Purchasing a new iPhone is far more complicated than it used to be. Back in the day, Apple would release a single new model and users simply had to decide what color they liked and how much storage they wanted. Over time, though, the number of iPhone options to choose from has ballooned. This year, for example, Apple released three new iPhone models with the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Max.
Looking ahead to next year, Apple’s iPhone 12 lineup may be the most expansive we’ve seen yet. According to a new research report from Rosenblatt analyst Jun Zhang (via AppleInsider), Apple next year might release six distinct iPhone 12 models. Zhang’s report is at odds with previous iPhone 12 rumors we’ve seen, but seeing as we’re still a good nine months away from the official iPhone 12 release, it’s too early to make a call in either direction.
As to why Apple would release six iPhone 12 models next year, it all comes down to 5G. According to Zhang, most iPhone 12 models will come in two variants — one with 4G and one with 5G. It sounds a bit far fetched at first glance, but might actually make sense given that 5G coverage still isn’t anywhere close to being all-encompassing.
Sprint’s 5G coverage, for example, only includes 9 U.S. cities at the moment. Suffice it to say, many consumers will not be happy about paying a premium for 5G when they can’t take advantage of it.
That said, Zhang anticipates that Apple’s new iPhone 12 lineup will look like this:
- iPhone 12 4G with a 6.1-inch LCD screen and dual rear cameras
- iPhone 12 Pro 4G with a 5.4-inch OLED screen and dual rear cameras
- iPhone 12 Pro 5G with a 5.4-inch OLED display and dual rear cameras
- iPhone 12 Pro Plus 4G with a 6.1-inch OLED display and a triple rear camera with Time-of-Flight 3D sensing capabilities
- iPhone 12 Pro Plus 5G using a 6.1-inch OLED screen, triple camera setup, and ToF features
- iPhone 12 Pro Max 5G with a 6.1-inch OLED panel, the triple camera setup, and ToF.
This is beyond confusing, and it’s hard to imagine Apple’s iPhone 12 release schedule actually mirroring what’s listed above. Still, there is reason to believe that Apple’s iPhone lineup will be more wide-ranging than ever before. Noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo last week issued a research note claiming that Apple will release four distinct iPhone 12 models. In contrast to Zhang, however, Kuo notes that all iPhone 12 models will boast support for 5G.
All in all, it’s starting to look like Apple’s iPhone lineup next year will be its most ambitious yet. In addition to as many as 5 or 6 new iPhone 12 models, there’s a strong possibility Apple will release a successor to the iPhone SE this March, though the device will reportedly be called the iPhone 9. Incidentally, the rumored iPhone 9 — as a budget-positioned device — will only offer support for 4G.