Apple is set to unveil the tentatively titled iPhone 12S series this year, but a new analyst note from TrendForce indicates that the iPhone 12S Mini will be sitting this one out. Instead, it expects Apple to focus on a series of refinements to the larger iPhones, adding everything from a smaller notch to new A15 Bionic processors and 120Hz refresh rate displays.
Let’s address the elephant in the room first. Apple is said to be naming this an iPhone 12S rather than an iPhone 13, despite zipping from the iPhone 11 to the iPhone 12, though the name is not set in stone. CNET believes Apple could skip the iPhone 13 branding entirely and jump to the iPhone 14 in 2022 for cultural reasons, as the number is often associated with bad luck.
What about the hardware? With the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic still being felt, the 2021 iPhone line is expected to be a more muted update than some may hope for, but it’s still intriguing. TrendForce says the iPhone 12S will use Apple’s first 120Hz displays, albeit for Pro-branded models only. The company has shipped displays with high refresh rates on iPads for a while, but has fallen behind Android phones, where many models provide at least a 90Hz refresh rate almost regardless of price.
Apple will still retain its performance gap with new A15 processors, says Trendforce, and it also predicts a camera upgrade with a feature called sensor-shift optical image stabilization, plus a six-lens ultra-wide camera with new autofocus capability, but only on the 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max.
What about the Mini? Trendforce says it expects Apple to focus on larger iPhones this year due to the commercial failure of the iPhone 12 Mini. The reasons for this failure have been speculated to include a relatively expensive price, poor battery performance, and better value from the cheaper iPhone 12. This may mean Apple will balk at releasing small-size iPhone models regularly, and the Mini may become similar to the SE range, with updates happening after several years. With the power of the company’s chips, however, an iPhone 12 Mini will still be a viable phone for years to come.
The report suggests the prices of the new 2021 iPhone range to stay in line with the current 2020 iPhone 12 range, so expect to pay from around $799. Apple traditionally launches its latest iPhone models in September or October each year.