Apple's base iPhone 12 5G model might be pricier than you expected

Apple's base iPhone 12 5G model might be pricier than you expected
Apple certainly caught us by surprise last year when pricing the base iPhone 11 model lower than 2018's iPhone XR, despite adding a second 12MP camera to the back of the budget-friendly 6.1-inch handset and significantly improving its raw processing power.

Of course, we wouldn't exactly call the iPhone 11 a radical redesign or a major upgrade of its predecessor, while this year's entry-level iPhone 12 variant is widely expected to bring at least two very notable changes to the table. 

We're talking about 5G connectivity and a long overdue transition from LCD to OLED display technology, both of which are likely to drive up production costs and ultimately reflect in a higher starting price.

Get ready to spend at least $749

Although it's definitely way too early to know for sure precisely what Apple is preparing in terms of specifications and price points for the full iPhone 12 lineup, the latest prediction from one reputable analyst certainly seems plausible given the two aforementioned major upgrades.

Granted, it's perhaps not entirely fair to compare the most affordable iPhone 12 variant with last year's base iPhone 11 model, as the former is tipped to sport a compact 5.4-inch OLED screen. But with 5G support, an undoubtedly improved dual rear-facing camera system, a smaller notch, and a presumably considerably faster Apple A14 Bionic chipset in tow, it sure sounds like it'll be hard to argue with the value proposition of this $749 and up iPhone 12 model.

If the new forecast pans out, MacRumors believes the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Max (or iPhone 12 Plus) is likely to start at $799 or even $849, which would definitely represent a much harder to swallow hike over the $699 and up 6.1-inch iPhone 11 with an LCD panel. 

Keep in mind that this non-Pro Max variant is also expected to settle for just two rear shooters, unlike the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max, which should house a grand total of four imaging sensors on their back (each), including a groundbreaking LiDAR scanner borrowed from the 2020 iPad Pro family. For the time being, it remains difficult to predict the pricing structure of the iPhone 12 Pro duo, which may or may not end up being similar to that of the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max.

5G speeds and... missing accessories across the board

There's been a lot of conflicting information bandied about in recent months regarding the cellular connectivity and different strategies Apple could adopt for the iPhone 12 roster, but right now, it looks like all four main variants are set to leave 4G LTE behind. Well, not exactly, as LTE technology will obviously still be supported on 5G-enabled devices, but you get the idea.

There's also a decent chance the iPhone 12, 12 Max, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max will all be released on Verizon with compatibility for the nation's fastest 5G network as well in mmWave-equipped versions likely to cost $50 to $100 more than "standard" 5G configurations offering low and mid-band support only.

While these are all logical moves and price hikes expected to be "accepted by consumers" and unlikely to "affect demand" in a meaningful way, according to analyst Jeff Pu, it remains to be seen how prospective buyers will feel about spending more money for devices shipping in "exquisite", empty boxes.

After all, one of the possible reasons cited by insiders for Apple's decision to sell the iPhone 12 lineup without an included charger or earphones is a cost reduction. But if said reduction will not be passed on to consumers, the probability of a "super-cycle" happening later this year might be even smaller than previously believed.

Of course, there's still a chance Apple will also release at least one iPhone 12 model with 4G LTE connectivity only at a starting price of $649 or even lower, but right now, we wouldn't hold our breath.
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