There are four models in the fall 2020 lineup, and two will occupy the iPhone 12 space for the first time. The iPhone 12 mini has a 5.4-inch OLED display with a dual-camera system. The iPhone 12 is a 6.1-inch model that replaces the current iPhone 11.
"[The] iPhone 12 mini has the exact same features as iPhone 12," said Kaiann Drance, vice president, iPhone Product Marketing. "In fact, iPhone 12 mini is the smallest thinnest and lightest 5G phone in the world, with its large screen and compact size."
"[It] fits in the palm of your hand while still keeping the expansive edge-to-edge Super Retina XDR display," she continued. "It's smaller and lighter than our 4.7 inch models like iPhone 8, but with a larger 5.4 inch display that lets you see so much more with its compact size."
iPhone 12 mini has 5G connectivity, including mmWave tech.
After three years of using the iPhone X design, Apple changed some characteristics of its entire lineup this fall. While it has the same edge-to-edge screen with a notch, an old design paradigm returned in the iPhone 12 mini and other models by making the sides flat rather than rounded-off. Apple first used this in the iPhone 4, refined it in the iPhone 5, and last utilized it in the original iPhone SE. The flat edges give the new iPhones a distinctive yet classic look and feel.
The 2020 iPhones have flat sides similar to the iPhone 4. The 2018 iPad Pro was the first product line to revisit the flat-sided design. The iPad Air 4 followed in its 2020 refresh, so Apple seems to be pushing its entire device lineup to the same design language.
A feature collage of the iPhone 12 mini
The smaller iPhone 12 mini is 5.4 inches. The addition of a smaller screen size might appeal to those looking for something with Face ID in a much smaller package.
The iPhone 12 mini is available in blue, green, black, white, and (Product)Red.
All four models have OLED screens this year, with the non-pro models, including the iPhone 12 mini, receiving cheaper displays. Apple is expected to use lower-quality display types to maintain budget pricing while moving to thinner Y-Octa type displays for the premium range.
The new phones uses Apple's Ceramic Shield front cover, which Apple developed in partnership with Corning. It adds "a new high temperature crystallization step that grows nano-ceramic crystals within the glass matrix, increasing drop performance by 4x."
Apart from some small updates to its processing engine, the rear camera system on the iPhone 12 mini is relatively the same as that of the iPhone 11.
All four of the new models will be able to shoot in Dolby Vision, a kind of HDR used in filmmaking.
The A14 chip in the iPhone 12 Pro
Apple introduced the A14 alongside the iPad Air 4 at its September "Time Flies" event, and the new chip is also inside the iPhone 12 series.
TSMC supplies some of the current A-series processors for Apple using a seven-nanometer process. The company announced a new 6nm process is ready for mass-production as of April 2019, and the 5nm process was in a pre-production phase. It was then no surprise to learn that the A14 Bionic used the 5nm process.
A benchmark for an unknown A-series processor showed up in Geekbench that may be for the A14. This benchmark showed a 50% gain in single-core performance over the A12Z Bionic used in iPad Pros. This benchmark indicates the A14 would also be the first A-series chipset to ever clock over 3GHz.
Apple announced that it is moving its Mac processors from Intel to Apple Silicon. This process will likely not affect the iPhone 12 mini or other models' chips, but what Apple learns from producing Mac-class processors will likely trickle down to the mobile line.
5G and Wireless Connectivity
5G is coming to iPhone
Apple upgraded from 4G LTE to 5G in the next-generation iPhones. Qualcomm will provide the modems this year since Intel has exited the 5G modem business.
Apple may start making modems after acquiring the patents from Intel in a billion-dollar deal. However, the Apple-designed modems wouldn't be ready until 2022 at the earliest.
MagSafe returns for the iPhone 12 lineup. Apple has added a magnetic charging and accessory solution to the new iPhones which allow users to easily attach and swap cases and other objects.
Cases purchased for iPhones with MagSafe will need to have a special magnetic charging coil in order to be compatible with MagSafe charging. The charger can output up to 15W to the iPhone, and will still charge Qi compatible devices at 7.5W.
Accessories like wallets and stands can be attached via MagSafe as well, which will open up an entirely new category of iPhone accessories.
Size and Weight
The iPhone 12 mini vs. the iPhone SE
The iPhone mini is the smallest all-screen iPhone Apple has made. Compared to the second-generation iPhone SE, the iPhone 12 mini is 5% shorter, 4.5% narrower, and the same thickness. The iPhone 12 mini is also 8.8% lighter.
However, the iPhone 12 mini has a much bigger display and higher-end internals.
MagSafe accessories will use the magnets on the back of the iPhone 12
Will not include EarPods in the box to cut costs, boost AirPods sales, and reduce carbon footprint
Dark Blue color replaces Midnight Green
The iPhone 12 mini has an OLED screen, an aluminum frame, and a dual-camera system for an entry price of $699.
Common iPhone 12 mini Questions
Is the iPhone 12 mini waterproof?
All iPhone 12 models have a rating of IP68 under IEC standard 60529. They're rated for a maximum submersion of 6 meters deep for up to 30 minutes. However, Apple's warranty does not cover water damage.
Will the iPhone 12 mini ship with a charger?
Apple no longer ships the iPhone with a power adapter or headphones. This stops substantial waste caused by shipping the extra components and cuts down on the box size.
Does the iPhone 12 mini have LiDAR?
No. LiDAR is is only available on the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. The technology is used for computational photography, significantly improving portrait mode, night mode, and other pro photo features.