On Tuesday Apple introduced four new iPhones, shown below in blue. The major difference compared to its older models are the inclusion of 5G and OLED displays used now on all of their 12s. 5G promises to speed up data downloads, making it faster to watch videos and creating the opportunity for new high bandwidth services such as high resolution music.
But most people won’t enjoy the benefits of 5G until much more work is done by the cellular companies to build out their infrastructures. At this point 5G is spotty or non-existent. Some testing has even shown it to be inferior to existing 4G networks.
So the best that can be said is that these phones are ready for the future that’s probably a year or more away.
Along with the new iPhone 12 series, are 3 existing models that will continue to be sold: last year’s iPhone 11, the previous year’s iPhone XR, and the iPhone SE.That provides a new iPhone from $399 to $999 and more.
Four new iPhone 12 models were announced: Two 12s and two premium 12 Pro phones. The first pair has an aluminum chassis and the second stainless steel. Like each year, the phones are a little faster, comes in new colors and have cameras that are slightly better.
So, should you run out and upgrade to one the new iPhone 12 models?
It depends. If you have an iPhone 8 or iPhone X in good condition, the benefits are not all that compelling. If you need a phone the iPhones are always excellent choices.
While Apple lavished their usual over-the-top praise on their new models, bragging about faster processors, a thinner profile, OLED displays, ceramic finishes, and new colors, they said nothing about battery life, other than that the phones will last for a day. For many of us heavy users, battery life is one of the most important attributes of our phone, but Apple continues to think otherwise. Thinking different isn’t always better.
Apple has always put thinness ahead of battery life, and it appears that hasn’t changed with these even thinner phones. So until we can see a tear-down report from iFixit and some battery testing from the reviewers, I would wait if battery life is important to you.
Early rumors, in fact, have indicated that the batteries in these phones may have an even lower capacity than the current models, although that could be negated by the new processors with lower power consumption. How often you need to recharge your phone not only effects convenience, but the more times you recharge the shorter the battery life and the sooner you’ll need to have the batteries replaced. That’s because a battery will lose 20-30% of its original capacity after about 300-400 full cycles.
Current Apple phones have batteries with 50-70% the capacity of most Samsung phones and half of some Motorola phones, that can get two days without recharging.
The other difference this year that’s got a lot of attention is that the iPhones no longer come with a charger or earphone. Apple made a big deal of this, saying how big a savings it was to the environment by not including them and encouraging us to use an older charger and headphones. Of course they could have made an even bigger impact on the environment if they discouraged us from buying one of these new phones and encouraging us to keep using our old iPhone.
So if you need a new phone, all means go ahead and buy one of the iPhones. But if you value long battery life, wait for the reviews.