Apple's iPhone 12 won't see a significant price increase, claims analyst

Carly Page
clock • 17 min read

Firm will reportedly offset the cost of 5G

APPLE'S 2020 iPhone 12 lineup, which is expected to debut a design overhaul and added 5G connectivity, won't be much more expensive than the iPhone 11.

So says analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, naturally, who said in a research note seen by MacRumours that Apple will not significantly increase the price of 5G iPhones compared to this year's lineup.

Though he didn't give an exact price, Kuo predicts that the price hike won't result in an increase of more than $50. With pricing for the iPhone 11 starting at £729 here in Blighty, that should mean that the iPhone 12 will be available from less than £800. 

Kuo says that rather than hike prices, Apple instead plans to offset the cost of 5G by reducing its supply chain expenses, which could include dropping its upfront non-recurring engineering payment to suppliers of the redesigned metal chassis and frame for 5G iPhones.

10/12/19: The iPhone 12 could make yet even more advances in the battery life department, thanks to improved circuitry design.

So says a report in The Elec, which reports that Apple's 2020 iPhones could feature a custom battery production module that's almost 50 per cent smaller and thinner than before, freeing up room for a larger battery.

This so-called Production Module Packages (PMP) -  protection circuits that prevent over-charging and over-discharging - would be supplied by South Korea's ITM Semiconductor, which will be supplying units for next year's Galaxy S11

9/12/19: Ming Chi-Kuo, fresh from spouting predictions about 2021's iPhones, has claimed that Apple will release four OLED iPhones in 2020.

The so-called iPhone 12 lineup will comprise of 5.4in, 6.1in and 6.7in models, according to Kuo, who claims there will be two 6.1in variants - one with a triple-lens rear camera setup complete with Time of Flight (ToF) sensor, and one with a lesser-specced dual-camera array.

He also expects all four models to support 5G thanks to Qualcomm's  X55 modem, adding that availability of models with Sub-6G-only or Sub-6G-plus-mmWave types of 5G will vary by country.

In his latest research note, seen by 9to5Mac, Kuo also reiterates that Apple will release a 4.7in iPhone SE 2 during the first half of 2020. This, he claims, will feature an LCD display with a design similar to that of the iPhone 8.

5/12/19: Apple's next-gen iPhones could mark the return of Touch ID in the form of a souped-up under-display sensor. 

So says Economic Daily News, which reports that Apple is planning to release at least one variant of the iPhone 12 that will make use of Qualcomm's ultrasonic fingerprint scanning tech, which can already be found on the likes of Samsung's Galaxy S10 and Note 10 handsets.

As per the report, Apple is planning to meet with Taiwanese manufacturer GIS next week to discuss the plans. If a deal was inked, GIS, which "plays a key role in the production of fingerprint recognition modules", would then collaborate with Qualcomm to bring the technology to Apple's iDevices.

However, as it's still unclear whether mass production can be reached, the report notes that Apple could push the inclusion of the ultrasonic tech to its 2021 iPhone lineup.

30/11/19: The iPhone 12 could be Apple's first smartphone to ship with AirPods includes in the box. 

So says hit-and-miss rumour peddler Digitimes, which reports that Apple's pricey wireless earbuds will come bundled with next year's iPhones. Such a move would make sense for the company, as it has long stressed that the future of audio is wireless despite shipping wired earbuds with all of its smartphones. 

It remains unclear whether AirPods will ship with all iPhone models or Apple's higher-spec Pro models only. Digitimes also fails to mention whether the move will see Apple hike the price of the iPhone 12; the current bundled earphones cost just £29, compared to the £159 starting price of AirPods

The report does add, however, that other smartphone manufacturers, including Samsung and Xiaomi, are also considering bundling wireless earbuds with their devices next year.

22/11/19: Next year's iPhones look set to get an upgrade in the RAM department, according to analysts at Barclays.

The iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max will pack 6GB RAM, the analysts told MacRumours, up from the 4GB RAM currently packed inside the iPhone 11 models. The lesser-spec iPhone 12 will likely stick with the current 4GB RAM, according to Barclays.

The analysts also expect the higher-end iPhone 12 models to feature rear-facing 3D sensing and mmWave support for higher-performance 5G.

Barclays also threw out some predictions about the long-rumoured iPhone SE 2, claiming that production of the device will begin in February ahead of its likely release the following month. 

21/11/19: A notorious tipster has shared a render of what we can expect the so-called iPhone 12 to look like.

The render (below) which is based on leaked information, shows that the iPhone 12 will borrow some design elements from both the iPhone 4 and iPad Pro with its industrial chassis and slimmed-down bezels.

The notch looks set to remain, though. While Geskin also shared an image of what a notch-less iPhone 12 would look like, his follow-up tweet suggests the cutout will remain for at least another year. 

The image, though not official, also suggests that the iPhone 12 could be the first to sport a quad-camera setup; recent rumours suggested Apple could equip next year's handsets with a depth-sensing Time of Flight sensor.

3/11/19: The iPhone 12 lineup could be Apple's most expensive yet due to its added 5G components and new metal frame.

So says analyst Ming Chi-Kuo, who in a research note seen by Apple Insider claims a new, larger motherboard - necessary to accommodate the circuitry for connecting the new 5G antenna - could come with a 35 per cent increase in cost.

Additionally, the iPhone 12's redesigned iPhone 4-alike chassis will be 50 to 60 per cent more expensive to construct, while its glass looks set to be 40 to 50 per cent pricier than that found on the iPhone 11.

If Apple was to pass these extra costs onto consumers, the iPhone 12 will likely start around £1,100, compared to the iPhone 11's £729 price tag. 

28/10/19: Apple's 2020 iPhones will reportedly be the first to ship with a 5nm processor. 

So says Nikkei, which reports that Apple will release three iPhones with 5G connectivity next year that will utilise Qualcomm's X55 5G modem. This will come paired with the company's first chipset to be built using a 5-nanometer process, according to the report, which will likely arrive as the A14 Bionic. 

As well as support for 5G connectivity and an all-new 5nm chip, Nikkei reports that next year's iPhones could debut Apple's first major redesign since 2017. It's heard from its sources that the iPhone 12's "leading-edge screens" could be the first to adopt under-display fingerprint scanners.  

According to previous rumours, the handsets could also adopt an all-new chassis with a metal frame structure reminiscent of the iPhone 4. 

28/10/19: Next year's iPhones could double the refresh rate of Apple's current handsets with 120Hz ProMotion displays. 

So says hit-and-miss rumour-peddler Digitimes, which claims the iPhone 12 will follow in the footsteps of Apple's ProMotion iPad Pros with a Pixel 4-rivalling 120Hz screen, a significant upgrade over the iPhones' current 60Hz displays. 

The iPhone will sport a high refresh rate OLED panel, according to Digitimes, unlike the iPad Pro's LCD offering. 

Apple launched its first 120Hz screens in 2017 with the 10.5in iPad Pro and 12.9in iPad Pro. Bringing such a screen to its next-gen iPhones will undoubtedly improve the overall iOS experience on its smaller-screened devices, bringing increased responsiveness and more fluid scrolling and swiping. 

24/10/19: Apple is reportedly plotting some major design changes for next year's iPhones and one of them could be the removal of the notch.

That's according to Twitter tipster Benjamin Geskin, who claims Apple is testing new Face ID prototypes with new optics, some of which are "smaller in width" and some which "fit in the top bezel."

While by no means confirmation - Geskin doesn't have a faultless track record - this suggests Apple is either looking to reduce the size of the notch or eliminate the cutout it completely.

Geskin also claims that the iPhone 12 lineup will sport wider antennas on the top, bottom (below) which will be made from a new material - either glass, ceramic or sapphire. This is no doubt to make them to compatible with 5G networks, with all iPhone 12 models tipped to support the next-gen connectivity.

And finally, the loose-lipped tipster says that in the long-term, Apple plans to get rid of the Lightning port. While next year's iPhones are expected to switch to USB-C, Geskin notes that, ultimately, iPhones will rely solely on wireless charging. However, this change is unlikely to be made until 2023 at the earliest.

"Apple long-term plan is to get rid of the Lightning port for the wireless charging and data transfer (UWD technology - 480Mbps (USB 3.0) speed at 3 meters, 110Mbps at 10 meters)," Geskin notes.

18/10/19: O2 has dropped the biggest hint yet than next year's iPhones will support 5G.

O2, which this week switched on its 5G network, has detailed a trade-in offer for £100 off an as-yet-unannounced iPhone. The deal, which is listed under the not-so-subtle heading "5Guarantee", will give buyers of an iPhone 11, 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max on a 90GB, 120GB or Unlimited 4G tariff £100 off the "the New Apple Smartphone" in 2020.

While this doesn't confirm that next year's iPhone will offer 5G, it's a pretty big hint given it's the only non-5G device mentioned in O2's 5G-focused press release.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has also long-peddled the rumour that next year's iPhones will be the first to support 5G networks; he claims two "premium" Apple handsets will be 5G-ready at launch next year thanks to the inclusion of a Qualcomm modem and homegrown RF antenna designs. 

25/9/19: Apple may have just released its iPhone 11 lineup, but renowned analyst Ming Chi-Kuo is already spouting rumours about next years handsets. 

According to his latest research note, seen by MacRumours, Apple's 2020 iPhones will sport a "significant" new design complete with metal frame structure reminiscent of the, er, iPhone 4. Additionally, the redesigned chassis will feature "a more complex segmentation design, new trenching and injection moulding procedures, and sapphire or glass cover assembly to protect the trench injection moulding structure," Kuo notes.

"We predict that the new 2H20 iPhone design will change significantly [...] The metal frame and the front and rear 2/2.5D glass are still used, but the metal frame surface will be changed to a similar design to the iPhone 4, replacing the current surface design," the research note reads. 

While it might seem bizarre that Apple would recycle the aesthetic of a 10-year old smartphone, particularly one that suffered signal issues caused by its "defective" design, the firm's most recent iPad Pro tablets feature a more blocky, industrial design that's somewhat reminiscent of the iPhone 4. 

Kuo also reiterates his earlier predictions that next year's iPhones will be the first to offer 5G support, noting that the inclusion of next-gen connectivity will increase Apple's smartphone shipments to 85 million units in 2020, compared to 75 million new iPhone shipments in 2019.

And if his guesswork is on the money, you can also expect next year's iPhones lineup to comprise 5.4in and 6.7in OLED variants and a 6.1in LCD variant, with the higher-spec models set to boast a rear-facing time-of-flight 3D camera that will support augmented reality

11/9/19: Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects Apple to release three 5G-capable iPhones in 2020.

Kuo originally predicted that just two 5G iPhones would launch next year, in the form of Apple's premium 5.4in and 6.7in handsets. However, in a new research note seen by MacRumours, he claims all three of next year's iPhones will be 5G-ready as Apple looks to better compete with lower-cost 5G Android handsets.

The analyst's change of heart follows Apple's $1bn acquisition of Intel's smartphone modem business, which has seen it scoop up 2,200 of the chipmaker's employees, along with its 5G-related intellectual property, equipment and leases. 

Apple's 2020 iPhones will likely still make use of Qualcomm's chips, though. While the company is working on its own modem chips, these are unlikely to be ready until 2021. 

According to Kuo, the 5G-ready iPhones will support both mmWave and Sub-6GHz spectrum to meet the requirements of the US market but notes that it's not yet but it is not clear if Apple will launch a lower-cost 5G iPhone that only supports Sub-6GHz.

22/7/19: Apple's looks set to equip next year's iPhones with 120Hz ProMotion displays.

While such high refresh rates are typically reserved for gaming-focused handsets like the Razer Phone 2 and newly-announced RoG Phone 2, tipster Ice Universe claims that Apple's 2020 iPhones will double their current 60Hz refresh rates to 120Hz. 

According to the tweet (above), Apple is  "considering a switchable 60Hz/120Hz refresh rate screen on the iPhone in 2020", and is currently in talks with OLED display suppliers Samsung and LG. 

If the rumour is legit, Apple's 2020 iPhones won't be its first devices to boast 120Hz screens - the 10.5in and 12.9in iPad Pros have boasted the super-fast refresh rates since 2017, with the tablets boasting LED Retina ProMotion displays.


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