- Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives says that Apple is preparing a version of the iPhone 12 that could be even cheaper than the $649 5.4-inch model.
- This entry-level iPhone 12 would have 4G connectivity only but all of the other same features.
Apple could have a cheaper 4G iPhone 12 in the works, according to Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives as reported by Chinese website MyDrivers.
From what we’ve heard so far, the iPhone 12 range will consist of four models in three different screen sizes: 5.4-inch and 6.1-inch for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Max and 6.1 inches and 6.7 inches for the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. And all four are expected to come with 5G connectivity, which will be a first for Apple’s phones.
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While 5G connectivity is far from widespread and ubiquitous, it will allow the iPhone 12 to be somewhat futureproof. Apple has previously championed how its iPhones have long lives and can thus cut down on the environmental impact of smartphones.
But adding in 5G connectivity at the moment appears to be a costly endeavour, as there aren't many budget smartphones with 5G modems. And with 5G still rolling out, some people might not want to pay the premium for a device with connectivity to something they can’t access yet.
So if Ives’ prediction in on the money, then a 4G iPhone 12 variant could be a good way to offer Apple fans a new iPhone without expecting them to pay for 5G if they aren’t going to be able to use it.
Could this be an iPhone 12 SE?
Apple used to announce one iPhone at a time, but as larger-screened smartphones came along it started to offer two models. With the iPhone 11, three phones were introduced into the mix: the vanilla iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max.
And with four phones forecasted for the iPhone 12, there’s an argument that Apple’s smartphone range is getting rather large. This means that adding another non-5G phone into the mix could make Apple’s iPhone range and manufacturing process more complex when it comes to marketing and tooling up factories to produce another iPhone 12 variant.
However, a cheaper iPhone 12 could be seen as a replacement for the iPhone XR, which was a cheaper take on the iPhone X yet still came with a decent suite of specs. Of course, you could argue that the iPhone 11 rendered that handset a little redundant, as the iPhone 11 is priced as a compelling alternative to the high-end iPhone 11 Pro.
This has got us thinking that a 4G iPhone 12 could potentially be an ‘iPhone 12 SE.’ Apple’s iPhone SE 2020 has already seen a wave of success with critical acclaim, including praise from us for delivering an iOS and iPhone experience in a handset that’s affordable yet still performs well above its budget class.
But there’s no getting away with the fact that the iPhone SE is based on a design that’s rather outdated in the face of bezel-less phones. So Apple could use the success of the iPhone SE as a blueprint for a cut-down iPhone 12.
We’re expecting the iPhone 12 to come with a dual rear-camera setup and a powerful A14 Bionic chip. While the iPhone 12 Pro models are predicted to have a triple camera array and a 120Hz refresh-rate Pro Motion display.
So we could expect the iPhone 12 SE to perhaps use a single rear camera and come with a near bezel-less 5.4-inch display, but without a particularly high resolution and potentially an LCD rather than OLED screen. This would help keep the production costs of the iPhone 12 SE down.
However, this is all speculation on our part based on the few rumors around a fifth 4G iPhone 12 model. There’s still a good chance that Apple will simply release the four iPhone 12 phones that we’ve seen more comprehensive leaks about.
Apple normally announces a new flagship iPhone range around September time, so we have a few months to wait to see whether these rumors and predictions bear fruit.
The whole point of the release of the iPhone SE was to provide an iPhone with a Home Button for the huge number of customers that won’t buy into the Jony Ive fiasco (and which Apple is now fixing). So, there won’t be a 12/full-screen version of the SE lacking a Home Button. There will be an iPhone SE Plus, for those that prefer the larger screens, and there will be an iPad SE for those that have held on to their iPads all this time.
These are being released to stave off existing customers from looking elsewhere, ie at Android (seeing as how the dumb Home gestures are identical to Android’s - great job, Jony, at passing away differentiators). By 2022 we will get models with virtual Home Buttons and software that will also implement that on legacy iPhones going back to the original iPhone X.