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iPhone 12 makes its long-awaited debut at Apple’s October event

Updated Oct 13th, 2020 2:07PM EDT
iPhone 12 reveal
Image: Apple

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  • Apple’s revealed the iPhone 12 at its October event on Tuesday.
  • The 6.1-inch iPhone 12 features an OLED display, 5G support, an aluminum frame with flat edges, the A14 Bionic chip, and MagSafe technology for magnetized accessories.
  • The iPhone 12 will be available on October 23rd for $799.

It came a few weeks later than expected, but Apple finally revealed the iPhone 12 on Tuesday. As expected, the new iPhone 12 takes many of its most important design cues from the iPhone 11, with the same 6.1-inch display and rear dual-lens camera setup. But that’s not to say that the 2019 and 2020 models are identical, as Apple has revived the flat edges of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5, doing away with the curved sides of recent entries.

The aluminum, flat-edged frame is the design element you’ll notice first, but according to Apple, the iPhone 12 is also 11% thinner, 15% smaller, and 16% lighter than the iPhone 11. Once you turn it on, you’ll also notice that the screen has been upgraded, as Apple is using a custom OLED display on the standard iPhone model for the very first time. Peak brightness is 1200 nits and it supports Dolby Vision, HLG, and HDR 10.

And for those of you especially prone to dropping your phone, you’ll be pleased to know that the screen of the iPhone 12 is four times less likely to break thanks to a new ceramic shield from Corning.

The iPhone 12 also represents Apple’s first foray into 5G. Custom antennas have been built into the rails, and Apple says that the iPhone 12 has the most 5G bands of any smartphone. Apple also optimized iOS for 5G, and with smart data mode, your phone will automatically switch to LTE to save battery when you don’t need the speeds of 5G. Apple has already tested 5G on the iPhone 12 with 100 carriers in 30 regions.

iPhone 12 in a rainbow of color options. Image source: Apple Inc.

While the iPhone 12 might not look like a radical evolution on the surface, the A14 Bionic chip that powers it sounds like a big step forward. It’s the first smartphone chip to be built on a 5nm process, and contains a 6-core CPU, 4-core GPU, and a neural engine with 16 cores. Apple claims that both the CPU and the GPU are up to 50% faster than any other smartphone chip, and used a League of Legends: Wild Rift demo to show off its power.

Much like the iPhone 11, the iPhone 12 features two rear cameras: a 12-megapixel f/1.6 wide angle lens with optical image stablization and a 12-megapixel f/2.4 ultra wide angle lens with a 120-degree field of view. Apple says low-light performance has improved, machine learning is used to recognize more elements of the scene you’re photographing, and Night Mode is coming to both the ultrawide and selfie cameras, at long last.

Finally, Apple is reviving MagSafe technology with a series of accessories that can attach to the magnets that are built into the iPhone 12. We were introduced to cases, chargers, and wallets, all of which snap right on.

The iPhone 12 will start at $799 and comes in black, white, blue, red, and green. The four new iPhone models will no longer ship with power adapters or headphones, but you will get a USB-C to Lightning cable. Preorders for the iPhone 12 will begin on October 16th, with the first shipments set to go out on October 23rd.

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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