The iPhone is making its way into the hands of the masses, but from a certain standpoint, it’s already a disappointment. Leading up to the official announcement, which was delayed into October, there were leaks everywhere.
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The design has been leaked for quite a few months, along with the inclusion of 5G. We even saw some leaks regarding the MagSafe charger, but there were a few major features that were omitted. It seems that the ProMotion display (from the iPad Pro) was nixxed at the last moment.
What’s new with the iPhone 12?
After being pushed into October, only to have the iPhone 12 Mini and 12 Pro Max pushed to November, the iPhone 12 was finally unveiled. We have an all-new processor, which is manufactured on the 5nm process. The A14 Bionic aims to be much more power efficient, which is pretty incredible considering that the iPhone is arguably the most powerful phone on the market.
The iPhone 12 finally brings the big change that we were hoping for, with an all-new design. Bringing in design cues from both the iPhone 4, as well as the iPad Pro lineup, the iPhone 12 now matches with the iPad from a design standpoint. This may not seem like a huge deal, but it’s something that provides some cohesiveness in Apple’s lineup of devices.
For iPhone 12 and 12 Mini owners, you’ll find only two camera sensors on the back, following the same trend as the iPhone 11. With the 12 Pro and larger 12 Pro Max, that’s where you’ll find the triple camera set up. These cameras have been enhanced and improved to the point that you may finally be able to leave your old DSLR behind, even for 4K video recording.
Perhaps the most exciting new feature of the iPhone 12 line, outside of the redesign, is the reintroduction of MagSafe. This is a new way for accessories and chargers to connect to your iPhone, with the help of magnets. In fact, MagSafe brings 15W fast wireless charging, compared to the old 7.5W speed limits found with older devices.
What’s missing with the iPhone 12?
Sure, Apple gave us the rebranding of MagSafe, which could be the “killer” feature of the year. The cameras have been upgraded, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max is likely to be the best camera in a smartphone by a wide margin. But Apple still missed on a few key areas, that could have truly changed the game as we know it.
Get rid of the Lightning charger
Android smartphones have finally moved away from the awful microUSB for charging, and into USB-C. Apple has done the same with many of its products including the iPad Pro and the MacBook Pro. For whatever reason, the Lightning port continues to make its way into the latest iPhone.
Some have opined that this is because Apple is aiming to do something much more ambitious – get rid of the charging port. With the introduction of MagSafe and its faster wireless charging capabilities, it kind of makes sense. But the truth of the matter remains that wired charging is still faster than wireless, and that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.
Perhaps the failures of AirPower forced Apple to go back to the drawing board, and the company is waiting to bring new innovation to the charging game. But the continued use of Lightning over USB-C, when the latter is already in Apple products, is frustrating. Almost everything in my home is USB-C, except for the iPhone, and I want that to change for good.
Improve the displays
Despite being made by Samsung, Apple displays are some of the best that can you find. The iPad Pro refresh to the squared off design we have now, brought with it a new display panel. The ProMotion display offers a refresh rate of up to 120Hz, meanwhile, the iPhone continues to stick at 60Hz.
Leading up to the iPhone 12 announcement, it was almost a forgone conclusion that ProMotion was coming. Some leaks even showed that there were tester units running with 120Hz. However, the iPhone 12 was announced, and we were left wondering what happened.
Of course, Apple doesn’t share that it was working on a display with a faster refresh rate. But the rumors as to why the iPhone 12 missed out on the better display has everything to do with the battery life. See, 5G connectivity is already a battery hog, and adding the higher refresh rate would also drain the battery. This combination would have left users frustrated, annoyed, and it could have meant the iPhone 12 would be a flop.
Apple wanted to avoid that with this iteration, and nixed the ProMotion, 120Hz display at the last minute.
Looking to the future with the 2021 iPhone
The iPhone 12 is just making its way into the hands of the masses. But we’re already looking forward to the future with the launch of the next iPhone.
It’s true that the redesign was overdue and is extremely welcome. Now, the iPhone and iPad lineup look like they are an extension of one another, and not just two completely separate sets of devices.
When the new iPad Air was announced in September, there was one addition that shocked many. TouchID was still hanging around, but it had been moved to the Power Button. This was done in the same overall design of the iPad Pro, and it led to rumors spiking about the return of TouchID to the iPhone.
Starting with the iPhone X, Apple introduced FaceID, and while it works great 90% of the time, there are times where it’s a source of frustration. Since the Power Button on the iPhone is no longer at the top, it would make perfect sense for TouchID to be reintroduced to the iPhone lineup.
What would make things even more amazing is if Apple brought this to the next flagship iPhone.
Don’t change the design
We wouldn’t expect Apple to change the design after just one iteration, but there is a bit of concern. If you look at the side frame of the iPhone 12, you’ll find the antenna for how the 5G connectivity will work. There are some concerns already that we could have another “you’re holding it wrong” fiasco.
However, short of a catastrophic failure resulting in the inability to connect to 5G, we should still see this current design stick around. It’s no secret that the iPhone 4 design is a favorite of many, and it’s refreshing to see it reincarnated with the iPhone 12. But, we hope that Apple sticks with this design language for a little while before switching things up again.
The iPhone 13 could be what we wanted from the iPhone 12
The new design is already in place, we will have an all-new processor by the time the iPhone 13 comes around, and there’s even the new MagSafe functionality. The iPhone 12 has a lot of good things going for it, and it will continue to impress for the next year. However, it’s entirely possible that the iPhone 13 will be the one that everyone was hoping for in 2020.
We’ll likely see the aforementioned ProMotion display, paired with a larger battery, and cameras that have been improved again. But if Apple revives TouchID by placing it in the power button, or even creates one that’s under the display, then we’ll be more than happy. Having dual-biometrics, especially in the current state of the world, that may be one way to entice more owners from the Android world over to the iPhone.
Andrew is a freelance writer based on the East Coast of the US.
He has written for a variety of sites over the years, including iMore, Android Central, Phandroid, and a few others. Now, he spends his days working for an HVAC company, while moonlighting as a freelance writer at night.