Apple

iPhone 12 Mini: What we know about Apple’s latest model so far

The new iPhone 12 - delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic - is expected to be announced on 13 October, along with a new, smaller, cheaper sibling.

iPhone 12 Mini: What we know about Apple’s latest model so far
MIKE SEGAR REUTERS

The iPhone 12, Apple’s latest model of its flagship handset, was expected to be announced in September. That was until the coronavirus pandemic derailed the Cupertino-based company’s plan. The delay however is expected to be slight, with all signs pointing to the new iPhones being released on 13 October this year - that’s next Tuesday, and Apple does like announcing its new products on Tuesdays.

Similar to the current iPhone 11 line up, the iPhone 12 is expected to be available in three flavours: iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. But Apple is also expected to throw another iPhone 12 model into the mix: the iPhone 12 mini.

According to a number of sources, including CNET the iPhone 12 Mini is expected to be launched with the other iPhone 12s on October 13th and pre-sale of the devices will start on 16 September.

Almost all an iPhone 12, in a smaller package

The thinking behind the iPhone Mini appears to be to pack in most of what you’d get in an iPhone 12 into a smaller package, with many users clamouring for a smaller device since the iPhone left behind its smaller footprint when it moved from the 4” on the iPhone 5 to the 4.7” on the iPhone 6 back in 2014. Since then the base models have only increased in size and there is expected to be a sizeable market for a smaller device, packing much of the tech chops of the bigger iPhone 12s.

Even if it does have much of the specs of its larger brethren, if the rumours are correct (and of course Apple has refused to comment) the iPhone 12 Mini will be the cheapest model that will be launched, and it is expected to have a base cost of $649.

The iPhone 12 mini is reckoned to have a 5.4-inch screen size, making it, understandably given the name, smaller than the other new iPhone models, but larger than the current base model in Apple’s line-up, the iPhone SE which was announced in April of this year and has a 4.7 inch screen. The SE currently retails at $399.

For reference the current iPhone 11 base model prices are:

iPhone 11 - $699 (6.1 inch display)

iPhone 11 Pro - $999 (6.1 inch display)

iPhone 11 Pro Max - $1,099 (6.7 inch display)

What’s missing on the iPhone Mini?

To keep the price down, as well as the size, the iPhone 12 Mini will miss out on some of the funkier technology found in the bigger models. Some rumours suggest that it will not have 5G support, though others reckon it will have 5G, just not class-leading super-fast mmWave 5G - but note, only the the iPhone 12 Pro Max, with plenty of internal space for the necessary chips and a big enough battery to power it, is expected to have mmWave 5G.

Talking of battery size, a smaller phone necessarily means a smaller battery, and a smaller battery tends to mean shorter battery life, although of course a smaller screen requires less power (you wouldn’t believe how much energy the screen uses up compared to most other things on a smart phone).

The displace on the iPhone 12 Mini is reckoned to be a flexible OLED display - so offering richer colours and more profound blacks than you’d get on an LCD. But the Mini won’t get the iPhone 12 Pros 10-bit colour displays, which will have EVEN MORE vibrant colours and better colour gradation. Equally, if there is to be 120hz displays on any of this year’s iPhones, it almost certainly won’t be on the Mini. Why do you want 120hz displays? Faster refreshing makes for a smoother viewing experience. And also eats up your battery life - we’d expect it only on the iPhone 12 Pro Max, if there.

The other thing the iPhone 12 Mini won’t have is a LiDAR scanner, which appeared on the iPad Pro this year. The LiDAR scanner maps the area around the phone in incredible detail, allowing for all manner of augmented reality escapades. It’s expected to be found on the iPhone 12 Pro models.

iPhone 12 Mini camera...

The iPhone Mini is expected to have a main dual-lens camera - a wide-angle lens and an ultra wide-angle lens, but it won’t have the telephoto lens you’ll find on the Pro models.

Just like all the new 12s the Mini will pack the A14 processor, delivering faster speed and improved power efficiency. The current chip in the iPhone 11s and the SE is the A13 Bionic Chip. The A14 has already been announced in the new iPad Air - and while Apple did give a brief discussion of how powerful it is at that presentation, it felt like they were holding back information for the iPhone 12 launch - expect dazzling stats from this latest slice of Apple silicon.

The iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 will probably have 64, 128 and 256GB versions, while the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max will be available with memory of 128, 256 or 512GB.

In terms of design, the 2020 iPhones will feature a similar square metal frame to the one found on the iPhone 4, similar to the industrial design of the iPad Pros and new iPad Air. The new iPhones will also apparently use a more complex segmentation design, and new trenching and injection molding procedures, likely to keep weight down, strength up and ensure full water-proofing.