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Apple prepares to unveil the iPhone 12

There could be as many as four different versions of the new iPhone, reports say.

Image: Jonathan Brady/PA Images

APPLE COULD ANNOUNCE as many as four new versions of the iPhone when it holds a live event today to unveil its iPhone 12 range for the first time.

The technology giant’s flagship product is widely expected to include support for 5G connectivity for the first time.

And reports in the US suggest the phone could be released in four different sizes, including a smaller, cheaper version called the iPhone 12 mini, alongside a model simply called the iPhone 12, and Pro and Pro Max models.

The announcement comes several weeks later than is traditional after Apple admitted earlier this year that the coronavirus pandemic had impacted its launch schedule.

Ru Bhikha, mobiles expert at Uswitch.com, said this year’s iPhone announcement would be interesting not just because of the introduction of 5G to Apple devices, but also the range of phone sizes and potential prices available to users.

“The iPhone 12 is the first 5G-capable handset from Apple, and its arrival opens up almost half of the UK’s smartphone market to the new technology,” he said.

“Some 16% of consumers say they are planning to upgrade to a fifth-generation phone in the next year, and the iPhone 12 could be the shot in the arm that 5G needs.

“We’re expecting the iPhone 12 series to contain enough models to form a 90s pop band, with four or five versions that could include the base model, a mini, a Pro, a Max and a Pro Max.

“The mini is expected to have a 5.4-inch screen, barely larger than the popular iPhone SE, while the middle versions should be 6.1 inches, and the biggest Pro Max device measuring 6.7 inches, the biggest iPhone screen ever.

“The smallest model could cost under £700, but the top-end iPhone 12 Pro Max is likely to join the handful of super-phones that cost more than £1,000.”

Although many other smartphone manufacturers have already launched a number of 5G-enabled phones, including rival phone makers Samsung, Huawei and Google, industry experts believe the firm’s entry into the 5G market is still expected to cause a stir.

Thomas Husson, principal analyst at Forrester said: “Apple is not late to the 5G game.

“Even though most competitors have already launched 5G flagship devices and even introduced affordable 5G phones, the technology is not that mature yet.

“Apple is rarely the first to launch new technologies but waits for a technology to be mature enough to build new customer experiences on top of it.

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“I think we’re slowly reaching this tipping point and that given the renewal cycles of smartphones, Apple is right to embrace 5G now even though there is little demand for a 5G product per se right now.”

Husson added that “5G alone is not mature enough to justify on its own a significant premium for the new iPhones”, and said the pricing of the new range of handsets would be crucial to their success.

The launch event, which is taking place virtually due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, could also reportedly see Apple unveil several other new devices, including the company’s first pair of own-branded over-ear headphones.

There have also been suggestions a new, smaller version of the HomePod smart speaker could be announced.

Apple’s special event begins at 6pm today.

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