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iPhone 12 leak just revealed possible release date — when to expect it

iPhone 12
(Image credit: EverythingApplePro)
  • A leaked carrier promo for the iPhone 12 says that the pre-order date ends Tuesday, October 20.
  • This could be a placeholder, as Apple typically ends pre-orders on a Thursday; the iPhone 12 release date could be October 23. 
  • The promo does not mention the iPhone 12 Pro series, which is expected to launch in November.

Although there's a big Apple Event happening on Sept. 15, the focus will likely not be on the iPhone 12. But we now know when the pre-orders for the iPhone 12 may be happening — along with a possible release date.

Trusted leaker Evan Blass has revealed a promotional email from a carrier that appears to be a placeholder. But it says that pre-orders for the iPhone 12 end October 20. 

The promo says that customers can "be one of the first to get your hands on the all-new iPhone 12 and experience 5G." This is not a big surprise, as all four rumored iPhone 12 models are expected to tap into 5G networks. But there has been some debate over which models will support the fastest mmWave 5G and which devices will stick with sub-6GHz 5G.

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Some reports have pointed to only the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max getting mmWave, while another says just the largest iPhone 12 Pro Max will offer mmWave, as it requires a bigger chassis to accommodate the antenna, as well as a larger battery.

iPhone 12 release date and pre-orders

As Phone Arena points out, the October 20 date for ending pre-orders may not be accurate as it falls on a Tuesday instead of the typical Thursday.

Based on this latest leak, it's suggested that the iPhone 12 release date could be Friday, October 23. Working backwards from that, iPhone 12 pre-orders would start October 16 and the iPhone 12 event would take place October 13.

This promo does not mention the iPhone 12 Pro series, which lends more credence to recent reports that the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 will launch first. The iPhone 12 Pro models could be pushed to November.

iPhone 12 vs iPhone 12 Pro

Based on all of the leaks thus far, all four iPhone 12 models should feature OLED displays and Apple's fast new A14 Bionic chip, which is based on a 5nm manufacturing process.

However, while the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Max are expected to offer two cameras, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max will likely include a telephoto lens and a powerful new LiDAR sensor. The LiDAR sensor should help with portraits, autofocus and low-light performance, as well as enhanced performance in augmented reality applications.

There are rumors that the iPhone 12 Pro devices will also feature smoother 120Hz displays, but that appears to be up in the air at this point.

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for nearly 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.