Not only did Apple unveil the 5G iPhone 12 at its Oct. 2020 'Hi Speed." event, it also rolled out the new HomePod mini smart speaker. However, the much-anticipated Apple-silicon Macs, AirPods Studio headphones, AirTags trackers were no-shows.
Just a month ago at Apple's Sep. 15 "Time flies." event, the company introduced the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, Apple Fitness+, the 8th generation iPad and 4th generation iPad Air, and Apple One, a services bundle that lets customers combine up to six Apple services into one subscription plan.
SEE: iPhone 12 event: What Apple announced at its 2020 Hi Speed event (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
In addition to the 5G iPhone 12, Apple also unveiled a new HomePod mini smart speaker. The much-anticipated Apple-silicon Macs, AirPods Studio headphones, and AirTags trackers were no-shows.
iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max
The new $699 iPhone 12 mini, $799 iPhone 12, $999 iPhone 12 Pro, and $1,099 iPhone 12 Pro Max were definitely the stars of the show. These will be Apple's first 5G phones and replace the iPhone 11 lineup launched in 2019. As was rumored, the iPhone 12 will feature a design reminiscent of the iPhone 4.
Apple's release of a 5G iPhone will have a tremendous effect on the 5G phone market. According to Strategy Analytics, global sales of 5G smartphones will hit 250 million units in 2020. Predictions for Apple 5G iPhone sales vary from 50 million to 75 million units in 2020, but Apple is predicted to take the top spot regardless of the exact figure. In contrast, Samsung sold 6.7 million Galaxy 5G devices in all of 2019.
The iPhone 12 will feature Apple's new A14 processor (that we first saw on the 4th-gen iPad Air), a new 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display with "Ceramic Shield" technology from Corning, and a new antenna design that wraps around the aluminum frame and is optimized for 5G. The iPhone 12 mini will have the same internal hardware as the iPhone 12, but a smaller 5.4-inch display. Both phones will have a new dual camera setup with 12MP ultra-wide and 12MP wide cameras.
SEE: Hardware inventory policy (TechRepublic Premium)
Apple also updated its Pro line of iPhones with the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. The iPhone 12 Pro will have a frame made from surgical-grade stainless steel, 6.1 Super Retina XDR display and the iPhone 12 Pro Max will sport a massive 6.7-inch display. Both the Pro and Pro Max will have a triple-camera setup with a 12MP ultra-wide camera, 12MP wide camera and 12MP telephoto camera. The cameras have all new sensors that provide image stabilization by moving the sensor instead of the lens. The new iPhone Pros will also have a LiDAR scanner that can be used to scan a room and determine its dimension, provide better augmented reality experiences, and improve camera function.
All iPhone 12 models will support 5G, run iOS 14, and support Apple's new MagSafe line of chargers, cases and accessories. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro will be available for pre-order starting Oct. 16 and available on Nov. 23. The iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone Pro Max will be available for pre-order starting on Nov. 6 and available on Nov. 13.
SEE: Mobile device security policy (TechRepublic Premium)
Launched in 2018, the Siri-powered HomePod was Apple's answer to the Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers. Originally priced at $349 (US) and later reduced to $299 (US), the HomePod was praised for its excellent sound quality, but criticized for lacking the same features provided by Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant speakers. HomePod sales have lagged well behind speakers from Amazon, Google and others, and Apple needed to refresh the product if it hopes to compete in the growing and increasingly important smart home market.
The spherical-shaped HomePod mini features the Apple S5 chip to provide something called "computational audio," analyzing the music being played and adjusting the audio output to provide the best sound possible. If you have multiple HomePod minis in your home, they can sync music between them and if two minis are located in the same room they become a stereo pair. Later this year, Apple plans to release a new handoff experience between the iPhone and mini thanks to the U1 chip in the mini and iPhone.
The HomePod mini will cost $99 (US), is Space Gray or White and will be available for pre-order starting on Nov. 6 and available on Nov. 16.
SEE: BYOD (bring-your-own-device) policy (TechRepublic Premium)
No-shows: Apple-silicon Macs, AirPods Studio and AirTags
Conspicuously absent from the iPhone 12 launch event were the first Macs powered by Apple's new custom ARM processors. According to a Bloomberg report, Apple intends to unveil these machines at an event in November.
The first reports of Apple's plan to replace the Intel chips Macs with its own Arm processors (named "Kalamata") surfaced in 2018. At the time, it was reported that the transition would begin in 2020 and likely take several years to complete.
Apple already uses its own custom-designed chips on the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. And for years, iMacs and MacBooks have had ARM co-processors, such as the T1 and T2 Security Chip. The transition to Apple designed processors in Macs will mean that all of Apple's major hardware lines are running on Apple silicon.
Also missing were Apple AirTags, the company's long-rumored tracking tags, similar to trackers from Tile, Chipolo, and Orbit.
The last missing product was the rumored AirPods Studio. Last month, Apple removed third-party headphones and wireless speakers from its online store and retail locations. Since then, people had speculated that this was in preparation for the launch of the HomePod Mini and a new line of over-the-ear headphones to compliment the AirPods and AirPods Pro earbuds.
It's possible that Apple could release AirTags and/or AirPods Studio at the rumored November event or even hold them until March 2021.
- Apple iOS 14: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- Forget a 5G iPhone 12, I care more about a $99 HomePod Mini (ZDNet)
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- Smart phones and mobile tech: More must-read coverage (TechRepublic on Flipboard)