New iPhone 12 model just leaked — and it's surprisingly affordable

iPhone 12 render
(Image credit: LetsGoDigital/Concept Creator)

The iPhone 12 models coming in the fall are all expected to have 5G connectivity. But one analyst believes that's not the last word on Apple's upcoming devices.

A report from Wedbush Securities analysts Daniel Ives, Strecker Backe and Ahmad Khalil claims that Apple could come out with a cheaper iPhone 12 that would only be able to connect with LTE networks. The Wedbush report, spotted by Business Insider, expects a 4G iPhone 12 to come out in early 2021, possibly in February.

Most iPhone 12 rumors have pointed to Apple coming out with four phones this fall — a 5.4-inch iPhone 12, 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Max, a 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro and a 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Max. All four models should come with 5G connectivity, making them the first iPhones capable of connecting to the faster networking standard.

That will allow Apple to challenge the likes of Samsung and OnePlus for the best 5G phones, but it also means you're not likely to see prices drop on this year's iPhone 12 models the way Apple dropped the price of the iPhone 11. (To that end, Wedbush's report contends that iPhone prices won't go up for this year's models, at least.)

Offering an LTE iPhone 12 would allow Apple to charge less for one its new phones, which would make the iPhone 12 more attractive in emerging markets, particularly those where 5G networks are still in their nascent stages. It would also align with Apple's current strategy of selling cheaper models to supplement its higher-end phones. Look no further than the iPhone SE, which has proven popular enough to help Apple's iPhone sales grow during its June quarter.

How much would this new iPhone 12 cost?

Wedbush's Ives told Business Insider that an LTE iPhone 12 could have a price in the $800 range, which would suggest that this would be a variant on one of Apple's iPhone Pro models. The iPhone 12 Pro is expected to cost around $999 when it debuts later this fall. The Wedbush report suggests a February 2021 release date for the phone.

That's contrary to how Apple has released phones during the first half of the year, though it's not like that's common practice for the phone maker. This year's iPhone SE arrived in April, while the original model debuted at the end of March 2016. On the rare occasions it comes out with a phone in the first few months of the year, Apple has left a little breathing room between the phone's launch and the holiday shopping season.

As for the 5G iPhone 12 models, Apple has already confirmed those won't arrive in September like recent iPhone flagships have. Instead, the phones are likely to start rolling out in October, with some reports claiming that the regular iPhone 12 models and the iPhone 12 Pro versions will ship at different times.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.