The iPhone 12 Pro is way more popular than anyone predicted — even Apple

iPhone 12 Pro vs iPhone 12 cameras
(Image credit: Future)

When you’re looking at the current range of iPhone 12 models, which one do you think would be the most sought after? There are a lot of reasons why you may want the regular $799 iPhone 12. But how about the pricier $999 iPhone 12 Pro?

As it turns out, the more premium iPhone 12 Pro is seeing higher-than-expected demand from shoppers despite the premium. The iPhone 11 was Apple's most popular phone for the past year, so this is a shift.

This news comes from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo via 9to5Mac, who has reported Apple wasn’t expecting such strong demand for the iPhone 12 Pro. It would make sense for the cheaper model to sell more units, but it seems demand for both devices is about equal.

So consumers are more interested in the 12 Pro than anyone predicted. That’s despite the fact the cheapest model costs $200 more than the cheapest iPhone 12.

Supply line information has corroborated Kuo’s report as well. Digitimes reports Apple has increased its order for the chips used in the LIDAR scanner, a feature only available on the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max models. That suggests Apple has been slightly caught off guard by the demand for the 12 Pro.

It’s not hard to see why people would want the Pro, since we already noted that the iPhone 12 Pro is a better value than the standard model. This is because the iPhone 12 Pro offers a telephoto zoom, brighter display and double the standard storage.

Our iPhone 12 battery life testing also found that the 12 Pro had better endurance, lasting 11 hours and 24 minutes on LTE and 9:06 on 5G. The iPhone 12, on the other hand, managed 10:23 on LTE and 8:25 on 5G.

Given the similarities in both phones’ hardware, it also suggests that the 12 Pro’s boosted camera is also playing a role. Not only does it come with a LIDAR sensor and telephoto lens, it also comes with software upgrades like Night Mode portraits and ProRAW. It also offers a 512GB storage option, whereas the standard iPhone 12 caps out at 256GB.

Kuo has already predicted that the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro will eventually account for 30-35% of iPhone 12 sales. Depending on how well the 12 Pro continues to sell, it could potentially be the most popular iPhone 12 overall. However, part of the iPhone 12 Pro's popularity could be that it is simply attracting more early adopters, as we're still fairly early in the release cycle.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 mini are each to control a respective 15-20% and 10-15% of demand. But those two models don't go on sale until November 13.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.