1. New Screen Sizes
The iPhone 12 series introduced both Apple’s smallest and largest handsets yet. On the small end there’s the new 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini, which might sound larger than the 4.7-inch iPhone SE but thanks to its almost complete lack of bezels, this phone is actually smaller. Meanwhile, Apple has upsized its largest model from the 6.46 inch iPhone 11 Pro Max to a 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max. Lastly, in the middle of the pack, the 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Pro has been replaced with a larger 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro.
2. Super Retina XDR
Apple isn’t just changing up screen sizes, it has also made its Super Retina XDR screens the standard display across the whole iPhone 12 lineup. This special OLED screen made its debut on the iPhone 11 Pro with dazzling specs including a 1,200 nits peak brightness that supports both HDR10 and Dolby Vision. The fact that you can now get a display this amazing on a $699 iPhone is spectacular.
Apple introduced wireless charging to iPhone 11 last year and this year the iPhone 12 introduces a magnetic twist. MagSafe is back and now it’s on iPhones to help ensure your phone is properly aligned on a wireless charger. Additionally, MagSafe allows accessories to simply latch onto the back of any iPhone 12, which opens it up to a host of new options including a magnetic wallet or a new folding combo charger for both the iPhone and Apple Watch.
4. Ceramic Shield
There’s nothing worse than an accidental drop that shatters your screen, so Apple has come up with a new Ceramic Shield material for the iPhone 12 display. This new glass-ceramic front was made in a collaboration between Apple and Corning and will be available on the entire iPhone 12 series. According to Apple, Ceramic Shield should offer four-times better drop performance, so your screen is less likely to crack after a fall.
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Apple has finally jumped on the 5G bandwagon with the iPhone 12 and users can expect up to 4Gbps mobile speeds. Another benefit is lower latency for online games like League of Legends: Wild Rift, which just was just announced for the iOS platform.
That said, Apple’s latest handsets won’t always be operating on 5G. In most cases, the iPhone 12 models will operate on a 4G network to conserve battery life. The iPhone will supposedly switch to 5G whenever the task demands it like streaming high-definition video or playing online games.
LiDAR technology (Light Detection And Ranging) has come to the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max and what it essentially gives users is radar using freaking lasers. The main use case of this technology will be improved augmented reality experiences.
Right now, other than AR games and shooting Night Mode portraits, that means you’ll be able to more accurately tell if that Ikea TV stand will look good in your living room. However, with LiDAR coming to both of Apple’s pro-range smartphones and tablets, we’ll hopefully see more applications in the future.
7. Apple ProRAW
Android users have been able to shoot photos in RAW format for a while now, and Apple users are finally getting that feature too with the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max. Shooting these uncompressed images will allow users to more easily edit their exposure and recover lost details in programs like Adobe Lightroom CC and CaptureOne.
8. HDR Video
Apple also expanded out the video shooting capabilities of the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max with HDR movies. The two pro-grade smartphones can shoot 10-bit HDR movies in DolbyVision and users will even be able to edit them from the Photos app. This is a big first for iPhones and it’s about time given how HDR-enabled 4K TVs have become the norm for most homes.
9. Fewer Accessories Included
If you’re looking to buy a new iPhone 12 of any model, don’t expect it to come with a USB wall brick or earbuds in the box. According to Apple, those are gone now as part of the company’s ongoing environmental goals. The only thing you’ll get with your fancy new phone is a USB-C to Lightning cable.
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Kevin Lee is IGN’s Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam