Apple’s 2020 encore has finally arrived, bringing with it a few new devices. We’ve already seen the iPhone 12 and the Apple HomePod Mini but there’s always a bigger
fish phone. All of the upgrades that were announced for the iPhone 12 (like 5G and friends) are also coming to the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone Pro Max. Plus, there are a few other upgrades in store for users.
Better on the big screen
Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro Max is going big. Very big. It’s packing Apple’s Super Retina XDR OLED display, with an oddball 1,242 x 2,688 resolution that’s sure to sear the eyes from your head. It’s got peak brightness of 1200 nits. It’ll use Apple’s new Ceramic Shield tech for strength because apparently the company’s too good for Corning’s Gorilla Glass now, and the display also runs at 120Hz. Because Apple’s gone all-in on gaming.
The iPhone 12 Pro is a little smaller, coming in at 6.1in but it also has a 120Hz Super Retina XDR OLED display and Ceramic Shield. Because gaming, and all those other lovely things, yeah?
Apple bets big on the A14 Bionic
Apple’s also (and obviously) packing the Pro and Pro Max with its A14 Bionic hexacore processor, with its GPU improvements, neural engine upgrades (it’s gone from eight to sixteen cores) and then a new image signal processor that… well, we’ll get to that in just a second.
Apple’s claiming a heavy speed boost across the board, from straight-up processing to graphics performance. Apple’s machine learning bits are all also supposed to operate in real-time or near real-time. And they kinda needed to, because both Pro phone’s cameras have got some seriously crazy skills.
Mobile photography just got a smack upside the head
Look, Huawei and Samsung have been doing amazing things with smartphone cameras but Apple’s just come along and kicked them in their respective nuts. At least, that’s what Apple reckons. But they don’t tend to brag unless they can back it up and… they probably can. We still wanna test it, but they probably can.
The iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max both have three 12MP sensors, in addition to something new for the Pro Max — a LiDAR depth sensor. And this is all going to take a little explaining so bear with us.
The 12 Pro has three camera sensors — all 12MP, but with very different functions. One is a 52mm telephoto, another is a 26mm 7-element wide-angle and there’s also a 13mm ultra-wide that benefits from Apple’s improved neural engine and low-light performance. It’ll support 4 x optical zoom as well. But it’s the 12 Pro Max that’ll really blow your head off if you’re a camera fan.
And that’s because its telephoto sensors is now 65mm, its 12MP wide-angle lens features a new type of optical image stabilisation (which moves the sensor around) and also captures 87% more light in crappy conditions. The 13mm ultra-wide is the same as that seen in its (slightly) smaller sibling but the Pro Max also gets a LiDAR scanner, which is used for depth of field. In the dark. Among other things.
The LiDAR scanner enables more accurate augmented reality, and also speeds up autofocus in darkness. Since it doesn’t actually need light, it focuses up to six times faster than last year’s Pro Max. The Pro Max sports 5x optical zoom, and it’s also got some serious video skills. Apple’s justifiably proud of this one — it’ll be the first handset to shoot video in Dolby Vision HDR, and it’s also set to be the first device that allows editing of the same format.
Speaking of formats, Apple’s also launching a new image format called Apple ProRAW — which it says takes the versatility of RAW images and adds in Apple’s pre- and post-processing magic as editable layers. Which… yeah, this is going to make mobile photographers very happy indeed. Provided it all works as advertised.
Coming (very) soon
The iPhone 12 Pro is going to be available for pre-order overseas from 16 October, launching on 23 October. The iPhone 12 Pro Max will become available for pre-order on 6 November, launching on 13 November. Whether they launch here in a similar timeframe isn’t known but we sure bloody hope so. And we hope the other thing Apple announced also gets here — the Pro handsets aren’t going up in price overseas. An iPhone 12 Pro at iPhone 11 Pro launch prices is still… expensive but it coulda been worse. Unless the exchange rate comes along and messes with us just before launch, of course.