Here's when Apple's 'top-end' 5G iPhone 12 model could be released after all


There's been a lot of back and forth in the rumor mill regarding Apple's iPhone 12 launch timetable in the last few months, but even though it's pretty clear the coronavirus pandemic has had a negative effect on the tech giant's development and production process, this impact may not prove to be quite as bad in the end as many analysts initially predicted.

The worst-case scenario bandied about at the peak of the recent supply chain crisis is unlikely to materialize, according to unnamed inside sources quoted in a new Nikkei Asian Review report

At the same time, however, one particular member of Apple's next high-end handset family is still widely expected to go on sale a little later than its siblings, which are themselves slightly behind the company's normal schedule.

The biggest delay may not exceed two months after all

If Nikkei's sources are correct (which is typically a coin toss), the "top-end" iPhone 12 model is currently on track to hit stores around two months later than usual. Considering last year's iPhone 11 lineup was commercially released in September and that's also when the iPhone XS duo saw daylight back in 2018, this 5G-capable super-flagship could become available sometime in November.

That's obviously far from ideal, but it certainly beats those early 2021 release forecasts. There's also a good chance Apple will put the entire iPhone 12 roster in US stores by Black Friday, which is pretty much the best we can hope for in the current economic and public health climate.


Keep in mind that the top-end model could prove to be several different variants equipped with mmWave support for the world's fastest 5G networks, Verizon included, while the "other" 5G iPhones are expected to offer Sub-6 GHz, aka low and mid-band compatibility, looking destined for delays of "one to one and a half months"... at least for the time being.

Naturally, a lot can still change between now and September or October, when the first iPhone 12-series devices are predicted to see daylight. After all, the final designs haven't even been "locked down" yet, according to the same aforementioned insiders, with "most" Engineering Verification Tests completed as of the end of June and both Design Verification Tests and Product Verification Tests still to go before mass production can actually kick off.

For what it's worth, Apple is unsurprisingly trying its best to speed up all those processes and reduce any potential delays, so there's still a chance we'll see something released in September or at least early October. At the same time, of course, various issues could lead to longer waiting times for one or more iPhone 12 models.

Three screen sizes, four main variants, two 5G flavors, and a low starting price

While it's clearly premature to be certain of many things in relation to a smartphone lineup whose design is reportedly yet to be finalized, industry pundits, market analysts, and esteemed mobile tech leakers all agree the iPhone 12 family will include 5.4, 6.1, and 6.7-inch members.

But that doesn't mean Apple will stick to the three-model release strategy, as the iPhone 12 Pro Max and 12 Pro are likely to share the 6.1-inch display diagonal. Meanwhile, the jury is still out on how many of these variants will be able to deliver the highest download speeds available today. Some reports claim mmWave technology will be reserved for the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max, with others anticipating full Verizon support for the entire quartet.

What seems pretty much etched in stone is that the iPhone 12, 12 Plus, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max will all come equipped with low and mid-band connectivity for T-Mobile and AT&T's broadly available 5G networks. There's also at least one 4G LTE-only version in the pipeline with an almost unbelievable $549 price tag attached to its name, with a grand total of 80 million units expected to be manufactured by the end of the year.

Alongside the iPhone XR, second-gen iPhone SE, and the iPhone 11 range, all of which should retain their mainstream popularity this holiday season, Apple has plenty of reasons to expect its inevitable decline in global sales caused by COVID-19 in 2020 to beat Samsung and Huawei's far steeper drops. And yes, that's despite a controversial rumored decision to cut back on the bundled iPhone 12 series accessories.

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