Apple spilled the sauce this week. The mobile devices company revealed its newest iPhone(s). There are 4 new ones for 2020. They’re similar to each other, and they’re familiar, being basically the same as last year’s iPhone. They are, after all, iPhones. And that’s not a bad thing.
For 2020, the four new iPhones are all twelves. You have two tiers; each tier has two versions that differ mainly by size. In fact, when you compare them by specs, you see they have very little difference between them.
The lower tier of iPhone(s) 12 is, I guess, the “normal” one. The upper tier is called “Pro.” Although there are 4 new iPhones, there are only three sizes: small, medium, and large.
- iPhone 12 mini
- 5.4” screen
- iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro
- 6.1” screen
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- 6.7” screen
This year, the iPhone 12-es do not offer any major new features; they simply iterate current abilities. Basically, they’re all a little bit faster, nicer, or better than before. If you have an iPhone 11 from last year, I don’t see why you’d need to upgrade.
But do the new iPhones need to make great new advancements? No, not really. They’re already excellent mobile devices, firmly established at the leading edge of mobile computing. This year, they keep that solid stance, moving forward just enough with the march of time.
Well, the cameras are improved, especially on the most expensive model. But I dare say that most people’s phone cameras are good enough these days. So why shell out so much money for a phone that costs $1,000?
The real updates to the 2020 iPhones is the all-new-retro industrial design we first saw with the wonderful iPhone 4 back in 2010. That’s right, the greatest thing about the latest iPhones appears to be their appearance – a 10 year old squared-edge design.
Plus, new colors.
Yes, the iPhone(s) 12 do look as super sleek as ever. It would be travesty to encase them. But nobody wants to drop their fancy expensive mobile computer on the concrete. Heck, I put my “budget” $250 Android phone in a $20 case with a glass shield on it.
I would have bought a vibranium case, but Walmart was all out. And the adamantium cases cost too much. So, they’re really unobtanium. But I digress for fun.
Here’s the full starting price comparison of all the current iPhones Apple now sells:
- iPhone SE $400
- iPhone XR $500
- iPhone 11 $600
- iPhone 12 mini $729
- iPhone 12 $829
- iPhone 12 Pro $1000
- iPhone 12 Pro Max $1100
*Depends on carrier…
It should be noted that the $400 iPhone SE can do all the same basic things as the $1100 iPhone 12 Pro Max. The differences, costing $700 more, are enhancements and preferences.
For this year’s iPhones, Apple also announced new MagSafe accessories. Cases, wallets, and chargers, for example, magnetically attach to iPhone 12. The video demos make MagSafe look compelling.
As an aside, Apple has talked about Augmented Reality (AR) in its product announcements for years, touting it as the future or as innovative. It looks cool in demos, but is anyone actually using AR? It doesn’t seem to be a real thing, or maybe it remains niche. I keep thinking that, after years of advancing AR tech, a compelling use case would appear. /Crickets.
Oh, and the iPhone 12-s now have 5G.
One other thing that Apple announced is their new $99 HomePod mini. Notice that I prefaced the product’s name with its price, because that, to me, is what’s most “magical” about this Apple product.
Despite being a “Mobile Devices Company,” Apple is pushing into the home devices market. A sub-$100 price point is like a magical barrier. Given the cost and the capabilities of the HomePod mini, Apple is banking on each household buying multiple mini HomePods.
Even I, an Apple-deviceless nerd, am tempted.
Besides being affordable (for an Apple product), the HomePod mini is said to play good quality music in a 360 degree spatial way, so it should sound good from any direction. Nice.
And if you have two ($198!) HomePod minis in the same room, they will auto-magically pair together to play audio in stereo. Nice-Nice!
Also, you can play music throughout the entire house from all available HomePod minis.
Plus, with multiple mini HomePods, you can use a feature called “Intercom.” It does what you think and sounds useful. You can announce to your household anything you want. Siri plays back your voice, not the Siri voice, to share your announcement. And you can speak it from anywhere: your Apple Watch, your iPhone, your other HomePod mini.
From what I’ve read online, though, Amazon’s Echo speakers with Alexa have the same functions, more or less, and they come with even lower price tags. But Apple is known to make devices work together better than any other company. And since iPhones are common in many households, a $99 Apple smart speaker should be an easy sell.
Apple has made incremental moves in the mobile device area with the new iPhone 12 while it has made a big step in the home device area. But add to that Apple’s product launches last month, the new Apple Watch and iPads; you see overall progress for its mobile devices business. And more is on the way.
Next month, Apple is said to be revealing another of its biggest leaps forward for mobile computing with new laptops featuring its own custom CPUs. As usual, we’ll wait and see.
I admit, since my wife and kids use iPhones, I’ve been thinking about switching back. And these Apple announcements draw me. Even when you look past the marketing hype, there’s no doubt that Apple devices have high-quality and reliability. Plus, they have privacy and security. And now iPhones have widgets like Android.