Just shy of one month after their last event, Apple was back today with another one. Everyone had a pretty good feeling this would be the one where they announced this year’s new iPhone… instead, Apple announced four new iPhones, plus a new HomePod, for good measure.
Didn’t have time to follow along live? Here are the highlights:
Apple kicked things off by announcing the HomePod Mini; which, as you’ve probably gathered from the name, is a smaller version of its HomePod speaker.
Apple’s focus with the HomePod Mini definitely seems to be getting you to buy multiple units and spreading them around your house, they started off by recapping Siri’s smart home capabilities, then introduced a new feature called “Intercom,” which lets you broadcast a message to all of your HomePods from your iPhone, Apple Watch, CarPlay or another HomePod. Put two HomePods in the same room, Apple says, and they’ll automatically become a stereo pair.
HomePod Mini will cost $99, and, like its bigger counterpart, will come in two colors: white and space grey. Pre-orders will start on November 6th, with the first units shipping “the week of November 16th.”
Four new iPhones
Why would Apple announce one new iPhone when they could announce four? With a lineup that will probably lead to a bit of confusion, Apple announced the iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. The devices get a little bigger, a little fancier and a bit more expensive as you go down the line.
The big focus here is on improved displays, improved cameras (night mode on the wide and ultra-wide cameras!) and the introduction of 5G support across the lineup. The form factor borrows some angles from iPhones of yesteryear, with flat sides that’ll probably remind you of the iPhone 4 or 5.
The iPhone 12 Mini will start at $699 and come with a 5.4″ display, while the iPhone 12 will start at $799 with a 6.1″ display. The iPhone 12 Pro will start at $999 with a 6.1″ display, but polishes up the spec sheet with a stainless steel body (versus aluminum on the non-pro models) and the addition of a 12MP telephoto lens.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max will start at $1,099, but packs a massive 6.7″ display. The Pro models also pack lidar sensors, allowing them to do things like ultra-fast focusing in low-light situations, or 3D room scanning.
The displays on all of the new iPhones will feature a new “Ceramic Shield” technology that Apple built in partnership with Corning, which the company says improves the odds of your device surviving a fall by 4x. The iPhone 12 and 12 Mini will come in blue, green, red, white and black; the 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max, meanwhile, will come in blue, gold, black and white.
All four phones will run on Apple’s A14 Bionic chip, the same one that powers the iPad Air the company just announced last month.
“MagSafe” is back! Sort of. Well, in name, at least. Borrowing a name from the charging system of Apple laptops past, the new iPhone’s MagSafe system allows it to automatically snap into the optimal place on a wireless charger, while also allowing for snap-on accessories like magnetic cases or credit card holders.
The company also announced the MagSafe Duo Charger (a folding setup meant to allow you to charge both an iPhone and an Apple Watch) and noted that MagSafe-compatible accessories from third parties like Belkin were on the way.
No more power adapter or headphones in the box
It’s been rumored for months, but now it’s official: Apple will no longer be including headphones or a wall power adapter with the iPhone. The company cites the potential environmental impact as their reasoning, noting that there are already “billions” of compatible chargers out in the world. The new iPhones will ship with a USB-C to Lightning cable, just not the bit that plugs into the wall.
So when will these things actually start shipping? The pre-order/ship dates are a liiiiittle bit tangled, so if you’ve got a model picked out already, make sure you’ve got the right date marked on your calendar: the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro go up for pre-order on 10/16, shipping on 10/23. The iPhone 12 Mini and the 12 Pro Max, meanwhile, go up for pre-order on 11/6 and ship on 11/13.
(Apple also noted that it will continue to sell the iPhone 11, dropping the base price by $100 down to $599.)