iPhone 12 launch: what we learned from the Apple ‘Hi, Speed’ event

Tech giant unveils new 5G smartphone line-up

Another month, another exciting Apple launch. Just weeks after the unveiling of the Watch Series 6 and new iPad Air, the iPhone 12 has finally landed.

The tech giant presented the new smartphone to the world last night at a “Hi, Speed” virtual event, with details of the HomePod mini and range of MagSafe accessories also revealed.

Available in four options - the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max - the new flagship handsets are the first from Apple that work on faster 5G networks.

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The California-based company’s boss Tim Cook said: “5G will bring a new level of performance for downloads and uploads, higher-quality video streaming, more responsive gaming, real-time interactivity and so much more.”

The iPhone 12 models also introduce MagSafe, a magnetic attachment system “which offers high-powered wireless charging and an all-new ecosystem of accessories that easily attach to iPhone”, according to a statement from Apple.

But “for the first time, none of the devices will be bundled with headphones or a charger”, reports the BBC. The company says the move is intended to reduce the impact on the environment.

Here we look at what else Apple, and tech journalists, have had to say about the new iPhone 12 range.

iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini

The standard iPhone 12, which has a 6.1in display, is joined by the iPhone 12 mini, featuring a 5.4in display. Both are “packed with 5G technology” and the latest A14 Bionic chip, CNBC reports, and the 12 series “instantly reminds of the classic iPhone 4 with flat edges design”.

Apple has placed a “major bet on 5G”, but despite that investment the 12 mini is the “most affordable flagship-series phone the company has announced in several years”, says The Daily Telegraph.

Described by Apple as heralding a “new era” for the iPhone, the handsets offer an “advanced dual-camera system, and a Super Retina XDR display with the Ceramic Shield front cover”.

Both will be available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB models, with a choice of five aluminum finishes: blue, green, black, white, and (Product)Red.

Pre-orders for the iPhone 12 open on 16 October, with availability from 23 October. The iPhone 12 mini can be pre-ordered from 6 November and will be in stores from 13 November.

iPhone 12 from £799; iPhone 12 mini from £699; apple.com

iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max

The iPhone 12 Pro features the powerful A14 Bionic chip, all-new design with Ceramic Shield, pro camera system, LiDAR Scanner, and the biggest Super Retina XDR display yet.

And like the standard iPhone 12, the Pro model has a 6.1in OLED screen – larger than the 5.8in screen of the iPhone 11 Pro.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max, meanwhile, is the largest Apple smartphone, with a 6.7in OLED screen.

Both the Pro and Pro Max get “premium materials and three cameras, as well as lidar for depth mapping, AR and low-light autofocus”, CNet reports.

Pre-orders for the iPhone 12 Pro open on 16 October, with the handsets in stores from 23 October. iPhone 12 Pro Max pre-orders start on 6 November and general sale starts from 13 November.

Both are available in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB models, with colour choices comprising graphite, silver, gold, and pacific blue.

iPhone 12 Pro from £999; iPhone 12 Pro Max from £1,099; apple.com

MagSafe accessories

As well as launching its new range of iPhone devices, Apple has also revealed details of the MagSafe accessories for the 12 and 12 Pro. Designed specifically for the new smartphones, the accessories range includes cases and wallets with built-in magnets for faster wireless charging.

Available from 23 October; apple.com

HomePod mini

The newest addition to the HomePod smart speaker family is designed to work with Apple’s range of devices to play Apple Music, podcasts and various radio stations.

Just 3.3in tall, the HomePod mini is “packed with innovative technologies and advanced software”, according to Apple, and offers Siri assistance.

Available in white or space grey, the HomePod mini is powered by Apple’s S5 chip, “the same one in the Apple Watch SE and Series 5”, says the Daily Mail.

£99; available from 16 November; apple.com

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Mike Starling is the digital features editor at The Week, where he writes content and edits the Arts & Life and Sport website sections and the Food & Drink and Travel newsletters. He started his career in 2001 in Gloucestershire as a sports reporter and sub-editor and has held various roles as a writer and editor at news, travel and B2B publications. He has spoken at a number of sports business conferences and also worked as a consultant creating sports travel content for tourism boards. International experience includes spells living and working in Dubai, UAE; Brisbane, Australia; and Beirut, Lebanon.