iPhone 12: One Month Late and Two Years Behind

image credit: Rafael Fernandez

published by Chand Bellur – October 19, 2020 at 3:24 p.m.

  • Apple finally debuted the new iPhone 12 lineup, set to launch on October 23, 2020.
  • The latest iPhone 12 models lack features found in flagship Android devices, such as 120 Hz refresh rate screens, high capacity batteries, and rapid charging.
  • All iPhone 12 models, including the Pro, come equipped with 12 MP camera sensors, while competing Android devices can capture 48 MP or more.

iPhone 12: Modest Improvement Over iPhone 11

Apple products evolve slowly over time, as its innovative marketing convinces hundreds of millions of customers that they won’t be cool unless they purchase an iPhone. The iPhone’s main appeal is the same as any popular brand name product, such as Air Jordans or the Sony Walkman. The brand holds most of the power, while the product itself may be inferior to competitors’ offerings.

Once again, Apple unveils new iPhone models lagging behind competitors such as Samsung, Google, and OnePlus. Features such as gorgeous, bright, and vivid AMOLED displays with 120 Hz refresh rates are still absent in most of the Apple ecosystem. Apart from the iPad Pro, no other Apple device features a 120 Hz refresh rate. The new screen technology smooths motion, making scrolling, animations, gaming, and video more fluid.

Cameras are another area where the new iPhone 12 falls short. While competitors boast 48 MP or higher camera sensors, Apple still sticks with 12 MP sensors. Although Apple uses larger pixels to ensure more light hits the sensors, other smartphone manufacturers can harness ultra-high megapixel sensors to their advantage.

The Google Pixel line of smartphones arguably takes better photos than any iPhone, and the latest model features a 16 MP wide-angle lens. In photo comparisons, Samsung and OnePlus often take better pictures than the newest iPhone models.

Compared to the iPhone 11, the iPhone 12 doesn’t add much more than 5G networking — a fixture on flagship Android devices for over a year now. The A14 Bionic processor is a definite improvement over the A13 and still mops the floor with the Snapdragon 865 found in most high-end Android devices.

With only 4 to 6 GB of RAM, depending on the model, the iPhone 12 lineup has less than half the RAM of comparable Android devices. These iPhone competitors offer speedy user experiences and exceptional gaming capabilities, as apps run entirely in memory. With 12 GB or more of memory, top-shelf Android devices can load the most complicated games into RAM. This seems to compensate for the relatively slower CPU.

The iPhone 12 is a hard sell for some, which is why Apple still offers older models, down to the iPhone X. For most, even the difference between an iPhone X and iPhone 12 is negligible — one can take slightly better photos and access marginally faster cellular networks. The newest iPhone models won’t become obsolete as soon as the older ones, which is their main appeal. Also, conspicuous consumers who adopt status symbols will likely go for Apple’s newest smartphone.

Apple Recycles Design

As other manufacturers lean into the future, with gorgeous all-screen, curved glass designs, Apple reaches back into the past for the iPhone 12 design. The new smartphone looks remarkably like the iPhone 4, with its flat, stainless-steel banded sides. 

Unlike other smartphones, it still features exceedingly large bezels, although Apple claims they’re small. Perhaps compared to a 2017 iPad, the screen-to-body ratio is favorable; however, most top Android phones feature notch-less, edge-to-edge screens.

It’s not just the iPhone. Apple is slowly returning to its three-dimensional, skeuomorphic design jettisoned after iOS 6. Apple’s mobile operating system is gradually returning to older design concepts, similar to how fashion trends resurface. While Apple’s design isn’t as offensive as flared trousers, it’s not incredibly refreshing either. Apple devices seem stale to many long time customers.

iPhone 12 Models Still Have Small Screens and Large Bezels

For contemporary smartphones, a 6.7″ display is average. In the Apple Ecosystem, that’s as big as you can get. The OnePlus 8 Pro features a bright and gorgeous 6.78″ screen, with a 120 Hz refresh rate available at the highest resolution. Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra boasts a 6.9″ screen.

Screen size matters, as smartphone users watch high definition videos and use their devices for gaming and multimedia consumption and creation. Samsung, OnePlus, and other manufacturers create screens that wrap around devices, eliminating all bezels. Without a notch, these flagship Android devices are all screen — something Apple has yet to create.

The iPhone SE, which Apple still sells for $399, is a relic. With its Touch ID button taking up much of the device’s face, an inexplicably sizeable top bezel replaces even more screen space. It’s a phone constructed out of old, obsolete parts, but at $399, it’s the most affordable iPhone in the mix.

iPhone 12: Weak Batteries That Can’t Charge Rapidly

Apple’s reluctance to equip the iPhone with higher capacity batteries hampers product development. Although Apple refuses to disclose some specifications, leaks reveal that the iPhone 12 has a weaker battery than its predecessor.

A smaller, lower-capacity battery enables Apple to build a thinner phone, which they’ve achieved with the iPhone 12. Apple’s obsession with thinness compromises its products once again, which, unlike competitors, doesn’t offer 120 Hz refresh rate screens. High refresh rates would rapidly deplete the iPhone 12’s weak battery.

Charging one’s iPhone is still a time-consuming endeavor. With this year’s model, Apple no longer supplies a power adapter. iPhone customers will only get a USB-C to lightning adapter, forcing many to purchase a new power adapter. Apple sells its 20-watt charger for $19; however, it seems to be the only flagship phone that ships without the ability to charge.

Apple’s distortion reality field claims that the new iPhone is capable of “Turbo Charging”. Given its small battery capacity, the iPhone 12 should charge relatively quickly. Research indicates that it takes 30 minutes to charge the new iPhone 12 to 50% capacity. My OnePlus 8 Pro can charge its significantly larger battery to 50% in only 23 minutes. Apple hopes its customers are blissfully unaware of its competitors’ capabilities.

You Can Do Better Than the iPhone 12

Consumer Reports typically ranks iPhone models highly; however, they also recommend Samsung and OnePlus devices. It’s incredible how many people, including me for some time, feel that every competing smartphone falls short of the iPhone. Apple’s distortion reality field is so strong that it convinces consumers that an inferior device is the best smartphone on the planet. The end-user pays for all of this slick marketing, which could instead redirect into better product development.

Apple’s distortion reality field seems a bit absurd this cycle. Their marketing material claims that a 50% charge in 30 minutes is “Turbo Charging”. Android phones have exceeded this speed for years. The idea that the iPhone 12 has thin bezels is laughable. It’s one of the few flagship smartphones that still features rather large and visible margins. It’s not an all-screen design. Between the bezels and the notch, it seems antiquated compared to designs from Samsung, OnePlus, and Google.

If you’re in love with Apple and deeply vested in its ecosystem, you’re going to purchase an iPhone 12. Its shortcomings don’t matter to most. It runs social media apps and takes excellent photographs. The iPhone 12 is the smartphone for the conspicuous consumer, eager to show their sophistication by wielding the most popular brand.

The iPhone 12 is a decent phone, but one can do better for less. The top Android phones offer comparable build quality to Apple devices, better features, and lower price tags. However, at the end of the day, Apple’s distortion reality field, combined with consumer conformity, ensures it will likely sell tens of millions of its newest smartphones. If they don’t, they can always repatriate some offshore capital to make up for declining revenues. In either event, Apple is too big to fail, for now. Eventually, size and organizational latency will get the better of the Cupertino tech giant.

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