Its been a while since Apple made a major redesign of the iPhone. Every iPhone after the iPhone X has been sporting the same notch, and the same curved edges and rounded chassis, save for the number of cameras and the bigger camera bump at the back.
And while we might have to wait a little longer for the iPhone 12 series due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the slight delay might be worth waiting for, as the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro could bring a new design to the iPhone, one that could match the iPad Pro.
iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max will have an all-new design
According to a Bloomberg report citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter, Apple is apparently preparing a major redesign of its top-tier iPhone models by borrowing some design cues from the latest iPad Pro as part of a major fall refresh that will also see 5G connectivity being added to as many as four new handsets. The report also suggests that Apple could release two new key accessories along with the iPhone 12, which most likely will be the new HomePod and the brand new Apple AirTags.
The Bloomberg report states that the upcoming iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max will have flat stainless steel edges instead of the current curved ones on their predecessors the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max. The upcoming iPhones could also come with slightly more sharply rounded corners like the iPad Pro 2018 and flat screens rather than the sloping curved screens on the present models. All of this points to an iPhone 12 Pro design that seems to be inspired by both the iPad Pro and the iPhone 5 or iPhone 4.
Smaller notches at last?
Most importantly, the new iPhones will also feature a smaller notch than the current iPhones. The redesign isn't very surprising and seems to corroborate with some early reports and leaks.
Four new iPhone 12 models
Meanwhile, the report also suggests that Apple will launch four new iPhones this year – the two Pro models that will replace the current iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, and two other models that will replace the standard iPhone 11. The two lower-end models that will replace the iPhone 11 will come in tow different screen sizes and may not sport the design of the flat edge of the Pro models, in order to distinguish them from the iPhone 12 Pro models.
iPhones could be delayed
The report also claims that some of the new iPhones could be released "multiple weeks later than normal" due to the cause of the disruption by the COVID-19 pandemic. While we may not have a September release for the iPhone 12 series, but the sources claim the launch could still happen within the typical fall 'pre-Christmas' window.
Apple has reportedly not informed supplier of any significant delays, and the company's engineers are said to be travelling to China to finalise the product designs in May.
iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max will get 3D LIDAR sensors
Corroborating what we've heard from prior iPhone 12 leaks, the report suggests the iPhone 12 Pro models will come with three cameras in the back along with a 3D LIDAR scanner that we saw in the 2020 iPad Pro models, while the lower-end iPhones will continue to have the same two camera setup as with the current iPhone 11. The LIDAR sensor will set the stage for advanced augmented reality (AR) applications.
A bigger iPhone 12 Pro Max
In terms of the displays, The top-of-the-line iPhone or iPhone 12 Pro Max is said to come with a slightly larger screen than the 6.5-inch OLED panel on the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Apple is also planning to remove the notch cutout at the top of the display for the selfie camera and FaceID sensors in future designs but the four upcoming iPhones are likely to come with a smaller notch than their predecessors, along with significant processor upgrades with an emphasis on speeding up artificial intelligence and AR tasks.
It can be recalled that Apple has released all major new iPhones in September since 2012, except the iPhone X in 2017 which came out in November due to supply constraints. And although most of the details in the report just reiterate what we have already know or heard from other sources before. But given the uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic and the economy, Apple's launch plans and iPhone specifications can still change, and so it's recommended to take any rumours with a pinch of salt until Apple itself makes everything official.
Smaller, cheaper HomePod
Meanwhile, the Bloomberg sources also reveal information about the upcoming HomePod which they claim will be a smaller – about half the size of the original, but keeping the same design - and cheaper. Apparently, Apple is said to be targeting a release in the second half of the year. Apple will be offering it at a lower price to help it better compete with other cheap smart speakers from Amazon and Google. The company is also said to be working on widening the support for third-party music streaming services onnthe HomePod.
AirTags could finally launch this year
Also, the long-rumoured AirTags or the Apple Air Tag which we see popping up every now and then could finally be launched this year. The device will be a small electronic tag much like a Tile tracker that can be attached to any valuable item and it helps you keep a track of the item. And in case you lose the item you could try to remotely ring your tag or see its location on your phone. The AirTags are said to come with an Apple-designed leather sleeve and a keychain to attach it to objects.
New MacBook Pro, Apple TV, iPads and more
Last but not the least, Apple is working on a new MacBook Pro model, Apple TV, refreshes for its budget iPads and a new iMac as well, the report cites people familiar with Apple product roadmap as saying. However, we may not see all of them launching this year.