The iPhone 12 come to the market with new faces: The rumors are confirmed again. According to two people who know Apple’s plans, there will be four iPhone 12 models that will have a new design inspired by the classic iPhone 4 – with flat screens surrounded by a flat band, and with more pronounced corners than the iPhone 11.
The iPhone 6 soap bar design is over. Rumors of the iPhone 12’s retro redesign have been floating around since last year, but as we get closer to launch they have been solidifying with more details from alleged sources and even an image in iOS 14 that seems to confirm the correveidiles of recent months.
- The technical characteristics of the four new iPhone 12 models
- This image could confirm the retro design of the iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 will be faster than any Android phone, according to these GeekBench tests
Now, those two Bloomberg sources say the redesign is complete and is indeed what the rumors indicate.
The same sources also confirm the leak that Jon Prosser already published last week: there will be four models of the iPhone 12, two basic ones with different screen sizes and two others – the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max – that will have superior technical characteristics and also two screen sizes up to 6.7 inches.
The materials will be different in all four. Bloomberg repeats Prosser’s prediction: the basic iPhone 12s will be made of aluminum – like the iPhone 5 – while the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max will be stainless steel. What it does not clarify is whether, as Prosser says, they will be steel bands like those of the iPhone 4.
The design of the iPhone 12: iPhone 4 or iPad Pro?
The rumor on the screens is also confirmed again: the iPhone 12 will come in versions of 5.4 – which would be the compact iPhone that many of us were waiting for, similar in size to the iPhone 5 – and 6.1 inches. The iPhone 12 Pro will have a 6.1-inch screen and the 6.7-inch XXXL model will be the iPhone 12 Pro Max. All models will have a smaller notch than the current one, but it will not disappear.
The question now is whether the design of the new cell phone will be like the iPhone 4 or the iPad Pro / iPhone 5. According to Prosser, the two standard iPhone 12s are supposed to be made of aluminum, like the iPhone 5. The iPhone 12 Pro model and the iPhone. 12 Pro Max would have stainless steel bands, like the original iPhone 4.
It seems strange that there are two different designs, one that – like the iPad Pro or the iPhone 5 – is all metallic and the other that – like the iPhone 4 – has metallic bands and a glass back, something that was once a cause for concern – as I already wrote in this article about the beauty and fragility of the iPhone 4 – but that has been overcome thanks to new materials. The current iPhone 11s all have glass backs and no one seems to complain.
In favor of this dual design theory is the possible differentiation of the models, clearly limiting the market for each one – medium and high-end – that would justify a notable price differential between the basic and the most advanced models.
The basic range would also be easier to manufacture than the iPhone 12 Pro and Max, with a body made entirely of aluminum. Being easier to mass-produce, the iPhone 12 would be cheaper.
The high-end would be more difficult to manufacture, requiring the same parts as the iPhone 11: a beveled glass display and back with stainless steel bands. It is a much more luxurious appearance than that of the iPhone 5 or iPad Pro, which next to the iPhone 4 seem much more austere or brutalist.
Having two slightly different designs for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro would only have the disadvantage of having to have two different manufacturing systems, something that could affect economies of scale.
But the reality is that the four models all have different measurements, so there are no economies of scale that are valid except for the guts like the motherboard or the Face ID module. But even the camera module would be different. The iPhone 12 would only have three sensors, according to rumors. The iPhone 12 Pro will have three optical sensors and a 3D LiDAR sensor for augmented reality applications.
The advantage of the distinction between basic and luxury model would clearly outweigh the disadvantage of having two different designs.
Finally, the last factor in favor of the design of two glass panels and metal bands is that the iPhone has always maintained a markedly different aesthetic than that of the iPad. It would be difficult for Apple to break this branding by design by making the aesthetics of all its devices exactly the same as that of the iPad Pro. In fact, my opinion is that it is more feasible that, if the two models are the same, they are more like the iPhone 4 than the iPad Pro.
Either way, CAD models are already running through the underworlds of rumor. Soon we will have the answer to all these puzzles directly from the Chinese factories and the 3D programs of the usual suspects, as Prosser says.