The anticipation over if and when a fall 2020 iPhone release would happen reached a fever pitch this summer as the industry waited to see how economic downturns and production bottlenecks caused by COVID-19 affected smartphone manufacturers. Apple is notoriously tight-lipped about both release dates and iPhone details, making speculation harder than ever. As with all of Apple’s top-secret releases, the information we’re working with comes mostly from analyst predictions and factory leaks—but as of this past week, Apple officials have already announced significant updates.
We can start by putting to bed some rumors regarding a potential unveiling date for the 2020 iPhone. Many insiders were betting their money on a big announcement on September 10 after a 5G iPhone streaming event was scheduled on Apple’s YouTube page. Of course, that date has now come and gone without any big reveal by Apple. The next big wave of hype regarding iPhone 12 release date rumors had to do with an Apple event that took place on September 15 at 10 a.m. on the West Coast. While the big event turned out to be a bit of a bust, we did get some breaking information from Apple regarding its plans for the next few months.
What Did We Learn from Apple’s September Announcement?
Apple’s event on September 15 focused on announcing the brand’s new Apple Watch 6, Apple Watch SE, and iPads. The big “switch up” surprised essentially all industry insiders and journalists. If you didn’t catch the show, here’s a look at the highlights:
- The Apple Watch Series 6 (starting at $399) will have a health sensor that measures your blood oxygen saturation. Powered by a new S6 chip, the watch comes equipped with a dual-core processor. The watch will stay on with a stretchable silicone loop called Solo Loop. And, perhaps even more exciting than the features, pre-ordering officially opened to consumers!
- The Apple Watch SE, the less expensive alternative to the Series 6 (starting at $279), is equipped with fall detection, a built-in accelerometer, gyroscope, and altimeter that’s all powered by the S5 chip.
- The USB power adapter is being removed from all Apple watches.
- A new Family Setup feature will now allow users to manage multiple Apple Watches from a single iPhone
- A new iPad Air features a 5nm A14 Bionic chip, an all-screen design with a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display using 2360 x 1640 resolution, and a 12-megapixel rear camera with enhanced stabilization.
- A fitness subscription called Fitness Plus will cost $9.99 per month.
- New Apple One subscription bundles that combine entertainment and storage will start at $14.95 per month.
- Software upgrades for iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, and tvOS 14 have been released.
September’s announcement was a little bit like Christmas for people who eat up Apple news. But it left a lot to be desired for phone resellers looking to anticipate market changes within the next few months. We’re still waiting on an announcement regarding the iPhone 12 that now looks like it will be pushed into October.
What Is the New Date for the iPhone 12 Release?
An October release isn’t completely an outside-the-box move for Apple. This is still consistent with Apple’s trend of making announcements in the fall ahead of the holiday shopping season that’s been in place since 2011. However, we’re still looking at an unveiling date that’s later than what Apple’s done in nearly a decade.
There may have been clues all along that September wasn’t the month. You may recall that Apple’s CFO all but confirmed a delay for this year’s iPhone rollout back in July. During a briefing for Apple’s third-quarter 2020 financial results, it was stated that the delay could be a few weeks beyond the normal launch date.
The new date for the iPhone 12 release is likely to happen in October (the iPhone 4S was announced October 2011). It’s unlikely that Apple would try to squeeze another launch in September because that’s simply not on brand. From a PR standpoint, launching a phone at the end of October could cause the buzz to be buried a bit in the news cycle due to the election being just days away. Nikkei Asian Review reported that Apple is beginning production on its 5G iPhone 12 in the middle of September, which makes a launch in the middle of October very likely. Keep in mind, too, that Apple generally likes to do launch events on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. If we’re basing our guess on Apple’s historical trends, our best bet is that the iPhone 12 may release October 13 or October 14. Of course, 2020 is a year where Apple has already been forced to break some of its own rules, so it’s all speculation.
The Big Question: Will the Fall 2020 iPhone Have 5G?
One of the biggest Apple iPhone 12 rumors is that all models will have 5G, and we are confident that the newest iPhones will have 5G access, but that will all be confirmed on the new iPhone 12 release date. We also know that the design of the iPhone has likely been adjusted to accommodate for the larger antenna needed for 5G reception. The fact that such a drastic reconfiguration was needed reinforces our speculation that Apple would go ahead and add 5G to every phone.
What Do We Know About Names?
If Apple follows the existing theme for its 2019 lineup (iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max), we can expect to see an iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone Pro Max. Rumor has it that there may be a fourth model introduced between the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro: the iPhone 12 Max, which would have 4GB of RAM (like the iPhone 12) but the dimensions of the iPhone 12 Pro (which has 6GB of RAM).
There’s strong potential for all of the devices to come preloaded with iOS 14. While dimensions have not been confirmed, leaked plans for iPhone cases from factories provide some likely possibilities. Here’s a look:
- iPhone 12: 5.4 inches
- iPhone 12 Max: 6.1 inches
- iPhone 12 Pro: 6.1 inches
- iPhone 12 Pro Max: 6.7 inches
We also have some strong style speculations to work with for fall 2020. The updated iPhone design will likely have a metal frame with squared edges. The new models will likely share a strong resemblance with the old iPhone 4 or iPad Pro. We suspect the new iPhone will have a thinner body (7.4 millimeters) with a thicker camera bump (1.26 millimeters). We’re also looking for a rear, triple-lens camera and 3D sensor, and can expect a front speaker integrated into the phone’s bezel. These projected details give us a good idea of what the phone’s setup may be from an aesthetic standpoint to accommodate these specs.
Camera and Tech Thoughts on the 2020 iPhone
The new iPhone will likely have LiDAR-assisted auto-focus. We’re also expecting advanced video modes (4K at 120fps/240fps slo-mo). The anticipated spec list includes enhanced long-exposure night mode, enhanced noise reduction, bit-depth videos, and improved zoom capabilities. It’s also speculated that all new iPhone models are going to have OLED display technology.
We covered the rumor that all fall 2020 iPhone models will have 5G earlier; however, there will still be performance variances between the tiers. One of the bigger iPhone 12 Pro rumors is that only the Pro and above will have mmWave speeds.
It’s looking more and more like all fall 2020 iPhone models will have a 5-nanometer A14 chip manufactured by TSMC. This is good news because it means Apple has found a way to deliver speed, efficiency, and gains in battery life. Battery life is a critical concern now that Apple is making the jump to 5G because 5G simply uses more battery power. Users aren’t going to be happy if they’re jumping to an upgraded phone that ultimately gives them a battery downgrade.
The final batch of rumors to cover for the fall 2020 iPhone revolves around body and placement. Look for slightly larger camera lenses across the board. If the 5G rumors are true, Apple needs to include thicker antenna lines to accommodate for the 5G spectrum. Of course, that means making up for space elsewhere on the body of the device. This is why most insiders strongly believe that Apple is moving the SIM tray to the phone’s left side to make room for the 5G antenna. Many are also anticipating the removal of one of the speaker holes. Lastly, Apple will most likely make up for the shift in landscape on the body of the phone by moving the power button lower.
How Much Will the iPhone 12 Be?
Based on the above specs and updates, analysts predict that the iPhone 12 will begin at $649 for 128GB and go up to $749 at 256GB. The other models are as follows:
- iPhone 12 Max: $749 (128GB), $849 (256GB)
- iPhone 12 Pro: $999 (128GB), $1,099 (256GB), $1,299 (512GB)
- iPhone 12 Pro Max: $1,099 (128GB), $1,199 (256GB), $1,399 (512GB)
Where Apple Might Cut Costs or Make Changes for Accessories
We know that 2020 has been a tough year for Apple as it faces challenge after challenge related to manufacturing and economic hurdles. As a result, we can assume that Apple will probably cut costs to make its fall 2020 launch as profitable as possible. The main thinking among analysts is that Apple will be doing away with Apple EarPods to cut both production and packaging costs. There’s also some thinking around the idea that Apple will be leaving out a power adapter for similar reasons. We may see Apple decide to provide a 20W power adapter for separate purchase. Lastly, Apple may upgrade the USB-C to a lighting cable or offer a braided cable.
Closing Thoughts on Apple’s Upcoming Fall 2020 Release
It may be well into October before anyone can get an accurate idea of what a 5G phone will really bring. We can assume that the release of the iPhone 12 line means that we can expect heavy trade-in activity in November and December. People may be more likely to trade in newer devices like the iPhone 11 in anticipation of 5G technology debuting from Apple. Of course, the rush may be tempered a bit by the economic uncertainty at the moment. Pre-sale orders for the new iPhone 12 may give us the best indication yet of what the next six months of the resale industry will be shaping up to be. Ultimately, all we can do is keep our ear to the ground with fellow insiders and count down the days until (and through) mid-October.