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iPhone 12 leak reveals a next-gen feature that’s never been in a smartphone before

Published Feb 24th, 2020 9:32AM EST

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We still have six months to go before Apple releases its new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro lineup. That’s a long time to wait, but there’s already more hype surrounding Apple’s next-generation flagship iPhone models than any other smartphone in 2020. Enough information has leaked at this point from trusted Apple insiders that people are starting to get quite excited about Apple’s upcoming new iPhone 12 series. Of course, another new iPhone will debut long before the iPhone 12 — the new iPhone SE 2 or iPhone 9 Apple is expected to launch next month — but it hasn’t generated quite as much buzz as the iPhone 12. With upgraded specs including an A13 processor and a price tag that’s expected to start at $399, the iPhone SE 2 will likely be one of the best-selling smartphones of 2020. It’ll also bring back Touch ID, which is something many Apple fans have been clamoring for. But it’s not a flagship model like the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, so there isn’t nearly as much chatter online.

Most of the buzz surrounding the upcoming new iPhone 12 lineup focuses on Apple’s new design, and that’s certainly understandable. iPhone 11 sales are still soaring, but Apple’s current iPhone design is the same one we saw on last year’s iPhone XS and iPhone XR, which is the same design we saw on 2017’s iPhone X. Needless to say, avid Apple fans who upgrade to a new iPhone each year are eager for a redesign. That’s exactly what they’ll get when the iPhone 12 series is unveiled this coming September, but the new iPhone models will feature plenty of big upgrades beyond just the new design.

If what we’ve heard from TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is accurate, Apple’s new iPhone 12 series is going to get a fairly big design refresh later this year. Since Kuo has what is by far the best track record out there when it comes to Apple leaks, we have no reason to doubt him. He says Apple’s iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro phones will have flat metal edges around the outside of the phones instead of round ones like we’ve seen ever since 2014 when Apple released the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The new design sounds like a modernization of the old iPhone 5 design everyone loves so much, and it’ll be a welcome change.

As for features, we’ve heard from multiple independent reports that all of Apple’s new iPhone 12 models will support 5G. We’ve also heard some other rumblings here and there, and a big leak over the weekend may have revealed one of the new features iOS 14 will introduce: a completely redesigned multitasking interface on the iPhone. Now, another new report may shed light on another feature Apple’s iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max will introduce, and it has never been seen before on any smartphone.

802.11ay is a new Wi-Fi standard that is expected to be finalized by the Wi-Fi Alliance in late 2020. While the “normal” Wi-Fi technology we all use in our homes utilizes the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands, 802.11ay uses 60Ghz to transfer data at high speeds over short distances. On Monday, a new report from Japanese-language Apple news blog Macotakara says that Apple’s upcoming new iPhone 12 series will support the new Wi-Fi tech. While it’s currently unclear how Apple’s iPhones will make use of 802.11ay, it could be for a next-generation AirDrop feature that is much faster and more reliable than what Apple offers now on its iPhones and other devices. In a machine translation of Macotakara’s report, the blog refers to the feature as “ultra-short range” wireless connectivity, which certainly sounds like AirDrop.

Two other tidbits were included in Macotakara’s report. First, the blog says that one of Apple’s upcoming new iPhone 12 models will feature an LCD screen. It says the phone will be the iPhone 11’s successor, but earlier reporting from Ming-Chi Kuo stated that every new iPhone 12 model this year will have an OLED screen other than the iPhone SE 2 that’s set to debut next month. Macotakara also mentions Apple’s upcoming new AirTags, which are the device trackers Apple is working on that’ll compete with Tile. The blog claims the new devices will be charged wirelessly just like the Apple Watch, and this is definitely the first we’ve heard of wireless charging support in AirTags.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.