iPhone 12 Pro dazzles with new design, 5G, improved cameras

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iPhone 12 Pro in Pacific blue
iPhone 12 Pro is "the photographer's iPhone."
Photo: Apple

The wait for iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max is over. During its big “Hi, Speed” keynote on Tuesday, Apple showcased its latest flagships with a dazzling new design inspired by iPad Pro, super-fast 5G connectivity, and the latest A14 Bionic chipset.

The lineup also brings new color options, improved cameras, and MagSafe — but not as you know it. You can preorder yours this Friday, October 16, before the new handsets make their official debut one week later on October 23.

“Today is the beginning of a new era for iPhone,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook during today’s event. “5G will bring a new level of performance for download and uploads, higher quality video streaming … and so much more.” And that’s just the beginning of the improvements packed into iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Max.

Are Cupertino’s newest flagship phones worth the wait? Well, they’re certainly nice (but not necessarily significant) improvements over last year’s iPhone 11 Pro.

iPhone 12 Pro looks terrific

iPhone 12 Pro’s new design sports shiny, flat edges, allowing its front and back glass to sit flush with the handset’s stainless steel frame. And that glass, which Apple dubs “Ceramic Shield,” incorporates ceramic crystals that “dramatically improve toughness.” It’s the strongest smartphone glass yet, offering 4X the drop performance of iPhone 11, which was already a tank.

Like its predecessor, iPhone 12 Pro comes in two size options. The smaller model offers a 6.1-inch display, while the larger Max model packs a 6.7-inch display — the largest ever in an iPhone. And yet, both devices are just as portable as iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max. They’re also available in new color options: silver, graphite, gold, and Pacific blue.

iPhone 12 Pro color options
Get yours in one of four new color options.
Photo: Apple

MagSafe (magnets) built into the back of iPhone 12 Pro not only make wireless charging simpler when using a magnetic charging pad, but also allow for some awesome new accessories, like cases and card holders that snap onto the back of the device. iPhone 12 Pro can even recognize what’s connected using an NFC reader built into its new charging coil.

What’s more, you can stack MagSafe accessories, so you can use wireless chargers and card holders together with supported cases. And, of course, Apple today unveiled new MagSafe and MagSafe Duo chargers that wirelessly charge iPhone (and Apple Watch simultaneously if you opt for the Duo model).

MagSafe on iPhone 12 Pro GIF
MagSafe is back — but not as you know it.
GIF: Apple

MagSafe chargers allow power delivery at up to 15W. That’s twice the speed of regular Qi charging pads, which max out at 7.5W when used with iPhone.

iPhone 12 takes ‘Pro’ to new levels

iPhone 12 Pro is powered by Apple’s newest A14 Bionic chipset — the fastest chip ever in a smartphone. It’s built using a cutting-edge 5-nanometer manufacturing process and features a whopping 11.8 billion transistors that promise improved performance and greater efficiency.

The A14 chip promises up 50% faster performance and graphics, up to 70% faster machine learning, and up to 80% faster Neural Engine over the A14 Bionic in iPhone 11. And with built-in 5G support, you can enjoy download speeds of up to 4 Gbps, upload speeds of up to 200 Mbps, and significantly reduced latency. That’s if you can get a 5G signal where you are, of course.

iPhone 12 Pro
iPhone 12 Pro starts at $999, just like iPhone 11 Pro.
Photo: Apple

Computational photography and an improved signal image processor allows for an even better Night mode that captures more light, front-facing Night mode support, and Smart HDR 3. iPhone 12 Pro also brings Night mode Time-lapse, which lets you record dramatically improved time-lapse videos in low-light conditions, and improved camera sensors.

Apple’s best cameras yet

You get a 12-megapixel Ultra Wide with a 120-degree field of view, a 12-megapixel Wide camera with faster f/1.6 aperture and 47% larger sensor that allows for an 87% improvement in light capturing, and a 12-megapixel Telephoto camera with up to 4X optical zoom.

iPhone 12 Pro back
iPhone 12 Pro packs three camera sensors, plus a LiDAR Scanner.
Photo: Apple

Apple ProRAW support, exclusive to iPhone 12 Pro models, combines the benefits of computational photography with the depth and flexibility of the RAW image format. This gives photographers even greater control over their images during editing. And there are improvements for those who prefer to shoot video, too.

iPhone 12 Pro supports HDR and Dolby Vision HDR video recording for the first time. It captures more than 700 million colors at up to 4K resolution. What’s more, you can edit in HDR and Dolby Vision on iPhone itself — right inside the Photos app — negating the need for expensive software and hardware that professional cinematographers rely on today.

iPhone 12 Pro Night mode sample
A photo taken using Night mode on iPhone 12 Pro.
Photo: Apple

iPhone 12 Pro, like the newest iPad Pro, also features a LiDAR Scanner for improved augmented reality (AR). LiDAR not only makes AR apps and games more immersive and more accurate, but it helps make Night mode even more impressive on Pro iPhone models.

Preorder yours this Friday

iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max will be available to preorder this Friday, October 16, starting at $999 — just like iPhone 11 Pro. They will make their official debut one week later on Friday, October 23.

For the first time ever, this year’s iPhone models will ship without EarPods or charging adapters (though they will include USB-C to Lightning cables) to cut down on environmental waste. That’s something to bear in mind if you don’t already own a USB-C charging adapter.