It’s raining goodies: Apple unwraps Homepod, iPhone 12, and more at Apple Event in US
There are festivities, then there’s Apple festivities. Connoisseurs of Apple products across the world were waiting with bated breath for the Apple Event that was streamed live on YouTube and Apple.com on 13 October 2020 from the company’s US-based Apple Park venue.
And Apple lovers dug their teeth into the event as Apple CEO Tim Cook and his team kept unwrapping the next-generation Apple products one after the other.
Cook logged in by greeting everyone with folded hands in the form of NAMASTE at the Apple Park, saying that there were a lot of announcements to be made. These included Homepod Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, and Magsafe. He then proceeded to announce the latest Homepod mini. iPhone 12 was a major, but not the only reveal of the day.
Here’s everything that was announced during the ‘Hi, Speed’, in detail.
1. Homepod mini
Apple launched its new Homepod Mini, a 3.3-inch-tall speaker resembling an 8-ball. The feature packed device is full of tricks and accessibility options up its sleeve. The Homepod Mini device is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 enabled, and built in Siri assistant. It comes with a mesh fabric cover, and a backlit touch surface on top to show the Siri waveform. It has a bottom-firing speaker for a 360-surround-sound experience, and gets an Apple S5 Chip and computational audio for enhanced performance. The device also focuses on privacy and security, and can also work as an intercom, also recognizing voices of the members of your household. Users can control smart home features with the speakers, as it can automatically integrate with the Home app. Users can make stereo pairs with other Homepod Minis, and the deep iPhone integration allows multiple tasks without the need for leaving your room.
2. iPhone 12
Apple has joined the 5G bandwagon with the iPhone 12 models, announcing it with Verizon’s 5G support. Verizon announced that all iPhone 12 models will leverage the Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband, which uses millimeter wave spectrum, with download speeds touching 4 Gbps in a few locations in US. All iPhone 12 models will be powered by the new A14 Bionic chipset for better performance, and will have 5G connectivity as standard. This year’s models mark a first major redesign since past 3 years, with the current design more relatable with iPhone 5.
The iPhone 12 with 5G replaces the 11’s IPS LCD with Super XDR OLED display. The 6.1 inch screen size is retained, but a much higher 2532x1170 resolution, and 1,200 nits of peak brightness for HDR content. The screen still has a notch top, and a standard 60Hz refresh rate. Apple has used a Ceramic Shield glass co-developed with Corning, claiming that it is the strongest yet, with 4 times better drop performance.
It is 11% thinner, 16% lighter and 15% smaller in volume than the iPhone 11, with smaller bezels, flat edges resembling iPhone 5, along with sounded off corners. The A14 Bionic is a 6 core CPU and 4 Core GPU setup, with 40% more transistors than A13, allowing 50% faster speeds. Apple claims it can offer 80% faster machine learning.
The back camera is a dual sensor setup which includes a 12MP wide camera and a 12MP ultrawide. Both sensors have Apple's new Smart HDR 3 with improved white balance, texture and saturation. The main camera has optical image stabilization, while the ultrawide doesn’t. All 3 cameras are capable of night mode shooting.
The retail packaging will not include Earpods and charger, for a small retail box.
3. Apple iPhone 12 Mini
Apple may have tried to appeal more mass market with this smaller offering, which is also the world’s thinnest, lightest, and smallest 5G phone. It is even smaller than the 4.7-inch iPhone SE (2020), still featuring a larger 5.4-inch screen. The Apple iPhone 12 Mini shares the same display, chipset, camera, and 5G support options as the bigger sibling. Apple brings the same design language to the smaller offering, and it features the same aluminium construction and Ceramic Shield glass, and IP68 waterproof rating, and re-positioned antennas.
4. Apple iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max
These Pro models pack in more stuff, appealing to the more premium-phone buyers. These Apple iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max models feature a surgical-grade steel blend body with a precision milled back glass, and four new finishes. The display sizes are bumped up to 6.5 inch and 6.7 inch respectively, while keeping form factors nearly identical. The iPhone 12 Pro Max features the largest display ever for any iPhone, with a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio, 2778*1284 resolution, and 458 ppi density, making it to nearly 3.5 million pixels in total. These will also offer an Image Signal Processor for Deep Fusion, which uses machine learning for pixel by pixel processing of images.
The rear camera setup features Ultra Wide, Wide and Telephoto cameras, and the front has a sing TrueDepth selfie camera. The front camera is capable of Smart HDR 3 with Scene Detection, HDR video recording, 4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, and 1080P slow motion video support. The Telephoto camera also has a sensorshift technology, and the back camera OIS has been improved from past years.
The Hompod Mini price is set at USD99. The smallest iPhone 12 mini starts from USD699, with iPhone 12 having the base price set at USD799. Apple has set the pricing attractively to create a wider price bracket, and increase its customer base. The iPhone 12 Pro models will be starting from the base Pro model set at USD999, with starting capacity at 128GB storage. The iPhone 12 Pro Max starts at USD1099. The magsafe accessories vary in pricing, but Apple’s Magsafe Charger offering is set at USD39.
Magsafe and other announcements
Apple has brought back its Magsafe branding, which is a special feature in itself, allowing for faster charging speeds. Apple is looking to create a new Magsafe ecosystem with wireless chargers, cases, and wallets. The Magsafe charger wound wire coil is fitted with magnets for better alignment and more efficiency. The shielding design is also improved for offering 15 watts of wireless charging, something which has never been offered before with any iPhone wired charger. It features a sensitive magnetometer and a single turn-coil NFC for better function with Magsafe accessories. Apple has also introduced a Magsafe dual charger to charge an Apple watch and iPhone side by side.
Apple has also announced that its corporate operations are already carbon neutral. It is now focusing on making its entire operations 100% carbon neutral by 2030, from material collection to recycling. Apple is also using 100% recycled elements for all the magnets, and helping material vendors transition to renewable energy. Apple will also be removing chargers and peripherals such as earphones to make the packaging’s carbon-footprint lighter. Every iPhone 12, however, include a USB C to lightning cable for better accessibility.
So here’s a quick recap of Apple’s Hi, Speed event, and if you wish to review it again, Apple streamed it live a few hours ago on its YouTube channel here. Apple has tried to revolutionize this year’s iPhone 12 models with added technology, redesign, and much more. Only time will tell as to how do these perform in the markets, competing for sales numbers with other tech.