they would increase their financial growth by upping prices? I think they finally realized that that wasn’t so practical after all…

        1. Reading this on my phablet size phone operating it with one hand. :B

          (What size do we even call phablet size these days? It doesn’t matter.)

      2. I’m in the same boat, Brad. I’m really tempted to get the iPhone 12 Mini, but the only thing holding me back is that my app needs are unique to Android, and also there are some things that iOS just doesn’t allow me to do.

        I’ve narrowed it down to 3 specific needs:
        – local file system management. I store lots of local files, including audio and videos. iOS is far too limited in what I can do with local file directories.

        network folder access. theres not a sufficient solution on iOS for me to access network folders (samba, etc), and let me transfer to and from my phone.
        classic video game emulators. Apple’s app store policies are enough to keep me away. if I can download a Gameboy Advance emulator, Dosbox, Scummvm, etc, then I can’t switch to iPhone. I often travel with an Xbox One controller paired to my phone to play games on the plane.

        1. I generally agree. The advantage I see about being tied to Android is that there’s still choice of manufacturers and models, which is valuable to me. I agree about Apple’s restrictions with their OS, plus I’ve never liked how they largely do business. So while I’ll keep track of what Apple does, where I differ from you is that I’m not tempted by their mini model, not that there’s anything wrong with that. When it comes to buying phones, Apple simply doesn’t exist to me.

    2. Germany prices: Samsung S20 gray (base model, I’ve looked up a color someone would actually want to buy), 625 euros from reputable brick and mortar chain, not even the Amazon Prime deal. iPhone 12 (base model) pre-order from 778.85 euros on Apple’s German site. The odd price is because VAT is temporarily reduced from 19% to 16% because of the virus.

      If you find the S20 to be more expensive then the iPhone 12 Pro it has more to do with monopolistic tendencies specific to your country (the United States? I guess) than free market prices that apply to most folks around the world. Both Apple and Samsung cater to a global customer base, not only to US customers of course. Something to keep in mind.

      1. Thats a failure on Apple’s part. They’ve been criticized for years over their terrible pricing outside of the US. They’ve learned how to cheat the tax system in their own country, but not elsewhere.

        1. Not exactly sure where do you want to get to. As one of the largest corporations in the world by market capitalization Apple sure knows how to price its products. It’s a for profit company after all.

          There is also a difference between the MSRP (in case of the new iPhone 12, which is not even available to pre-order yet) and street price (in case of the S20, which has been available for like 6 months by now).