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To many Apple fans, the launch of the latest iPhone is the event of the year. This time Apple is introducing no fewer than four models, all of which get the number 12. Orange has weighed the pros and cons for you.
This autumn, Apple is unleashing four new iPhones upon the world: the 12 Mini, the 12, the 12 Pro and the 12 Pro Max. All but the Mini are more expensive than the iPhone 11 released last year. What’s more, within the scope of greater sustainability, they come without most of the accessories.
The million dollar question is: are they better? When we reviewed the iPhone X in late 2017, we remarked that in the eyes of die-hard iPhone fans, the latest and most expensive model is always the best. This was also true of the iPhone 11 family that came out in late 2019. The iPhone SE that hit the market this spring came close in terms of performance for only half the price, which is why we dubbed it the perfect upgrade.
Let’s start with the big news: with this model Apple has finally jumped on the 5G train that has been gathering steam with a number of operators and has already been adopted by most other brands. True, 4G+ is pretty fast, but if you can go even faster, why wouldn’t you? If you’re concerned about the battery draining more quickly with 5G–batteries being a traditional issue with the iPhone—you’ll be happy to know the new 12 series only uses the latest cellular technology when data traffic requires it; for example, when streaming movies. This approach extends the battery charge. We will be able to put it to the test as soon as 5G is available, subject to the right software upgrade.
Excellent screen at 60Hz
The screen on all four models in the 12 family uses the Super Retina XDR OLED display. Even the 12 and 12 Mini have this display: Apple has finally met the market standard. Unfortunately they do so with 60Hz refresh speed instead of the 120Hz used by most manufacturers on their flagship models. We feel this is a missed opportunity, because the higher the number of frames per second, the smoother the screen experience - although this does affect the battery charge, which is probably the reason why Apple decided not to make the switch.
On the other hand, the A14 bionic chip is faster than the A13 from the iPhone 11 and RAM memory has been increased to 6GB on the 12 Pro and Pro Max models.
Sleek and shockproof design
Lately, Apple has been known for bringing back certain aspects that were discarded earlier. This spring, the iPhone SE reintroduced the physical ‘Home’ button and now the 12 family has abandoned the unpractical rounded corners in favour of the straight edges we remember from the 4 and 5 series. Incidentally, we have witnessed the same evolution with the latest iPads.
Apple also upgraded the shock- and scratch-proof properties of the glass front panel, a first in the smartphone world. Under the moniker ‘Ceramic Shield’, ceramic nano-crystals are imbedded in the glass matrix. This is a technological feat because normally ceramics are not transparent. The back of the new model continues to use the dual ion-exchange process of its predecessors.
Perfect, but ...
For those who swear by their Apple smartphone the iPhone 12 family brings them another step closer to perfection. Still, it has its glitches. For example, the internal memory is once again intentionally unable to be expanded. This feature is still reserved for those who pay for the iCloud. Also, the packaging no longer includes a charger or earphones. The ‘sustainable’ reason behind this is to use old chargers and headsets in order to reduce the use of raw materials. If you want to charge faster this means you will have to buy a new charger. The only accessory included with the latest iPhones is a Lightning USB-C cable. As most chargers use a USB-A plug, this alleged sustainability concern leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste, especially as the price is higher than for previous models that did include chargers.
And finally, Apple has made a significant error in their decision to stick with facial recognition instead of fingerprint recognition. In an age when face masks have become part of our everyday lives this shows a lack of insight - or is it a lack of flexibility?