Apple Launch Day 2020 iPhone 12 5G & More

Details on Apple’s release day October 13, 2020. With details on Apple Watch, iPhone 12 Pro, Max and Mini, and more.

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Tshaka Armstrong
Feb 11, 2021
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Recently, Apple launched their latest iPads and Apple watches. And on October 13th, in the morning, 10:00 a.m. Pacific time, they updated their ecosystem and launched some new things.

The iPhone 12s, all 5G. What does that mean for you? Why should you care? How are they different from the previous generation iPhones? I'm gonna tell you all you need to know, make it clear, let's talk about it in this Apple Launch Day 2020 review.

The last event was iPads and Apple watches and it really kind of cleared the way and built the way for a lot of the things we are gonna see today in terms of what Apple's superpower is and that is its ecosystem.

The group of products and software that ties everything you can buy in an Apple Store together and allows it to work seamlessly, for the most part, keeping you on their platform and buying from them.

Back when they launched the new Apple watches, they launched in a new blue color and had new blue bands, the loop bands, this one is the braided loop, they also have a silicon loop and they're in blue.

And today, they launched four new iPhone 12s all with 5G with a new Pacific blue color. So like I said, with the ecosystem, everything that they're launching, that they have launched, it all kind of builds on each other.

Apple Launch Day 2020 announcements

So what are the biggest things that many of you are going to probably maybe have concerns about or are gonna be big changes for you? One of them is something analysts have been talking about for some time.

And that is the fact that Apple was gonna drop earbuds and the little charging bricks from their packaging. And they announced that today. They talked about sustainability and being carbon zero and all those different things. So the bottom line is you won't get earbuds and you won't get the charging brick.

You're still going to get the charging cable in the box. And in this case, you're gonna get a USB-C charging cable, but you won't get the brick.

Apple Gaming going all in

Next up, gaming. Gaming is huge this year in 2020 with Sony dropping their PlayStation Five, Microsoft dropping the new XBox Series X, there's just so much going on with gaming. Microsoft has the new ultimate game pads. There was a whole thing with Apple and Fortnite and the app store. So gaming really is playing a huge part in mobile life these days. And so Apple is going all in.

They have partnered with Riot Games. You're going to get League of Legends and this time with 5G. When you do get 5G, you'll be able to stream and play League of Legends in a way that you have not been able to do before on mobile.

Again, this is contingent upon you actually having a 5G connection where you live, where you work, where you're going to play, but they're going in big on this, again, because this is just a huge part of the mobile experience going forward.

Something that they definitely have to be a part of and something that they have set themselves up for with the A14 bionic chip that's in the iPhone 12.

Apple Retina XDR display, ceramic shield

The next thing they announced is the Retina XDR display across all four devices. So this time you're gonna get that beautiful high resolution display, no matter which device you purchase.

And with that, comes something new. I haven't had a chance to test it obviously, but Ceramic Shield, they announced, and they're calling it tougher than any current smartphone glass. This technology is going to make their screens more durable than glass.

According to Apple, it is four times more durable for drop performance than the previous generation iPhone 11. So I'm sure we'll see plenty of drop test videos once the phone drops and people are able to get their hands on it, but the Ceramic Shield is going to be available across all four devices.

So that was one of the big things we saw today was kind of this parity across all four devices with some of the aspects of the device. And in this age of COVID, that really just makes sense because people really want the most value for their purchase because there's so much going on with people's jobs, and layoffs, and furloughs and all that kind of thing. So value is a big deal in 2020.

iPhone MagSafe charging

One of my favorite things they announced today because it's also one of my favorite features on my MacBook Pro and that's the MagSafe adapter. So these new iPhone12s are gonna have the MagSafe 15 watt charging.

If any of you have used a wireless charging phone, or wireless charging device, when you have to take the phone and put it on the wireless charger, sometimes you may miss having the magnets that are in here, the coils rather, line up with the coils on the charging device. And you'll notice the phone doesn't charge. I've done it a couple of times where I've put it on the charger at night, got up in the morning and the phone was almost drained because I didn't align the coils properly.

Well, with the MagSafe charger, you are now gonna have a product that magnetically clips to, attracts to the magnets on the charging pad and makes it so that you should get a good, a solid alignment, almost every time you put the phone down on the charging pad.

So that is actually, I think, a really big deal because the other thing we're gonna see with that obviously, is a ton of aftermarket accessories for the iPhone based on that magnetic spec. They showed off a couple of them during the event today with the MagSafe card, credit card adapter on the back, and they showed off some MagSafe chargers.

One of my favorites was the fold, which will enable you to charge an iPhone and your Apple watch at the same time. Pretty cool. And they announced that Belkin even has something in the works. So we'll see what happens when that comes out.

Photography, aperture, display, and price

And with that out of the way, let's get into really what the meat of these iPhones are. We've gone over some of the highlights and features that I think are important, but really what Apple is betting on this year is computational photography and computational features. The iPhone 12 mini coming in at $699, the iPhone 12 at $799.

The iPhone mini is a compelling entry into this category because it has a 5.4 inch display and yet the display is actually bigger than the iPhone 8 because they got rid of the touch ID on this, so you just have the face unlock. So you no longer have that larger bezel at the bottom of the screen, which actually gives you more screen real estate than you had on the iPhone 8.

So that's pretty cool. And they've continued to push computational photography. So now on the phones, you're gonna get nightside mode on that front-facing camera, as well as improved nightside modes on the rear-facing camera with a wider open aperture main camera sensor on the back of the iPhone 12s. It comes in at 1.6 aperture. Now, you should know that a lot of phones are like 1.8, actually a very few are 1.8, most of them are 2.0, 2.2.

So with 1.6, you're actually going to get an iPhone that is going allow more light onto the sensor and it's going to give you the ability to have in theory, because we haven't tested it yet, but they're gonna give you the ability to have better low-light shots without night mode, and then you throw in all the computational wizardry that goes into night mode, and you should have even better shots with night mode with this new aperture lens.

Now, the cool thing is when I tested night mode with the iPhone 11, it was among the best of all the night modes I've tested even to date. And so to see that you have a wider open aperture lens paired with that night mode computational photography is very, very promising.

Apple announcement summary

So that's the nuts and bolts of what they announced today for those four iPhones. I think they're really promising, especially I think many of you are gonna like that iPhone mini at $699, which is competing with at least three or four other handsets being released at the time, not the least of which is Google's pixel five eight, and those two cameras in terms of night mode and some of the other features tend to go head to head quite often.

So it'll be interesting to see once they're both released what the quality is like, the difference between the two, since they both heavily relied this year on features and computational photography to really help them stand out in the crowd while keeping prices from going up so that they're not alienating customers in an environment that is not really too friendly to people's bank accounts and wallets right now.

I'm Tshaka Armstrong, if you have any questions beyond what I've talked about here in the video, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. I'll get to them. As always, thank you for watching. We'll catch you on the next video.

Tshaka Armstrong
Written by
Tshaka Armstrong
Tshaka is a nerd and Griot. Founder of the non-profit digital literacy organization Digital Shepherds, he’s also been a broadcast technology reporter, writer, and producer. In addition to being an award-winning broadcast storyteller, he’s also covered tech online and in print for everything from paintball gear technology, to parenting gadgets. He blathers on about his many curiosities on social media everywhere as @tshakaarmstrong.

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