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iPhone 12 – Quiet Giant

I started Oct 13th super excited about the iPhone 12 event… but once I shut down the stream… I just wasn’t as excited as usual. I actually was taken aback! I asked myself, why am I feeling this way? True, the events simply aren’t as entertaining as the hay days of Steve Jobs, but I think the event itself was well done. So what was it? Perhaps the iPhone 12 just isn’t that exciting? Perhaps, just perhaps…

iPhone 12 Event

iPhone 12 Deserves A LOT Of Excitement

But after a good think, I realized I SHOULD be very excited indeed, the iPhone 12 was indeed one HELL of an update. After days of pundits talking about it, I discovered I wasn’t alone and found the new flagship phones to be very well received indeed. My initial indifference seemed to be shared, as was the idea it was being underrated. Seems everyone is coming around to the idea that the iPhone 12 is indeed a quiet giant. What are the biggest features this year?

iPhone 12 5G – Kneecapped In Canada

The biggest feature of the iPhone 12 is the fact it now supports 4.5th generation networks.. and also true 5G networks.. but only in the USA. What is 5G? It’s another technological leap in cellular technology that boils down to faster internet speeds for you and me. Unfortunately, due to branding and over-eager telecom companies, most “5G” is simply LTE on steroids… really fast speeds, but not true 5G. When it all washes out, you’ll be lucky to get 2X the download speed from 4G LTE for at least the next year or a few. BUT, that is still a purchase factor considering the length of time Apple iPhones last and enjoy full support from Apple. In 2027, while you are sitting back enjoying your Mai Tai in your flying car, your iPhone 12 will be able to make use of the expected 25X faster networks that will undoubtedly be commonplace at the time. 

So, what about that “True 5G” I mentioned? Well, the true 5G technology or “mmWave” is high on promises, but has MASSIVE caveats… like the fact you need line-of-site for it to wok at anywhere near reasonable speeds. That rain can cause it to slow down, even your hand can block the signal. Because of these limitations, you need LOT’S of antennas, 5G is only going to be in major centres, and in fact, only places like stadiums and train stations at the moment. On top of that, looks like Canada is getting the short end of the stick, we will not get iPhones equipped with the mmWave antennas.. so no high techie networks for us. This actually pisses me off frankly. Even though we don’t yet have the mmWave networks, I would have hoped that Apple would have given us those antennas!

One of the smart things Apple did was made smart switching for the 5G antennas.. due to the fact they suck power like a crazed AI bent on world domination. The phone will only use the 5G network when load demands it; a good thing as the initial tests indicates it sucks more than 2 hours from your battery life! Also disappointingly, it appears the 5G indicator on the Network Status only shows the availability of the network, not if it’s actually being used.. hoping they change that. 

UPDATE: It’s been found that the 5G antennas can be used for the Wi-Fi Hotspot!

iPhone 12 MINI – DEFINITELY NOT Kneecapped

Possibly the most exciting thing to come of the event was a smaller version of the iPhone 12, called the iPhone 12 Mini. Revealed in a bond inspired Russian Dolls of briefcases, the new phone is larger than the beloved iPhone 5/s/se form factor, but still significantly smaller than the mainline. Measuring 5.4″ compared to the regular 6.1″, it’s comparatively diminutive, and for many people, a very welcome option. 

iPhone 12 mini

What makes the iPhone 12 Mini such an amazing option is that it has ALL the features of the regular iPhone 12… like… EVERYTHING. It has not been kneecapped in any way. It has the same Super Retina XDR OLED display, up to 1200 nits of brightness, 460 PPI, Wide colour, True Tone display as the rest of the line. It also has the full-powered (insanely powered in fact) A14 processor; 6 cores, 5nm process featuring 11.8 billion transistors. That’s over 8 transistors for each man, woman and child in China! Not sure what they’d do with them.. but still!

The Mini also features the same hardened screen technology that is featured across the line, a new ceramic impregnated glass from Corning they are calling Ceramic Shield. Haven’t seen tests yet, but they claim it’s 4 X stronger.. but I know my customers, they are the BEST at breaking unbreakable things! Due to this tougher glass and the OLED screens, repair costs from Apple are a bit higher. Currently, the screen repair on iPhone 12 is $365 CAD, compared to $265 for the iPhone 11… quite the jump. 

New Old Design

iPhone 12 Review

The iPhone 12 has borrowed from multiple previous generations; the notch & edge to edge screen of the iPhone X series, and the squared-off, chamfered edges of the iPhone 5 series. What results is a refreshed and frankly, beautiful look. They managed to reduce the size a bit more, from 5.94″ to 5.78″ tall, 2.98″ to 2.82″ wide. The iPhone 11 was 0.33″ deep, the iPhone 12 is just 0.29″. The weight has been dropped from 6.84oz to 0.29oz. 

The Mini and regular iPhone 12 comes in a brushed aluminum black, white, Product(red), green & blue. The Pro series is available in beautiful stainless steel, with deep graphite, pacific blue, silver and SUPER shiny gold. 

The entire line also features an improved wireless charging connection, a rehash of the MagSafe technology. In a logical step, they employ a ring of (recycled) rare earth magnets to ensure precise alignment of items. Not only does this ensure the best connection for charging, but also enables an entirely new line of snap-on accessories like a wallet. 

iPhone 12 MagSafe

All models feature WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5 and the Ultra-Wideband U1 chip. They all maintain IP68 water and dust resistance. The iPhone 12 is expected to get 17 hours of video playback(Mini to get 15), and the ePro Max up to 20 hours, the longest of any iPhone ever. 

iPhone 12  & Pro Cameras

The entire line has simply better cameras. There are many technical details, but it boils down to the iPhone 12 having the same 12MP wide and ultrawide cameras, but with improved features like night mode and deep fusion on all lenses. One big feature is that they will use the Dolby Vision format for video, 30fps on the regular iPhone 12, and 60fps on the iPhone 12 Pro. HDR video recording with Nightvision, and Nightvision Timelapse. The front-facing TrueDepth camera also features Smart HDR, Deep Fusion, Night mode, and Night mode Portrait shots.

What sets the iPhone 12 Pro Max apart is the addition of a Telephoto lens with up to 4X optical zoom, and 10X digital zoom. The Pro Max also has sensor stabilization instead of lens stabilization, a new  Apple ProRAW formate for advanced editing options and a plethora of other minor options that will cause excessive salivating among photographers. Check out Austin Manns detailed review here

The new features were show off in a slick video…

Conclusion

When looking at the big picture, the iPhone 12 is a damned solid upgrade. One point of contention though was the fact Apple has stopped including the ambiguous USB charger in the box. If you are like me, you have a dozen laying around anyway, and the positive impact on the environment is substantial. They have reduced the cost if the charger by $10 if you need one though. 

Pricing is a little higher this year on the whole, with the iPhone Mini matching last year’s iPhone 11. Since Canadian pricing is seemingly unannounced so far, I can’t comment on it. 

Should you upgrade? From an iPhone 11, perhaps not, but anything older, this is a fantastic choice! Reported pre-order numbers say this is going to be a “super cycle” perhaps. I personally may go for the iPhone 12 mini.. but may jump to the pro for the camera. 

If you have any questions about the iPhone 12, give us a call

 

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Ryszard (Rick) Gold, From Calgary, Alberta, Canada has over 20 years of experience working with Apple products in a technical capacity. Passionate about technology in general, his natural troubleshooting abilities, curiosity and appreciation of good design lead him into working exclusively with Apple Computer products.
Ryszard Gold
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