By Emily Bary
New phones run on Apple custom chip that company calls the fastest yet for a smartphone
Apple Inc. is bringing 5G capabilities to its entire lineup of new smartphones, and keeping the starting prices the same as last year's iPhones.
The company rolled out four new iPhone 12 devices during a virtual event Tuesday, focusing on camera improvements as well as applications that could be enhanced by 5G. All four of Apple's (AAPL) new phones will work with sub-6G 5G, while U.S. phones will be compatible with millimeter-wave 5G.
While sub-6 5G is more widely available, it offers a less dramatic step up in speed and lag times relative to the 4G networks that consumers have become accustomed to in recent years. Millimeter-wave 5G delivers a bigger speed boost but its use cases are more limited to dense urban areas. The phones will have "smart data" modes that determine when to use 5G based on various factors like data usage and battery life.
See also: Apple announces HomePod mini smart speaker for $99 ()
Apple maintained the pricing strategy it installed last year, with its lowest-priced new iPhone starting at $699, and its two Pro models starting at $999 and $1,099 apiece. The lowest price belongs to the first edition of the "iPhone Mini," which is similar in overall size to Apple's iPhone SE but with a larger screen.
Apple's new iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max () feature three cameras meant to deliver better photography capabilities. These phones will have an ultrawide camera, a telephoto camera, and a new wide camera that the company said will improve pictures taken in lowlight and bright environments. The telephoto camera on the iPhone 12 Pro Max has a longer focal length. Both of these models come with a LIDAR sensor, which Apple said will enhance lowlight photos as well as create better opportunities in augmented reality due to its depth-sensing capabilities.
Apple made some design changes to this year's new iPhone models, creating flatter edges. The Pro line of phones have ceramic shields for better durability as well as stainless steel casing.
The phones also run on Apple's A14 Bionic chip, which the company said is the fastest chip in a smartphone. Apple asserts in a press release that the chip leads to "console-quality" gaming as well as "computational" photography, in which artificial intelligence and machine learning enhance pictures. The company disclosed that the popular "League of Legends" game will be coming to the iPhone.
The 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro will start at $999 for 128 gigabytes of storage, while the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max will begin at $1,099. They're available in gold, silver, graphite, and blue color options.
Apple's new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini () feature the A14 Bionic chip as well, and while they only have two cameras, Apple promised improvements here, too. These phones also have the new wide camera with a faster aperture that makes it easier for people to take photos in lowlight settings. These phones will be able to shoot high-definition video with Dolby Vision.
Don't miss: Read this before rushing to buy a 5G iPhone ()
Like the Pro models, the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 and the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini have angled edges and ceramic shields. The iPhone 12 mini has a smaller form factor than the iPhone 8 but more display area due to improvements in design. The iPhone 12 starts at $799, while the iPhone 12 mini begins at $699. The phones come in blue, green, black, white, and red.
Preorders for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro kick off Friday at 8 a.m. Eastern time, and the phones become available a week later. Consumers can preorder the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max starting Nov. 6, with availability beginning a week after that.
The company will stop including headphones and chargers in the box with new phones, a move that the company said would help reduce its environmental impact, though it also helps Apple reduce its own costs.
Apple also unveiled a smaller, lower-priced HomePod smart speaker as well as accessories using its MagSafe technology. New cases and wallets will stick to the phones due to magnets embedded in the devices, and Apple expects third-parties to also create accessories that leverage this standard.
The HomePod mini will cost $99 and Apple talked up ways to integrate it within the home. The device can be paired with another HomePod mini speaker in the same room for a better audio experience, and it can also be synced with others around the home.
Apple introduced an "intercom" function for the HomePod, so family members can send messages to one another. The speaker can also recognize different voices to deliver personalized updates to various family members.
The device comes in white and space gray, with preorders starting Nov. 6. Availability begins the week of Nov. 16. The HomePod mini "looks compelling at the $99 price point," Evercore ISI analyst Amit Daryanani wrote.
These announcements follow several from a month back, when Apple unveiled new iPads, Apple Watches, and a bundled subscription offering.
See more: Apple rolls out a cheaper Apple Watch, subscription bundles and more ()
Shares of Apple fell 2.7% in Tuesday's session. The stock has gained 27% over the past three months as the Dow Jones Industrial Average , of which Apple is a component, has rallied 10%.
-Emily Bary; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 13, 2020 16:39 ET (20:39 GMT)
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