Four flavours of the new iPhoneThe new iPhones— the iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max—aren’t just pretty to look at. They’re also beasts when it comes to performance.
There have been some very interesting developments over at Cupertino in the last couple of months. An on-going trade war with China has pushed Apple to experiment with shifting production to India while also consolidating more control over their production line by building most of their components in-house, an example of this would be how they’re moving to their own ARM-based chips for their laptop line. Apple isn’t new to their chip manufacturing game, however, since all of their iPhones use CPUs that are completely designed and produced by Apple. The A13 Bionic chip that powers the last generation iPhone 11 line of products was an excellent example of how powerful Apple-made chips really are and with the release of the new iPhone 12, these chips have gotten faster.
The new line of iPhones offers four variants for four different use case scenarios and price-points: the iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The iPhones this time around also feature a completely new design, more reminiscent of the older iPhone 6 models with sharper edges and flat front and back glass designs. The new iPhones aren’t just pretty to look at however, they’re also beasts when it comes to performance.
The A14 Bionic is a super powerful CPU that already powers Apple’s iPads. Apple has advertised these chips to be 14percent faster than the A13 Bionic that powered the iPhone 11s while the new GPU is stated to perform 30percent faster than the A12. The A14 also uses a smaller transistor size at 5nm which has enabled Apple to pack in 11.8 billion transistors inside the CPUs, a sizable increase from 8.5 billion on the older generation A13s. Paired with the 16-core neural engine, all of the iPhones 12 are going to be blazing fast while providing noticeable improvements to machine learning and artificial intelligence processes like AR and image processing.
All variations of the new iPhone come equipped with the A14 Bionic CPU but where these phones differ is in their screen and device sizes, camera modules and battery size. The top of the line, iPhone 12 Pro Max comes with a 6.7-inch display, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 with a 6.1-inch display and the smallest iPhone Mini with a one-hand friendly 5.4-inch display. All of these displays, regardless of their size, are Super Retina XDR Displays that use OLED technology that clearly outshine the iPhone 11’s comparatively dull LCD display. The different variations also come with different camera modules: the iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 Pro come with three rear camera modules, all 12 MP but with different field-of-view lenses. The top of the line iPhone 12s are equipped with an ultra-wide, wide, telephoto module whereas the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini only come with two of these modules, the wide and the ultra-wide.
Although these camera modules are exactly the same as the ones on their last-generation iPhone 11, the iPhone 12s perform slightly better in low light, thanks to a higher aperture rating on their wide modules. But while the cameras and the sensors remain the same, except for the iPhone 12 Pro Max, the machine learning and artificial intelligence on the software side of these phones have been improved with photos on the iPhone 12 looking much better in terms of colour accuracy and edge detection. On the video side of things, the iPhone 12 can shoot 4K 60fps videos much like the iPhone 11 but the new Dolby Vision support on the new models give the new model’s videos a rich and filmic look.
To protect their vastly improved screens, Apple also features a new glass technology, the ceramic shield glass which has been embedded with ceramic fragments that give the glass more shatter resistance. This glass technology paired with the new sharp edges further reinforces the screen, giving it more shatter strength; scratch resistance, however, remains the same.
Apple has also included a new MagSafe technology on their new iPhones. There are magnets on the back of the new iPhones that help align the phone to wireless chargers, coming as a welcome feature to fidgety wireless charging technology that requires devices to be placed perfectly on charging pads for them to work well, or at all. Snapping the phones to the internal coil is a simple quality-of-life addition that makes the new iPhones easier to charge wirelessly. Apart from charging, these MagSafe features can also be used by various third-party accessories.
The MagSafe feature is even more important on the new iPhones since Apple has removed all accessories from the iPhone box this year. In an attempt to be more environment-friendly, Apple believes that iPhone buyers usually already have an Apple Charger and AirPods to pair with their new phones which would negate throwing away the default chargers that come bundled with the phone. Thus the new iPhone package comes only with the device, one USB-C to Thunderbolt cable and that’s it. While removing throw-away components like the charger and the earphones might be great for the environment, Apple could have done many other things differently to make their devices more environment-friendly, like making their phones easier to repair and curbing planned obsolescence.
There are many things the iPhone 12s do great, but if you already have an iPhone 11, should you consider upgrading to the new devices? Well, at this point, we’d say no. The new phones also come with the latest 5G technology, one reason why you’d want to upgrade, but since 5G technology is still rare and not even available in Nepal, upgrading would make little to no sense. The iPhone 11s are still very capable phones that do everything the 12 does, the 12 is just faster and snappier than the 11. For older iPhone owners, the 12 is an excellent upgrade option with future-proof technology and a plethora of devices to choose from. The iPhone 12 Mini seems the most promising since Apple hasn’t made a device this small in ages and the 5.4-inch display makes it a joy to use for people who prefer smaller form factors to the behemoths of today.