Five takeaways from Apple’s iPhone 12 launch

Tech company introduces four models – iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max

Key takeaways from Apple's iPhone 12 launch

Key takeaways from Apple's iPhone 12 launch
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Apple launched the iPhone 12, the company’s first 5G-enabled phones, at an online event on Tuesday.

Here are five takeaways from the event that launched the tech giant's newest offerings.

Biggest iPhone yet

The flagship device of the new series, the iPhone 12 Pro Max, comes with a 17-centimetre display –  the biggest ever in the history of iPhone.

It is bigger than last year’s 14.7cm iPhone 11 Pro and 16.5cm iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Industry analysts said a larger screen size can be attractive to professionals, who demand more from their smartphone screens, and will allow Apple to compete with Samsung’s Note 20 Ultra that was launched in August with a 17.52cm screen. It offers the highest screen resolution featuring nearly 3.5 million pixels for a more lifelike viewing experience.

Thinnest and lightest 5G smartphone in the market

With a 13.7cm display, the iPhone 12 mini is the smallest, thinnest and lightest 5G smartphone on the market, the company claimed.

This is the first time that Apple is using the moniker "mini" to describe an iPhone. Due to its refurbished design and latest technology, it is even smaller than the iPhone SE (launched last April) that comes with a 12cm screen. Apple has made it possible by replacing the touch ID with the face ID and significantly reducing the bezels around the screen.

Going green while cutting overheads

Apple, which has committed to net zero climate impact across the entire business by 2030, said the iPhone 12 models use 100 per cent recycled rare earth elements. It is also not supplying power adapter and headphones with the new iPhones, reducing carbon emissions and avoiding mining and use of precious materials.

Aside from the  positive environment impact, it will also lower the overhead costs.

“With the increased BOM [bill of materials], Apple had to make sacrifices elsewhere to maintain their high device margins and avoid price inflation,” said Neil Campling, co-head of Mirabaud Securities’ Global Thematic Group.

epa08741489 Handout image released by Apple showing the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini which come in five aluminum finishes including blue, green, black, white and (PRODUCT) RED, introduced during a special event at Apple Park in Cupertino, California, USA, 13 October 2020. The four new versions of the iPhone 12 were introduced along with a HomePod mini.  EPA/APPLE INC. / HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY, NO SALES
Apple's new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini, which come in five colours - blue, green, black, white and red. EPA

Pricing and brewing competition

Apple is relatively late in launching a 5G phone compared to its rivals, some of which launched their first 5G models last year. Samsung said it sold more than 6.7 million 5G phones worldwide in 2019, while Huawei said it shipped 6.9 million devices during the period.

A higher price – Apple’s cheapest 5G model starts at $699 – could be a challenge, as many cheaper options are already available.

Earlier this month, Motorola rolled out one of the most economical 5G phones, moto g 5G Plus, at just $353. Samsung, the world’s largest manufacturer of smartphones, launched its cheapest 5G phone on Monday starting at $455. Google’s Pixel 4a 5G starts at $499.

“I do foresee iPhones emerging as a compelling option in the budget or mid-range smartphones market … with the flagship line better than the SE 2 ones ... these might also cannibalise a bit of the Android phone market,” said Saurabh Verma, ICT director at Frost & Sullivan in the Middle East.

Disrupting 5G market

Industry analysts said Apple could gain new market share with its latest 5G offerings.

With 5G technology set for the mainstream in 2021, Apple can capitalise on the demand, Mr Campling said.

“With the form factor of the iPhone 12 Pro Max with huge screen,  Lidar technology and the dolby HDR video this particular design is likely to really appeal to Chinese consumers … which happens to have the most advanced 5G network scale already,” he added.

Tim Cook, Apple chief executive, said the introduction of 5G technology is the beginning of a new era for iPhones. EPA
Tim Cook, Apple chief executive, said the introduction of 5G technology is the beginning of a new era for iPhones. EPA

China is expected to have 200 million 5G subscribers by the time Chinese New Year rolls around on February 12.

Lidar (light detection and ranging) improves autofocus by six times in low-light scenes for more accuracy and reduced capture time in photos and videos.

“More than 40 per cent of the iPhone install base has not upgraded in the last three years and these, together with the tech-savvy crowd and the attractive trade-in options, should drive a potential super cycle for the iPhone 12,” said Mr Campling.