Every September, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) traditionally holds an event where the latest and greatest iPhones are announced. This year is different. With the a global pandemic still causing ripples in supply chains, this September saw the Apple iPhone event delayed. Instead, the company revealed new Apple Watch and iPad models last month.
Interesting, but iPhones are still Apple’s most important product, and the key driver of AAPL stock growth. Today is the delayed event we’ve all been waiting for: the 2020 iPhone 12 reveal.
Here’s what to expect from Apple’s “Hi, Speed” iPhone event, which starts at 1 p.m. Eastern.
New iPhone 12
Obviously, the star of today’s event is going to be the delayed, iPhone 12. And the “Hi, Speed” tagline? That is likely a reference to the fact that the new iPhones are finally going to adopt 5G cellular support.
Samsung and other Android smartphone manufacturers have had 5G for some time now. But if you recall, Apple was embroiled in a legal dispute with Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and its new modem partner Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) failed to deliver a 5G modem. Last April, Apple and Qualcomm made up, setting the stage for this year’s iPhones to finally adopt the high-speed standard.
Multiple iPhone 12 Models
2020 will be the year of the 5G iPhone 12. We’re expecting Apple to continue on its strategy of releasing multiple models, targeting different consumer demographics. However, this year, Apple is rumored to be going with four different iPhone 12 models instead of three, with a new low-cost version aimed at winning over price-conscious consumers.
Here’s what that four-iPhone lineup would look like. At the low end is an “iPhone 12 Mini” with a 5.4-inch display. Then the 6.1-inch iPhone 12, the 6.1-inch iPhone 11 Pro and a 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max.
All of the new iPhones are expected to adopt a new slab-style design last seen with the iPhone 5 series. Apple is expected to employ OLED displays across its latest devices, which will be powered by an A14 processor with the usual speed boost and emphasis on artificial intelligence (AI). Even the cheapest iPhone 12 will have at least 64GB of storage.
As with last year’s models, look for the Pro versions to feature a three-camera array, with the other iPhones offering dual cameras. It’s possible the Pro models could also have a LIDAR sensor, to further Apple’s augmented reality (AR) plans. The Pro models are also expected to come in new color options, including a slate blue.
Expected to be missing from the box of all iPhone 12 models is a charger and earbuds.
New iPhone 12 Pricing and Availability
One of the big questions is what Apple will charge for the new iPhones. According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors), Apple’s iPhones will be priced as such:
- The iPhone 12 Mini will start at $699
- The iPhone 12 at $799
- The iPhone 12 Pro at $999
- The iPhone 11 Pro Max at $1,099
In the previous generation, the iPhone 11 accounted for the majority of Apple’s iPhone sales, and the $799 iPhone 12 is likely to hit that same sweet spot with consumers for this generation. That iPhone 11 cost $699, but Apple could be pushing the big speed increase of 5G to justify raising the iPhone 12 price by $100.
There’s an expectation that the supply chain disruption is stilling causing issues with availability of the new iPhones. The current guess is that availability will look something like this:
- iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro preorders on Oct. 16 or Oct. 17, release date Oct. 23 or Oct. 24
- iPhone 12 Mini preorders on Nov. 6 or Nov. 7, release date Nov. 13 or Nov. 14
- iPhone 12 Pro Max preorders Nov. 13 or Nov. 14, release date Nov. 20 or Nov. 21
Apple often peppers its iPhone events with other surprise announcements. There are a few potential new products on the radar that could show up today.
The first is new “MagSafe” wireless chargers, which are rumored to be wireless charge mats with magnets to help align the iPhone properly. Boosting MagSafe wireless charger sales could be one reason why the company would leave out a charger in the box of the new iPhones — the other reason is to add to the company’s green cred, by cutting packaging and extras.
Also possible are new Apple-branded headphones and a new Home Pod Mini smart speaker.
Apple has been rumored to be working on premium headphones with its own logo — not Beats — for several years. And the HomePod has been criticized from day one for being too expensive, with no option available for consumers who lack deep pockets. This could be the year these products make an appearance, and just in time for the holiday sales season.
Adding credence to the possibility that they could be announced today, last week Apple removed all third-party headphones and speakers from its online store.
Stay Tuned for Our Live Blog of the 2020 Apple iPhone Event
So far, everything here is speculation and best guesses. Apple is notoriously close-lipped about its plans, and its suppliers are reluctant to drop hints. To find out exactly what the company releases, stay tuned for our live blog of the 2020 Apple iPhone Event, which begins at 1 p.m Eastern today.
On the date of publication, Brad Moon did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.