Apple had their “Hi, Speed” event today and it had a lot in a short amount of time. Apple only covered two items today, HomePod and iPhone. Let us look at each in turn starting with the HomePod.
The HomePod is Apple’s smart speaker for the home. Back in 2017, Apple introduced the HomePod and released it in February of 2018. Since then, the speaker itself has not changed. Today, there is a new addition to the HomePod line, the HomePod Mini.
The HomePod Mini is a much smaller version of the HomePod. It stands at 3.3 inches high and 3.9 inches wide. This much smaller size means that the weight has also been significantly reduced. The HomePod mini is now 0.76 pounds versus the larger HomePod size of 5.5 pounds. The physical characteristics are not the only thing to change. The internals have changed as well.
The larger HomePod has 7 tweeters, and you cannot fit 7 tweeters in the small size of the HomePod mini. Instead, there are two tweeters with a new “acoustic waveguide”, which will direct the sound where it needs to go. The new HomePod Mini is powered by Apple’s S5 chip. The same one that powers the Apple Watch SE and the Apple Watch Series 5. This also includes the U1 chip, which will help detect the proximity of your iPhone.
What the U1 chip will do is allow you to move throughout your home and your audio can follow wherever you are. This means that you can go about doing housework without needing to carry around anything with you. The
There is also a new feature to the HomePod called Intercom. Intercom is a way of being able to address all of the HomePods in a home so you can get everyone’s attention. When someone hears an Intercom message, they can also respond back. The Intercom feature is not limited to HomePods. It can also work with iPhones as well as CarPlay devices. Additionally, you can address an individual room with an Intercom message.
Ultimately, the much smaller package comes with a smaller price tag as well. The new HomePod mini is $99 and comes in Space Gray or White. It will be available for pre-order starting on November 6th, with delivery the week of November 16th. Next, let us look at the iPhone.
Apple unveiled a slew of iPhones, four in total. These are the iPhone 12 Mini, the iPhone 12, the iPhone 12 Pro, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Let us look at these in two groups, iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. Before we do that, let us look at the commonalities between all of the models.
iPhone 12 Common Features
Even though Apple introduced four new iPhones, within two different groups, there are some commonalities between all of the iPhone 12 models.
All of the iPhones have the A14 Bionic. This processor has six cores, a faster neural engine, and is built on a 5 nanometer process. According to Apple:
the A14 Bionic features a 16-core Neural Engine — for an 80 percent increase in performance — that is capable of completing 11 trillion operations per second, enabling improved performance on even the most intense ML models.
The biggest among the commonalities is the inclusion of 5G. All four models have 5G cellular radios within them, and in the U.S. the millimeter-wave variant of 5G will be supported. 5G will allow faster downloads and uploads. This includes up to 4Gbps download and 200Mbps upload. These are in ideal conditions, which means you will likely see speeds a bit slower than the ideal ones.
5G connectivity will use more battery, so if you do not need the speed, your iPhone 12 will automatically switch to LTE in order to save battery.
The ubiquity of smartphones means that everybody has the potential to take pictures. One of the more common types of photos taken is the selfie. While some, myself included, hate taking selfies, there is a large contingent of people who like taking them. The entire iPhone 12 line has a new TrueDepth sensor array, including the front camera. With this new sensor comes a new option, the ability to take Night Mode selfies.
The new front camera will allow better low-light shots so you can take good selfies even if you are in a low-light area. To go along with this new night mode selfie option, you can now also take time lapse pictures and video with Night Mode enabled.
There are more changes with the cameras, but those will be covered in a bit.
Even though Apple introduced four new iPhones, within two different groups, there are some commonalities between all of them. The biggest among them is the inclusion of 5G. All four models have 5G cellular radios within them, and in the U.S. the millimeter-wave variant of 5G will be supported. All of the iPhones have the A14 Bionic. This processor has six cores, a faster neural engine, and is built on a 5 nanometer process, which allows for better efficiency of battery.
One of the areas where Apple is attempting to help the environment is by reducing waste. One way to do that is to not include some items in the box. Much like the Apple Watch, the iPhone 12 line will not include a power brick within the box. Furthermore, there will no longer be headphones included in the box. All of this means that the iPhone 12 boxes should be significantly smaller and will allow more to be packed onto a pallet, which should reduce fuel consumption overall.
A charging cable is still included in the box. But this has changed slightly. In the box will be a USB-C to lightning cable. This means that you will need to get a USB-C power brick, if you do not have one, or you can use wireless charging. Which all of the iPhone 12 models include.
The most interacted item on an iPhone is the screen. All of the iPhones have some similarities in their screen. All of the iPhone 12 models will have an HDR display that has a Wide P3 color gamut and supports True Tone.One of the experiences that all iPhone owners will likely eventually have is when they drop their phone and the glass breaks. Apple has made the glass a bit tougher over the years, but this year is a larger jump in protection with the new Ceramic Shield.
The Ceramic Shield is a new feature that you will not see directly, as it is it built into the glass on the iPhone 12 line. This protective coating is designed to make the glass four times more resistant to breaking. This means that if you accidentally drop your iPhone it is less likely to have the glass break. According to Apple,
the Ceramic Shield front cover, which goes beyond glass by adding a new high temperature crystallization step that grows nano-ceramic crystals within the glass matrix, increases drop performance by 4x.
Whether or not the Ceramic Shield will indeed limit breaking of the front glass has yet to be seen, but it could prove interesting and a great enhancement. That concludes all of the common features, next let us turn to the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini.
iPhone 12/iPhone 12 mini
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini are essentially the same phone, except for the size. The iPhone mini has a 5.4-inch screen with a resolution of 2340-by-1080 pixels. Whereas the iPhone 12 has a 6.1-inch screen with a 2532-by-1170 pixel screen. Both models come in three storage options: 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB.
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini have an aluminum shell that will be pretty sturdy. The back will continue to be glass and, as mentioned above, the front will be the Ceramic Shield. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini will come in a variety of colors, let us look at those now.
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini will be available in five colors. These colors are:
The iPhone 12 mini’s price depends on your carrier. There is a $30 instant discount for AT&T and Verizon subscribers. Here is the pricing for AT&T and Verizon for the iPhone 12 mini/iPhone 12:
- 64GB is $699/$799
- 128GB is $749/$849
- 256GB is $849/$949
Pricing for T-Mobile, Sprint, or Sim-Free is $30 more.
- 64GB is $729/$829
- 128GB is $779/$879
- 256GB is $879/$979
The 6.1-inch iPhone 12 will be available for pre-order this Friday, October 16th and will begin arriving on October 23rd. The iPhone 12 mini will be available for pre-order on November 6th, and will begin arriving on November 13th.
iPhone 12 Pro/iPhone 12 Pro Max
The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max are very similar in features. The only difference between the two models is some features on the cameras. Before we dive into the differences in cameras, let us look at a new feature to the iPhone 12 Pro line, LiDAR.
LiDAR, or Light Detection and Ranging, is used to measure the distance from one object to another. This is done by measuring the amount of time taken for the reflection of a light to bounce back to the source. LiDAR is not new to Apple products, as the 4th Generation 12.9-inch, and 2nd Generation 11-inch iPad Pro models are equipped with it. However, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max are the first iPhones to have the technology.
LiDAR is used heavily with Augmented Reality and allows you to map out a scene in extensive detail. You can then take this data and use it to build an Augmented Reality scene. Having LiDAR on the iPhone 12 Pro models will allow the technology to be used more heavily within the iOS ecosystem. Next, let us look at the other changes regarding the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Max, the Cameras.
iPhone 12 Pro/iPhone 12 Pro Max Cameras
One of the biggest uses of any iPhone is its camera. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Max have similar cameras, but they are different. To quote Apple:
iPhone 12 Pro features the new seven-element lens Wide camera with an ƒ/1.6 aperture, the fastest ever on an iPhone, for 27 percent improved low-light performance in photo and video; the Ultra Wide camera with a 120-degree field of view, perfect for capturing more scene in tight spots or epic landscapes; and a 52 mm focal length Telephoto camera, great for framing portraits, bringing the optical zoom range to 4x.
iPhone 12 Pro Max takes the pro camera experience even further. The new ƒ/1.6 aperture Wide camera boasts a 47 percent larger sensor with 1.7μm pixels for a massive 87 percent improvement in low-light conditions. It also includes the expansive Ultra Wide camera and a 65 mm focal length Telephoto camera for increased flexibility with closer shots and tighter crops. Combined, this system offers 5x optical zoom range.
Both of the iPhone 12 Pro models can shoot photos in a few feature called Apple ProRaw. Apple ProRaw is a way of taking RAW photos, like you would on a non-smartphone camera, and combine it with Apple’s Machine Learning to provide a combination of the two technologies.
The two iPhone 12 Pro models have the same camera setup of three lenses of Ultra Wide, Wide, and Telephoto lenses. The Ultra Wide lens features an ƒ/2.4 aperture with a 120° field of view and the Wide lens has an ƒ/1.6 aperture.
Here is a breakdown of the differences between the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro, in terms of camera features. These will be in the format of iPhone 12 Pro/iPhone 12 Pro Max.
- Telephoto lens: ƒ/2.0 aperture ƒ/2.2 aperture
- Optical Zoom in: 2x/2.5x
- Optical Zoom out: 2x/2x
- Optical Zoom Range: 4x/5x
- Digital Zoom: 10x/12x
The above differences are for still pictures. There are some variations between the two when it comes to video as well. The iPhone 12 Pro has a digital zoom up to 6x for video, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max has up to 7x digital zoom for video.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max wide camera sensor has exclusive feature to it, Sensor-shift optical image stabilization. The Sensor-shift optical image stabilization will allow minor vibrations to be compensated for, so you will not get blurry and bouncy images when using the Wide sensor.
One of the differences for the iPhone 12 Pro models, as compared to the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini, is the back and shell. The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro max have a Textured matte glass back and stainless steel design. The stainless steel edges should allow the color iPhone you choose to really shine. Speaking of colors, let us take a look at the options.
Similar to the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max will be available in four colors. These colors are:
- Pacific Blue
The iPhone 12 Pro models will come in three different storage options, 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB. The base storage has been doubled from last year. Unlike the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max pricing is a bit simpler. The base price remains unchanged from last year, however, the higher storage options have actually been reduced in price. The pricing for the iPhone 12 Pro/iPhone 12 Pro Max is:
- 128GB is $999/$1099
- 128GB is $1099/$1199
- 256GB is $1299/$1399
The 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro will be available for pre-order this Friday, October 16th and will begin arriving on October 23rd. The 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max will be available for pre-order on November 6th, and will begin arriving on November 13th.
Let us turn to one additional thing that is new, and that is one last item that is common to all of the iPhone 12 models, MagSafe.
There is one thing that is featured on all of the new iPhones and that is a new MagSafe connector. This connector allows you to more easily position your iPhone on a wireless charger, meaning that you will be able to get an efficient charge. MagSafe is built into all of the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models. To go along with this is a new set of cases. There are cases for each size in a variety of colors. These colors are:
- Cyprus Green
- Deep Navy
- Pink Citrus
These will be available for $49 each. Sometimes you want to travel with as few things as possible. There is a new accessory that allows you to leave your wallet at home, and that is the new “iPhone Leather Wallet with MagSafe”. These leather additions have a MagSafe connector on the back of them and allow you to put the important items in the wallet and attach it to the back of your iPhone. These wallets will come in four colors:
- Baltic Blue
- California Poppy
- Saddle Brown
Each of these Leather Wallets will be $59. While Apple is producing MagSafe accessories, other manufacturers are not being locked out. They are free to create new accessories that will work with the MagSafe charger on the iPhones 12 line.
The image at the top of this section is called a MagSafe Duo. There is no release date, nor pricing on this, but it should be able to charge both an iPhone as well as an Apple Watch.
It is not uncommon for Apple to keep older iPhone models around, however they have not done so the last few years. This year is an exception to that. The iPhone XR, and iPhone 11 will remain in the lineup of iPhones, but at new prices.
The iPhone XR is still available in its six colors:
It is still available in two sizes, 64GB or 128GB. The 64GB model is $499 and the 128GB model is $549.
Similarly, the iPhone 11 is still available in its six colors:
The iPhone 11 is also still available in its three storage sizes, 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB. The prices for each is $599, $649, and $749 respectively.
The iPhone SE is still $399 for the 64GB model, and $449 for the 128GB model, and $549 for the 256GB model. It is still available in the same three colors, White, Black, and (PRODUCT)Red.
The new iPhones are great additions to the existing lineup. The fact that Apple kept the older models around will be good for those who may not want, or be able to afford, the latest technology but still may want a great phone. The fact that the only changes are the prices means that you can still get your favorite colors.
If you do want the latest iPhone technology but do not want a large phone, the new iPhone 12 mini may be a great solution for you. The iPhone 12 mini is identical to the iPhone 12, except for the screen size. The 5.4-inch screen should be a nice happy medium between the iPhone SE, which has a 4.7-inch screen, and the iPhone XS, which had a 5.8 inch screen.
The iPhone 12 is a solid upgrade to the iPhone 11, with the new A14 processor and new night mode selfie options will be great updates for everyone. The iPhone 12 Pro line has the new LiDAR sensor as well as the new Apple ProRaw feature. Although ApplePro Raw will not be available until later this year.
The new HomePod mini should be great addition to the HomePod line, and the $99 price tag should allow you to add HomePods in more rooms of your home.
The 6.1-inch iPhone 12 and the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro are available for pre-order this Friday, October 16th. The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max, and HomePod mini will be available for pre-order on November 6th.