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Here’s why the iPhone 12 Pro is so hard to find right now

Published Oct 29th, 2020 7:36PM EDT
iPhone 12 Pro
Image: Apple

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  • Apple’s new iPhone 12 Pro is selling even better than the company expected it to, and it might even have a chance of outselling the cheaper iPhone 12.
  • Demand for the iPhone 12 Pro has reportedly pushed Apple to increase orders for the chips that support the device’s LiDAR scanner, which isn’t featured on the iPhone 12.
  • The only major difference between the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro is the rear camera.

Traditionally, Apple’s cheapest flagship iPhone is also its most popular. This was certainly true of the iPhone 11, which was among the most affordable flagship devices that Apple has ever sold at $699. It seemed inevitable that the same would be true of the iPhone 12, despite the $100 price increase, but a new report from DigiTimes suggests that the iPhone 12 Pro is instead turning out to be far more popular than Apple had expected.

“Demand for the iPhone 12 Pro has been so strong delivery lead time from manufacturers has had to be extended. And Apple is set to increase orders for VCSEL chips supporting the iPhone 12 Pro’s LiDAR scanner for immersive augmented reality (AR),” the report claims. “Apple is poised to increase its orders for VCSEL chips for ToF-based LiDAR scanners used by the just released iPhone 12 Pro due to strong demand for the model,” DigiTimes adds, “particularly in the US, according to sources at Taiwan-based supply chain makers.”

As 9to5Mac notes, this lines up with a separate report from TF Industries analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from last week, in which he revealed that demand for the $999 iPhone 12 Pro was on par with the demand for the $799 iPhone 12. By the time the iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 mini launch in mid-November, Kuo estimates that the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro will make up 30-35% of the total orders each, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max will constitute 15-20% of the orders and the iPhone 12 mini will grab 10-15% of the market.

Interestingly, there are more similarities between the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro than there are differences. Both have the same 6.1-inch OLED display, both support 5G, and both feature the same design. Nearly all of the notable upgrades are contained within the rear camera module of the iPhone 12 Pro, which has an additional 12-megapixel telephoto lens and a LiDAR scanner for an AR boost, as DigiTimes explained in its report.

Other than that, the Pro model also maxes out at 512GB of storage instead of 256GB and has a stainless steel band as opposed to aluminum, but the two phones aren’t markedly different. Maybe people just really want to measure their friends and family members with the LiDAR sensor, or maybe that extra 256GB of storage is enough to put them over the edge. Either way, at least now you know to order your iPhone 12 Pro as soon as possible if you want one this year, even if we’re still not sure exactly why they’re flying off the shelves.

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.