iPhone 12 leak just revealed the biggest design changes

(Image credit: PhoneArena)

The iPhone 12 could be the first iPhone in a few years that really switches up Apple's design language. This new iPhone 12 render offers a pretty tame vision of how that would look, but that also means it could end up being very accurate to the real product when it launches.

PhoneArena published the following renders, which were made using information sourced from someone at Romanian phone case retailer MobileDirect.ro, which is why these renders have transparent cases around them. Case makers get schematics of phones in advance of their release in order to make compatible products, so hopefully we can trust these designs to be faithful to the real iPhone 12.

There is a lot of similarity between this design and the look of the iPhone 11 Pro, but the key rumored changes are shown. First, Apple's alleged return to the flat sides we last saw on the iPhone 5S is reflected here in matte-textured metal. While curved edges are arguably more comfortable to hold, you can't deny that at least this render makes them look attractive.

Also rumored to be changing is the front notch, housing the selfie camera and various sensors and receptors needed for Face ID. Having had a few years to refine the facial recognition system, Apple is hopefully in a position to shrink the notch, which in this render has been managed by moving the speaker grille and sensors up towards the top edge, making the notch much shorter.

(Image credit: PhoneArena)

The display that the notch juts out into will be seeing changes this year too, as Apple is apparently planning to ditch LCD panels for good and introduce brighter and more colorful OLED screens to all four rumored iPhone 12 models. These renders seem to imply there will be an under-display fingerprint scanner as well as Face ID, judging from the graphic displayed on the render. While many iPhone users desperately miss the tactility and reliability of Touch ID, we don't expect this to be an iPhone 12 feature.

(Image credit: PhoneArena)

On the back, we see a glass surface that's shiny in texture, rather than the matte back found on the iPhone 11 Pro. Also present is the camera bump, which contains 3 cameras in one version and four on another. This is odd since the rumors seem to have settled on the basic iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Max having two cameras (like the iPhone 11), and the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max having four cameras, with one being a brand new LiDAR sensor for improved photography and AR effects.

Apple has held fall releases for the iPhone since 2012, and we don't expect it to change this year. However, there may be a delay to the actual release of the iPhone 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Other than the features illustrated in this design, we expect Apple to bring a new A14 Bionic chipset to the iPhone 12 as well as 5G capability. Also look out for 120Hz refresh rates on the iPhone 12 Pro's display, another big first for the iPhone line.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.