For 2020, Apple’s debuted its most extensive iPhone lineup – a total of 4 new iPhones across difference screen sizes – all powered by what Apple claims is the fastest smartphone chip in the world, the A14 Bionic. Also new is support for MagSafe wireless charging, which allows for faster 15W powerups, possibly preparing the world for a port-less iPhone. It may be noted that other brands do offer even faster wireless charging, but the jury is out on the possible damage to long term battery health that the greater heat associated with faster wireless charging brings. Apple’s taken the safer middle ground between speed and longevity.
The lineup starts with the iPhone 12 and the 12 Mini that carry nearly identical specifications, but different screen sizes (6.1” and 5.4” respectively), and battery life. The Mini variant should appeal to those who’ve been complaining about phones getting too large, for it has a footprint smaller than even the iPhone SE.
Both devices get an OLED display and start with 64 GB as the base storage. They carry a dual camera system with a wide and an ultra-wide camera, featuring a stellar night mode. Prices in India start at Rs. 69,900 for the Mini, and Rs. 79,900 for the standard iPhone 12.
The Pro models come in two sizes, 6.1” and 6.7”, with the larger Pro Max model gaining an extra .2” compared to last year’s iPhone 11 Pro Max. They get an additional 2 GB of RAM, i.e. 6 GB compared to 4 GB on the non-Pro models. To justify the Pro moniker, Apple’s upped the game in the camera department with a telephoto (zoom), wide and ultra-wide setup, that is supported by an all new LIDAR sensor, previously seen on the iPad Pro. While mainly useful for Augmented Reality, it lets Apple bring portrait mode to low light photography and achieve faster auto-focus in the dark.
However in a departure from tradition, the larger Pro Max model has a distinct advantage over the smaller Pro model in the camera department, where a larger sensor allows for even better low light photos and video, and it also features a superior sensor shift stabilisation system.
So if you buy an iPhone for the camera and money is no object, the Pro Max is the phone to buy. If you like the Apple ecosystem, and want a small iPhone, the Mini is the no compromise option. It is much harder to choose between the regular 12 and the 12 Pro, for not only do they both have OLED screens of the same 6.1” size, the cheaper 12 borrows a lot of the camera chops as well. It isn’t that the Pro doesn’t bring more value, e.g. its OLED display is brighter by 200 nits, and the standard iPhone 12 can only shoot Dolby Vision video at upto 4K at 30 FPS while the Pro models can shoot 4K at 60 FPS. Still further, portrait mode in low light is only possible on the more expensive version on account of the LIDAR sensor.
However, since all 4 phones carry the new flat side design language, no matter which variant you choose, it will feel fresh.
NO MORE BUNDLED WALL CHARGER & EARPODS
The most controversial announcement came in the form an “environmental initiative”, where Apple claims to have stopped shipping the wall charger, and EarPods as it believes that most people have plenty of these lying around – and bundling things that never get used only adds to the e-waste. All iPhones now come with just a USB-C to Lightning cable in the box. But since not everyone has a USB-C charger lying around, you’ll probably want to buy one if you want to use that cable and take advantage of faster USB-C charging that the new iPhones support.
The move to drop these from the box does sound like penny pinching from Apple, as despite the added cost of 5G modems, Apple claims to have kept prices identical to last year’s lineup; with the difference obviously being made up by saving on the cost of the accessories.
However the identical prices as last year bit certainly isn’t true for India, where the 22% import duty plus 18% GST mean that the prices have gone up, and have reached absurd levels for the Pro Models. The 12 Pro starts at 1,19,900 for the 128 GB model, while the 12 Pro Max starts at 1,29,900 for the same storage tier.
You may be interested to note that the iPhone 12 Pro Max 256 GB will cost about INR 95,000 in the USA (including taxes), while the same phone costs INR 1,39,900 in India. That’s a INR 45,000 markup for the same phone, and the non-US variants don’t even have support for mm-wave 5G.
But whatever you do, do not buy the new iPhones for 5G. India is yet to even sell spectrum to its carriers, so usable 5G deployment in India is still a few years away.
(PHOTO: APPLE NEWSROOM)