Design

The iPhone 12 family is out of control (in a good way)

Apple's releasing four new iPhone 12 — the iPhone 12 Mini, 12, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max — and it's never been harder to pick one. Here's how they compare.

The new iPhones are here...

Apple's ushered in a slate of new iPhones with a host of new and improved specs and features. There's more choice than ever before, which makes choosing one harder than ever. But choice is also good because one size doesn't fit all.

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In all, Apple unveiled four new iPhones. That's a lot. Let's break each one down.

iPhone 12 mini

Display: 5.4 inches

Camera: Wide and ultra-wide dual-camera system

Storage: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB

Price: Starts at $699

Flat is back and it's never looked better.

The iPhone 12 Mini is Apple's smallest iPhone with Face ID yet. Despite its diminutive 5.4-inch display, the phone has all the same features as the regular iPhone 12. Once it's released it will also be the world's smallest and thinnest 5G-capable phone.

The iPhone 12 Mini

iPhone 12

Display: 6.1 inches

Camera: Wide and ultra-wide dual-camera system

Storage: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB

Price: Starts at $799

Apple's base iPhone 12 comes with a dual-camera system with wide and ultra-wide lenses, a new ceramic-hardened display called "Ceramic Shield" that Apple says makes it more resistant to cracks. It also comes with Apple's latest A14 Bionic chip and, like all the iPhone 12 models, 5G capabilities.

The iPhone 12

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The iPhone 12 Mini and 12 have two cameras: wide and ultra-wide.

iPhone 12 and 12 Mini cameras

  • Main: f/1.6 aperture
  • Ultra-wide: f/2.4 aperture with 120-degree field of view

iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max

Display: 6.1 inches and 6.7 inches

Camera: Triple 12-megapixel cameras: Ultra-wide, wide, and telephoto cameras

Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB

Price: Starting at $999 and $1099

As rumored for the entirety of 2020, the new iPhones sport flat edges. The last time an iPhone had flat sides and could stand up was the iPhone 5S released in 2013.

The iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max come with a respective 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch display. They have a three-camera system which includes a wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto lenses.

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The iPhone 12 Pros have three cameras: wide, telephoto, and ultra-wide.

Pro and Pro Max Cameras

  • Main: f/1.6 aperture
  • Telephoto: f/2.0 aperture (12 Pro) and f/2.2 (12 Pro Max)
  • Ultra-wide: f/2.4 aperture with 120-degree field of view
  • LiDAR sensor for faster autofocus
  • 4x optical zoom range (12 Pro)
  • 5x optical zoom range (12 Pro Max)
  • LiDAR sensor for faster autofocus

The LiDAR sensor is only on the 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max. In addition to aiding with augmented reality applications, the sensor also helps with speeding up autofocusing, especially in the dark. Apple says autofocus is up to 6x faster thanks to LiDAR. The sensor also enables Night mode for portrait mode photos.

And speaking of improvements for low-light photography. The 12 Pro Max has a larger image sensor that absorbs more light for cleaner photos in the dark. Night mode on both the 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max also works on the ultra-wide lens in addition to the main camera.

Check out this low-light photo taken with the ultra-wide.

Apple

Apple says this Night mode photo was taken with the 12 Pro Max's front-facing camera. It looks like there's a flash, but Apple says there wasn't one.

Another cool new feature the iPhone 12 Pro camera does: night time-lapse. It looks insane (for a phone).

Super Retina XDR Display

All four iPhone 12 phones have a Super Retina XDR Display with a 2-million-to-1 contrast ratio and, according to Apple, nearly twice the peak brightness of the iPhone 11.

Ceramic Shield glass

All four iPhones have taken a big step in durability with the addition of a "Ceramic Shield" front cover. According to Apple, a new "high-temperature crystallization step" increases the crystals inside the glass and bolsters drop performance by 4x. Scratch resistance, however, is the same as on iPhone 11 and 11 Pro.

A14

The A14 Bionic is the new chip inside of the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro, and the same chip in the iPad Air 4.

According to Apple, the A14 Bionic CPU and GPU are 50 percent faster than any other smartphone. The A14 Bionic also bumps up the number of transistors in its Neural Engine from 8 cores to 16 cores for 80 percent faster performance when it comes to processing AI and machine learning-based processes.

For the first time, iPhones will be 5G compatible. Apple has partnered with Verizon to bring "ultra wideband" technology to its entire lineup of iPhone 12. In peak conditions, the ultra-wideband delivers 4 Gbps, according to Verizon. Don't expect that speed in most cases, though.

MagSafe charger

Apple rebooted its MagSafe charger for the new iPhones. It clasps to the back using magnets. It provides 15 watts of power and is complemented by a specially designed case that comes in leather, silicone, and clear.

Apple's MagSafe charger is a disc that snaps onto the back via magnets. It also works through cases.

MagSafe (originally featured in the original MacBooks in 2006) is meant to help optimize charging by ensuring that the wireless charger is always aligned properly to the back of the phone where the charging coil is. According to Apple, Belkin will also be developing accessories that include a car mount and dock.

There are a bunch of new MagSafe accessories and cases like this card wallet.

And um... this mask? We kid. Not, it's a mask. Come on, look at it!

Fun new colors

The iPhone 12 Mini and 12 come in black, blue, green, red, and white.

The iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max is available in Silver, Graphite, Gold, and Pacific Blue.

No more USB-A cables

Good news: All of the new iPhones ship with a Lightning-to-USB-C cable. Finally.

Bad news: There's no power adapter included in the box. You'll have to buy your own. That includes a fast charger.

Apple says it's part of its initiative to be more green.

One more thing...

There are no wired EarPods earbuds in the box either... Apple is really pushing people to go wireless with AirPods.

penguenstok/iStock Unreleased/Getty Images

Pre-order dates

10/16: iPhone 12 and 12 Pro

11/6: iPhone 12 Mini and 12 Pro Max

10/23

When the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro come out.

11/13

When the iPhone 12 Mini and the 12 Pro Max come out.

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