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Apple iPhone 12 audit, benefits, impediments, and highlights

2020 has seen the release of four new iPhones, all of which Apple revealed at a virtual launch event on Tuesday, Oct. 13. The iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max offer varying sizes, features, and prices. As such, Apple has designed its new lineup to reach a wide array of customers with different needs and budgets. The four new iPhone 12 models are also the first Apple phones to include 5G connectivity, a potential consideration when shopping for a new phone.
Beyond adding 5G, Apple has equipped the iPhone 12 family with its powerful new A14 Bionic processor, a Super Retina XDR display, a more durable Ceramic Shield front cover, and a MagS
afe feature for more reliable wireless charging, and support for attachable accessories.

Apple has also beefed up the cameras on the new iPhones with an array of advanced features designed to enhance and fine-tune your photos and videos. The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 come with a dual-camera system in the rear with wide and ultra-wide lenses. The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max add a third telephoto lens as well as a fourth lens for LiDAR
SEE: How to migrate to a new iPad, iPhone, or Mac (TechRepublic Premium)

Other innovative camera features found in all four new phones include Deep Fusion to flesh out more detail in low-light conditions, Smart HDR 3 to better balance all the elements in a scene, and Night Mode Time Lapse for time-lapse photography at night. Plus, the two Pro models now natively support shooting and editing photos in RAW format via a feature called Apple ProRAW.

Even the edges of the phones have changed, reverting from the rounded edges found on the iPhone 11 to the flat edged design of the old iPhone 5.
What are the key features in the iPhone 12 family?
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.

What are the differences between the four iPhone 12 models?
iPhone 12 mini. The baby of the bunch, the iPhone 12 mini offers a screen size of 5.4 inches with storage options of 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB. The screen resolution is 2,340 x 1,080 pixels at 476 ppi. The phone incorporates Ceramic Shield in the front with a glass back and an aluminum design. The iPhone 12 mini uses a dual-camera system in the rear with a 12 MP wide and a 12 MP ultra-wide lens. Offered in black, white, red, blue, green, the phone starts at $699.

iPhone 12. Next in line, the iPhone 12 has the most of same specs as that of the iPhone 12 mini. But the iPhone 12 offers a 6.1-inch screen with a resolution of 2,532 x 1,170 pixels at 460 ppi and a starting price of $799.

iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone 12 Pro also has a screen size of 6.1 inches with the same 2,532 x 1,170 pixel resolution but adds a variety of advanced features over the iPhone 12. The case uses a Ceramic Shield front with a textured matte glass back and stainless steel design. Storage options include 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB. The three-camera system in the rear adds a 12 MP telephoto lens with an ƒ/2.0 aperture and a LiDAR scanner. The iPhone 12 Pro also supports Apple ProRAW for shooting and editing photos in RAW format. This model starts at $999.

iPhone 12 Pro Max. The king of bunch, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is similar to the iPhone 12 Pro in most ways but offers a screen size of 6.7 inches with a resolution of 2,778 x 1,284 resolution at 458 ppi. The optical and digital zoom rates are also slightly higher than those on the iPhone 12 Pro, while the price
What are the main competitors to the iPhone 12?
With all four iPhone 12 models offering different sizes and features at different prices, the competition is wide open.

iPhone 12 mini competition. Competing with the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini are such phones as the Samsung Galaxy S10e and the Google Pixel 4. Starting at $599, the Galaxy S10e offers a 5.8-inch AMOLED screen with two rear cameras (wide and ultra-wide), face recognition, and a fingerprint scanner. Starting at $799, the Google Pixel 4 comes with a 5.7-inch OLED display with wide-angle and telephoto cameras in the rear and facial recognition but no fingerprint sensor. Neither phone includes 5G connectivity.

iPhone 12 and 12 Pro competition. Rivals to the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro encompass several of Samsung’s Galaxy phones, including the S10, S10 Plus, S20, and S20 FE. Among these Galaxy phones, only the S20 and S20 FE are 5G models. Starting at $749, the Galaxy S10 has a 6.1-inch screen; starting at $849, the S10 Plus bumps the screen size to 6.4 inches. The Galaxy S20 normally starts at $999 and offers a 6.2-inch screen, while the S20 FE starts at just $699 with a screen size of 6.5 inches.

Also built with 5G, Google’s Pixel 5 and the upcoming Pixel 4A 5G are worth considering. The Google Pixel 5 starts at___ and includes a 6-inch screen, while the Pixel 4A 5G starts at ____ and offers a screen size of 6.2 inches.

iPhone 12 Pro Max competition. Rivals to the iPhone 12 Pro Max are Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Plus, Galaxy S20 Ultra, Galaxy Note 20, and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. Normally starting at $000, the Galaxy S20 Plus comes with a 6.7-inch screen. Starting at 000, the S20 Ultra features a whopping 6.9-inch display. The Note 20 starts at $000 and offers a 6.7-inch screen, while the Note 20 Ultra starts at $000 and includes a 6.9-inch display.

SEE: All of TechRepublic’s cheat sheets and smart person’s guides

What is the target market for the iPhone 12?
The iPhone 12 family is designed for first-time buyers as well as those looking to upgrade from an iPhone X or 11 model or older iPhones. But Apple is naturally hoping to lure unsatisfied Android users who may be leaning toward an iPhone.

The iPhone 12 mini is targeted for budget-conscious consumers who are more comfortable with a smaller screen. Moving up the line, the iPhone 12 is geared toward buyers who crave a larger screen but don’t need all the bells and whistles of the Pro line. The iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max are aimed at traditional consumers as well as photographers and videographers willing to pay extra not only for a large screen but for the advanced camera lenses and other cutting-edge photographic features.

SEE: Mobile device security: Tips for IT pros (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

How much does the iPhone 12 cost?
The iPhone 12 mini will be available at these prices:

Apple iPhone 8, 64GB, Space Gray – Fully Unlocked (Renewed)

Apple iPhone XR, 64GB, Black – Fully Unlocked (Renewed)

Apple iPhone 7, 32GB, Black – Fully Unlocked (Renewed)

Apple iPhone 8 a1905 64GB LTE GSM Unlocked (Renewed)

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