iPhone 12 price prediction just revealed bad news

iPhone 12 Pro render
(Image credit: @apple_idesinger)

The iPhone 12 is going to be even more expensive than usual this year. That's according to a group of analysts speaking to CNN

While they predict several interesting upgrades for the phone, their thoughts on Apple's potential pricing will make some potential customers unhappy. And it's all the fault of 5G.

It's believed that due to the expense of adding 5G components to the handsets, the more expensive iPhone 12 models could cost $100 more than their equivalent iPhone 11 models. To make matters worse, one analyst, Tom Forte of DA Davidson, also believes that there may not be a cheaper version of the iPhone 12, now that the iPhone SE exists as an option for a more affordable iPhone experience.

For context, the basic iPhone 11 cost $699 when it was introduced last year, with the next model in the range, the iPhone 11 Pro, costing $999. Depending on which analysis you believe, that could mean the cheapest iPhone this year could be $799, or even $1,099, if Apple elects to not continue its cheapest numbered handsets.

An iPhone price hike compared to last year has been on the cards before. We've previously heard about a $50 increase or a $50 - $100 increase required to make up for the addition of OLED displays to all models as well as 5G parts. However other predictions say the price will not go up thanks to a new battery design.

There's still hope for a good price though, as predicting how much iPhones will go for is tricky. As Wamsi Mohan, an analyst for Bank of America said, "Pricing is always the biggest unknown when it comes to Apple.". Let's hope that Apple surprises us with some more generous price tags at the release event.

The first 5G iPhones are coming

Setting pricing aside, there are a lot of good reasons to look forward to the iPhone 12's announcement.

For example, the analysts agree that the iPhone 12 will be 5G compatible, the first iPhone to be so. While rival manufacturers have been producing 5G handsets for a few years now, the fact that Apple's bringing the technology to its phones is a big deal given how many existing users it has.

iPhone 12

(Image credit: EverythingApplePro)

There are rumors of a split between the basic iPhone 12 models and the more expensive iPhone 12 Pros though. Because of the expense of adding mmWave-compatible 5G components, it's believed that only the top-tier iPhone models will work with all 5G networks, while the cheaper phones will only work with the more common but slower sub-6GHz version of 5G.

For users who don't care about 5G or simply can't access it in their local area, a new 4G iPhone is also on the cards. Whether this is an alternative version of the iPhone 12 or an upgraded iPhone SE isn't known however. Whatever it turns out to be, it could either arrive with the rest of the iPhone 12 phones next month, or early next year.

It seems pretty much given that there will be four iPhone 12 models to choose from this year. This includes the smallest and largest iPhones ever, with the iPhone 12 Mini measuring 5.4 inches across, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max measuring 6.7 inches. The standard iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro will both be 6.1-inch handsets, the same size as the current iPhone 11.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max may also see a boost in battery capacity, thanks to its larger size. This would be a good addition that would help make up for the more power-hungry 5G connections,

Rumors of Apple leaving the charging block out of the iPhone 12's box are accepted among the analysts. This decision, already enacted with the Apple Watch 6 and Apple Watch SE, will help reduce both electronic waste and the cost of manufacture and shipping for Apple. And hopefully won't be an issue since users likely already have something to plug the phone into. There will still be a cable included however, which may be a more luxurious braided version of the standard USB to Lightning cable.

Finally, it seems a given that we'll see a new LiDAR sensor on the back of the iPhone 12 Pro models. Accompanying the existing main/ultrawide/telephoto combination that debuted on the iPhone 11 Pro, the added depth sensor will assist with photography effects like portrait mode, as well as helping the phone's AR abilities.

All that remains is for Apple to actually show us the phone. After the Time Flies event earlier this month came and went without a mention of iPhones, it's now thought that we'll finally see the iPhone 12 line debut in October, with October 13 being thrown around as a likely date by leakers.

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.