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4G-only iPhone 12 could launch in early 2021

Published Aug 10th, 2020 4:53PM EDT
iPhone 12 cheap model
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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  • Apple will launch a fifth, cheaper iPhone 12 model without 5G support in early 2021, according to a new research note from Wedbush Securities analysts.
  • The analysts previously predicted that a 4G iPhone 12 model would launch alongside the 5G models this fall, but they have recently adjusted their prediction.
  • Apple has confirmed that the iPhone 12 will not launch in late September.

A few months ago, the countless contradictory rumors and reports about the release date of the iPhone 12 made it all but impossible to predict when Apple’s next phone would arrive. Apple rarely comments on unannounced devices, but in an earnings call last month, Apple CFO Luca Maestri confirmed that supply of its next major smartphone would be “available a few weeks later” than the standard late September window due to the pandemic.

Other reports have claimed that when the release date does arrive, Apple will introduce four iPhone models, each of which will have OLED displays and 5G support. There were also rumors of a fifth model without 5G, but according to a new research note from Wedbush Securities, it won’t see the light of day until 2021.

Citing a report from Wedbush analysts Daniel Ives, Strecker Backe, and Ahmad Khalil, Business Insider reports that Apple will release a cheaper 4G-only iPhone model in early 2021 after releasing multiple 5G models this fall. Initially, the analysts said the 4G iPhone 12 would launch alongside the 5G models, but after checking in with Asian supply chain sources, they decided to revise their prediction and project a late arrival for the 4G model.

Speaking with Business Insider, Daniel Ives said that the 4G iPhone 12 could launch as early as February. Ives thinks that the 4G model will be cheaper than the 5G models, and predicts it will cost around $800. Apple hasn’t been afraid to price its smartphones more aggressively in recent years, with the entry-level iPhone 11 retailing for $700, and the second-generation iPhone SE selling for $400. Ives wasn’t able to offer any additional details about the 4G iPhone, such as its specifications or size, though he believes the design will likely be the same.

“Price points will be aggressive as Apple goes after their broader customer base,” the analyst stated. “Especially in a recession, in a COVID-19 backdrop, they need to make sure they’re hitting all price categories.”

Based on Apple’s confirmation of a later timeframe for the launch of the iPhone 12, we do not expect new phones to be available to the public until mid-October. In addition to OLED displays and 5G support, the new iPhone models are expected to have a design that more closely mirrors that of the newest iPad Pro, which features a flat-edged stainless steel frame. And while several early rumors suggested that the notch would shrink this generation, the latest iPhone 12 leaks show a notch that looks virtually identical to that of the iPhone 11 series.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.

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