Almost every detail about the iPhone 12 line-up has leaked, from their external redesign to their increased prices, and now an accident in Apple’s supply chain has confirmed the company’s release strategy.
Stickers for Apple’s official iPhone 12 silicone cases have been photographed by reliable leaker DuanRui, revealing the company’s naming strategy for the range: iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max and the all-new iPhone 12 mini. But that’s only half the story.
First, the branding, which is both a surprise and a relief. It is a surprise because multiple leaks have suggested the iPhone 11’s successor would be renamed iPhone 12 Max or iPhone 12 Plus with the new 5.4-inch model, taking on the iPhone 12 name. This would have caused untold confusion and, with Apple already having Mac mini and iPad mini brands, an iPhone 12 mini expands the iPhone range in a simple and intuitive way.
Second, the design. The case stickers reveal that Apple will sell just three silicon cases with the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 and 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro sharing the same case. While the displays align, the iPhone XR and iPhone 11 were noticeably thicker than the iPhone XS and iPhone 11. For the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro to fit in the same case means this is no longer the, well, case.
The primary reason behind this is likely to be the range’s move to OLED. Both the iPhone XR and iPhone 11 used cheaper, low resolution LCD panels, but in 2020 every iPhone 12 model has stepped up to OLED, which is thinner, more power efficient and has greater contrast levels. For Apple (and third party case makers), this also makes case manufacturing a lot simpler.
But smart branding and accessorizing alone can’t cover up growing concerns about the iPhone 12 range. Underwhelming performance, smaller batteries, the same large notch and significant price increases have all been unearthed in recent weeks and Apple’s highlights of a boxy new design, 3D camera and 5G connectivity may not be enough to set potential customers’ hearts racing.
Either way, we’ll know soon enough. The iPhone 12 release date is fast approaching