UNLEASH THE BEAST!: Apple's 2020 iPhone12 Event
Updated: Nov 28, 2020
Apple announced its annual fall launch event will be staged on Tuesday, October 13. Expect the highly anticipated, iPhone 12 to be announced. But, what other gadgets will Apple be revealing?
In September Apple revealed two new iPads, and two new Apple Watch designs. The much-anticipated iPhone 12 was not ready. Now Apple will reveal their groundbreaking new iPhone.
Although the headline above eludes to streaming the event ... Virtual broadcasting has a lot bigger role in this upcoming show - let's dig in and discover what else might happen.
First lets talk about some of the features expected to be announced for the iPhone 12. I'll cover them quickly so we can get into some of the rumors and leaks that indicate what other devices and service capabilities might be announced during the October 13th broadcast from Apple Park.
5G/ All the different sizes of iPhone 12 will have 5G capabilities, however different models will have different flavors of 5G. The iPhone announced at the event will have a staggered release with the 5.4" mini and 6.1" standard iPhone will have Sub-6 GHz receiving capabilities and will be available for order first, later in the month the Pro and Pro Max models will become available to order and have the ability to access the faster millimeter Wave 5G with special antennas.
Now before you get bent out of shape about that and think you might be getting a raw deal if you don't buy a Pro model - stop thinking that way NOW. Sub-6 GHz refers to 5G that was deployed using spectrum under 6 GHz.
This is mostly T-Mobile's mid-band 2.5 GHz spectrum acquired when they bought out Sprint, as well as, the low-band 600 MHz used by T-Mobile, and the 850 MHz spectrum utilized by U.S. Cellular and AT&T. mmWave, as it's name indicates, only allows for short distances between radio wave peaks when broadcasting these extremely high frequencies. They range from 24 GHz up to 39 GHz. This spectrum is available in large chunks allowing for very fast transmission speeds with a strong signal. But has trouble penetrating obstacles and travels short distances. In the US there is a much greater proliferation of Sub 6 GHz and greater coverage.
Although the Pro and Pro Max will include antennas that access Sub-6 radio waves, the mini and standard will not include the faster 5G antennas. However there is so little carrier coverage for the faster speeds the extra capabilities will provide faster service on certain corners in big Metro cities. For more insight about Sub-6, and mmWave for 5G, as well as 6G, Arun explains in video below.
So all the new iPhones will have 5G, but the other new hardware addition to the iPhone is one that will propel Apple headfirst into Augmented Reality (AR). But before we dive into how LIDAR will drive AR, it's interesting to note that Apple has begun using the term Simulated Reality (SR), rather than AR, VR or the term Mixed Reality (MR) that was used by the ill-fated Magic Leap. This continues Apple's tradition of making a segment their own by branding it, and then using the term exclusively to further that branding - just like they never called the iPad a tablet - you'll hear more about SR as the capabilities that LIDAR will provide is announced with the new iPhone models.
LiDAR/ Apple first introduced LIDAR with the 2020 iPad Pro. In the announcement they said the breakthrough LiDAR Scanner would deliver cutting-edge depth-sensing capabilities, opening up more pro workflows and supporting pro photo and video apps. The LiDAR Scanner, along with pro cameras, motion sensors, pro performance, pro audio, the stunning Liquid Retina display and powerful apps, extends the lead of iPad Pro as the world’s best device for augmented reality (AR).
LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) works similarly to radar, except it uses lasers to judge distances and depth. Apple's scanning LiDAR system fires a train of laser pulses at different sections of a scene in a short period of time and returns them to the sensor that emitted them. This results in capabilities like object occlusion, which is the appearance of virtual objects interacting with real objects in a scene.
Whereas AR requires you to define your area by scanning it first, LiDAR will allow immediate virtual worlds as it does the scanning for you. You'll be able to grasp virtual objects and reach behind them. The objects will block your ability to see behind and seem to have mass. This sensor will improve not only AR capabilities, but also greatly enhance the abilities in capturing photographic images, shooting video, and recording audio. Your device will be more spatially aware of where the person, place or object is in relation to smartphone being used.
But again not all the iPhone models will have the LiDAR scanner, the mini and standard iPhone first being released will not include this new tech, but that doesn't mean you won't still have fantastic AR experiences, and great photos, videos and audio - it will just be that much greater if you choose to go Pro. If not the time of flight sensor included in the other models will allow you to quickly scan a surface and jump right into a simulated reality unlike anything you've ever seen before.
No Bono, It's U1
It's important to note that the results of the LiDAR scanner in the video above is a little different than the experience you'll see in iPhone 12. The 2020 iPad Pro was released with an A 12Z Bionic processor while the new iPhone will include the A14 Bionic just released with the 2020 iPad Air. The differences are well, incredible - when comparing the two chips you'll see that the A14 Bionic greatly outperforms the A12Z chipset.
The frequency speed of the A12Z processor is 1.59 GHz Vs. 1.80 GHz in the A14, The A14 can turbo up to 3.10 GHZ in either single or multi core, while the A12 Z can only ramp to 2.49 GHz. Although the A12Z has 8 cores, compared to 6 in the A14, the newer chip includes a faster GPU with the exact same frequency and turbo GHz as the main processor. Other big differences include the 5 nanometer manufacturing technology being used in the A14 while the A11Z used the older 7nm solution. It also runs at 6 watts, while the Z uses 15 watts of power. This means the A14 Bionic will process LiDAR information faster and more efficiently due to greater processing power.
But wait, how does the U1 factor into this? What does this new chip do? The Apple-designed U1 chip uses Ultra Wideband technology, the first ever in a smartphone, for spatial awareness. Apple introduced these new ultra-wideband chipsets with the iPhone 11, and will use this same technology to power a tracking device called an AirTag. This small Apple branded puck features special tracking tools and system-on-a-chip intelligence to help users keep track their possessions and devices. By embracing ultra-wideband technology, Apple will reshape customer experiences.
So now you've seen a fledgling 3D room scan, and how you can place simulated versions of objects in a space where they appear to be real. Now think about how the U1 could identify an object in a space and place a simulated image of that objects in the 3D space - without being able to physically see it. So if your car keys are wedged between the couch cushions they still are visible in this virtual three-dimensional space. Now consider these tracking chips integrated or attached to all your devices and valuables and how they will appear in the space around you.
This is not only for Find My service capabilities to help you find those lost AirPods or your significant others. But the U1 will also make the devices more spatially aware of each other. This will provide a network similar to the mesh that Arun described in his 5G video, allowing all your Apple devices and peripherals to more efficiently use the resources they require like wireless networks and power. It also improves security of the devices, this spatiality is hinted at in the AR enabled invitation sent out announcing the iPhone 12 event. Besides eluding to 5G, when you click on the invite an interactive AR easter egg appears on the display - all but giving away Apple's plans for the event.
I detailed how all of this will work together in a previous post entitled The Circle of Trust, so I am not going to delve into it any further here - but this exciting new virtual device capabilities will continue to things like shared power with over-the-air charging in the near future.
While speaking about power this is a good time to jump into another new capability being built into iPhone models. Unlike the 5G antennas, and LiDAR it's being rumored that all iPhone 12 models will have an array of magnets inside the back cover, that circle the Apple logo. Recently leaked photographs show a round arrangement of batteries, in what is being purported to be an iPhone 12 chassis, and an identical arrangement in what's said to be a official iPhone 12" case.
Reportedly these magnets will be used for aligning devices with wireless charging pucks. When using wireless induction to charge, aligning the coils inside the device with coils inside the base makes for maximum charging efficiency. Now it's been rumored that Apple is not including a their iconic power brick with new iPhones.
They left it out of the box with new Apple Watch models with Lisa Jackson, VP of Environment, Policy & Social Initiatives speaking about Apples's commitment to reducing e-waste during the September virtual event. I've included the video below, cued up to Lisa's segment, but feel free to rewind to and watch it in its entirety to understand where Apple is heading with all the new enhancements coming with iPhone 12 and iOS 14.
No More Bricks?
Does this mean they may include a special Apple puck in the box? I don't think so, because the puck would still require a power brick and a cable to connect it to an outlet. Instead Apple is removing the brick for the same reason they removed the headphone jack. To push their users to more quickly adopt wireless charging.
Courageously removing the headphone jack and then introducing AirPods drove adoption of wireless headphones. Removing the power brick will have the same effect for charging. Now a lightning cable will still be in the box, but you'll be able to separately purchase a new Apple-designed charging disc that will quickly and efficiently top up your smartphone. This will eventually lead to removing the lightning port in future iPhone models. This will make iPhones completely portliness, other microphones, speakers and sim card trays. At the same time creating another must-have accessory for your smartphone.
I'm sure the new Apple charging disc will have a chipset that gives it smart capabilities to interact with your phone and charge using efficient elegance. Now thats a charging puck but what about the phone case with the same magnet configuration? I imagine that is an Apple charging case with extra battery power. Most battery cases I have used have you slide the phone down on to a lighting connector to connect to the battery.
But Apple could use a smart case with induction charging to intelligently provide power to the device as predicated by the device. Apple's battery cases today let you see percentage of the case's battery and even a mapped shutter button for the camera. If you need extra battery to get you through the day it's probably because you're shooting photos or videos. It's this kind of thinking that leads me to believe in a Smart Battery case for all iPhone 12 models.
Designed for a Wireless Future
Due to the circular magnets rumor all I have talked about is a charging disc and case, both of these meant to charge individual devices. However Apple's much delayed AirPower charging mat is rumored to be finally be released alongside iPhone 12 models. First announced the solution alongside the iPhone X in 2017, Apple gave a sneak peek of AirPower, a wireless charging accessory which was said to be "coming in 2018".
The AirPower mat offered a generous active charging area that allowed iPhone customers to simultaneously charge up to three devices, including Apple Watch and a new optional wireless charging case for AirPods. But it was never released, and reportedly the project was abandoned. However new images and rumors are swirling of the unrealized charging mat now becoming a reality. When word was circulating about the project being killed I wondered to myself how hard is this to do? I simplified it in my mind saying to myself - throw a bunch of coils in a mat and boom.
But like I said I simplified it - think back to the circular magnet array in the new iPhone. Think about how Apple Watch chargers attach magnetically, and think about all your devices knowledgeability of its spatial orientation in relation to your other devices. All the interconnectedness we spoke about with the disc and phone battery case chargers could be built into this all new reimagined AirPower charging mat. Most mat based chargers released since AirPower was announced have a specific difference than the images provided by Apple. They have a special area designed just for Apple Watch. It looks like you can lay your Apple Watch down anywhere on the AirPower charging mat.
In the video below MKBHD provides a timeline for AirPower up until the project was killed. In the video he says that the mat had up to 30 individual coils and those coils all being active at once caused thermal issues which is ultimately what killed the project. However if devices magnetically aligned with certain coils in the mat, and only those coils were activated for charging then thermals become a moot point. Magnets could also reduce the number of coils needed in the mat, while still providing the same effect. You drop any device anywhere on the mat and magnets move it to the most efficient location for charging the device - especially in relation to other devices that are on the mat. These magnets would also allow Apple Watch to connect similarly to its proprietary charger.
Now you're saying, but all you are talking about is accessories for the iPhone, what about the device itself? What kind of display does it have? How long does the battery last and what colors does it come in? I'll get into all that later on. But first let me continue my rant about new accessories and then we'll dive into the new iPhone's design, specs and options later in the blog.
For almost a decade now Apple has turned up the heat and grabbed a significant share of the headphone market in the process. After acquiring the popular Beats brand and launching AirPods Apple has become an industry leader in the space. The success of AirPods Pro only furthered the interest in Apple wireless headphones with features like active noise cancellation and now virtual spatial 3D sound with the release of iOS 14.
So you know Apple - they are taking it one step further with a new pair of over-the-ear headphones that are rumored to be called AirPods Studio. A pro level headset with all the features of AirPods Pro, but with some other new features included.
Bear in mind - this has not been officially announced by Apple - all the information I am providing here is from that rumor mill we call the Internet. But new reports today say that Apple has removed all other 3rd party headphones from their website and are in the processing of removing them from their retail stores to make room for AirPods studio. It seems moving forward Apple will only sell headsets manufactured by their brands.
The Return of Bell Bottoms
In images circulating on the net, AirPods Studio feature retro-design, kind of a mid-seventies feeling. For me, Koss headphones from the 70's came to mind .... The ear cups swivel and are connected to thin metal arms that lead up to the gray fabric padded headband. But the important thing is how they sound and function. The material used seems similar to the mesh fabric used for Apple's HomePod.
Jon Prosser and CConcept Creator created the render above based on photos and videos leaked about the new AirPods Studio. They are not final product images from Apple, but rather a good idea of what they will look like. Whats more important is how they sound and function ...
According to pictures and descriptions from various sources AirPods Studio will not have a specific right and left ear cup, instead chips inside the headphones will orient the sound to your ears regardless of how you put them on. The ear cups and headband liner are interchangeable using magnets to hold them into place. Apple has been attracted to magnets for a long time now, all the way back to the MagSafe cable for MacBooks. It should come as no surprise they are using more magnets to align ports for charging, why not use same concept to create customizable devices?
AirPods Studio will join all the other devices in your secure Apple network. They will seamlessly move with you as you transition from one device to another. I'm sure they will pair like AirPods with your devices and with spatial sound and and active noise cancellation these new truly wireless headphones are bound to be another smash hit for Apple in the headphone market. Think of all the sound engineers, video producers and audiophile aficionados that are yearning for such a device.
To complete the audio rumors section, there are new reports today of a new HomePod mini but I'll cap the accessory rumors here, so we can dive into all the goodness of the iPhone 12 models.
Eeny, mini, miny, Pro
There are three different physical sizes of the iPhone 12, but there are four distinct models in the product lineup. They are the 5.4" mini, the standard 6.1" iPhone, then a Pro version of the same size and then there is the big boy, the 6.7" Pro Max. Each and every one of these phones will have the same processor - Apple's newest chipset the A14 Bionic.
As I said earlier, this is the same chip found in the iPad Air released in September. I've already compared it to the A12Z chip in the 2020 iPad Pro. But lets dig a little deeper the geekbench scores for this groundbreaking 5 nanometer chipset. According to Ice Universe on Twitter a leaked Geekbench test results in Single-Core Score of 1583 and Multi-Core Score of 4198 - Hallelujah!
This is light years ahead of any Android phone on the market. In the iPad Air announcement Apple said the said that using a breakthrough 5-nanometer process technology, A14 Bionic is packed with 11.8 billion transistors for increased performance and power efficiency in nearly every part of the chip.
This latest-generation A-series chip features a new 6-core design for a 40 percent boost in CPU performance, and a new 4-core graphics architecture for a 30 percent improvement in graphics.2To deliver breakthrough machine learning capabilities, A14 Bionic includes a new 16-core Neural Engine that is twice as fast, and capable of performing up to 11 trillion operations per second, taking machine learning apps to a whole new level.
A14 Bionic also includes second-generation machine learning accelerators in the CPU for 10 times faster machine learning calculations. This combination of the new Neural Engine, CPU machine learning accelerators, and high-performance GPU enables powerful on-device experiences for image recognition, natural language learning, analyzing motion, and more.
I think right now we'd all like to go back to simpler times. And the design of the new iPhone 12 accomplishes just that. Gaining inspiration from the iconic iPhone 4, the re-designed iPhone features a flat edge design like the 2020 iPad Pro. Standard iPhone and the mini models will have Aluminum rails while the Pro models are said to have Stainless Steel rails around the outside edge.
All the clues on the Internet seem to indicate that there will be a dark blue color available for the Pro models and some orange and green models along with the standards, of black, and space gray. There is a lot of different information but basically some colors will only be available with the Pro models and some colors like a Product [RED] model as a standard iPhone size.
The best Gorilla Glass money can buy on the front and back with the only changes being the sim tray swapped to the right side of the body. You can see the notch is still there in the photo above that was tweeted this morning by Greg Joswiak, Apple's SVP of Marketing of his iPhone 12 Pro.
I am looking forward to the new design, I'd love to return to those days - but we must forge ahead my friends. As rough as things may appear to be, at least we have some cutting edge technology to help us carve out new lives and businesses. Hell this blog was started because of the opportunity of time to do it in - mostly due to the pandemic and lockdown. Stay safe and take advantage of this time we have now to grow. Having some great devices and services are crucial to growth.
In the video below, reviewer Everything Apple Pro worked with Max Weinbach to create renders and give a close a picture as they can get from all the details swirling in in the current. I provide these as a way to help you imagine how these new devices will look and feel in your hand.
Dem Cameras Tho ...
Although the video provides a lot of detail about the upcoming iPhones, there has been more information leaked about the cameras since then and I want to detail what's being rumored ...
I have read some rumors that the iPhone 12 might have a 64MP main camera, a tremendous upgrade from the 12MP I currently on my iPhone 11. It's been rumored that iPhone 12 will also have multiple lenses that shoot night mode photography, and talk that ultra-wide lens could have a macro photography mode. Others are saying Pro lineup will get a new image stabilization technology Apple has dubbed 'sensor-shift'. Essentially the technology allows sensors to move to counteract camera shake.
Max Weinbach, a noted Apple leaker has claimed that the iPhone 12 models will feature a 3x telephoto zoom lens, improved Smart HDR software, better low-light performance, sensor-shift image stabilization and auto white balance improvements.
Another leak shows the iPhone 12 series being capable of recording 4K videos at 240 frames per second. There are some other rumors about able to shoot with the front and back camera shooting simultaneously and compositing the picture on display - users will be able to adjust the display mode with picture-in-picture like controls. although there are a lot of rumors I fear we won't know all the actual specs until the announcement on October 13th, which is less than a week away ...
Price is What You Pay, Value is What You Get
According to almost every tech blog on the Internet the 5.4" iPhone 12 mini will start at $649 for the 64GB model, 128 GB at $699 and $799 for 256 GB of storage. The iPhone follows suite with a starting price of $749 for the 6.1", 64GB model, 128 GB at $799 and $899 for 256 GB of storage. Neither the mini or the Standard iPhone will have the option for 512 GB, this is being reserved for the Pro model lineup.
The Apple iPhone 12 Pro starts at $999 for 128GB, $1099 for 256GB and $1299 for 512GB of room for your important files. The Pro Max starts at $1099 for 128GB, $1199 for 256GB and $1399 for the biggest baddest phone in all the lands. As I mentioned earlier there will be a two-stage release for these new iPhones. Although all will be announced, only the mini and the standard iPhone 12 will be available for order within a few days after the event. The Pro and Pro Max will not be available immediately - rumor saying it has to do with the mmWave antennas.
So there you have it - everything I have been able to discern from others - as well as what I have been able to detect and learn from all the sources of information across the globe. Which model will you choose - post a comment below and tell me what model, color and accessories you want.
I personally am going for the Pro Max in the blue color variant with 128GB of storage and all the bells and whistles. I'll post a first impressions blog post. It will be followed by a full review after I have throughly used and tested this new bleeding edge device and completely understand how it functions in this new virtual, spatial world that Apple is creating for its loyal fan base of customers.