The unveiling of a new iPhone is always a significant event, considering Apple manufactures one in seven smartphones sold worldwide.
However, the launch of the iPhone 12 has been rather overtaken by global events.
Its development began long before a global pandemic and economic hardship swept the planet, and it’s arrived at a time of diminishing disposable incomes and mass job losses.
Even the live-streamed launch reflected these dispiriting socially-distanced times.
The iPhone 12 is a premium product in an age when other smartphone manufacturers are deliberately curtailing their handset specifications.
Google’s Pixel 5 represents a step back from the Pixel 4, yet it’s more affordable (and arguably superior) because of its slower processor and the lack of facial recognition software.
So how has Apple balanced the competing demands for bigger specs and a smaller RRP?
Is the price right?
Apple has historically led the smartphone sector in setting premium prices for its handsets.
The 12 range still includes models commanding four-figure price tags, though the flagship handset’s name suggests it’s not being considered as a primary product – the 12 Pro Max.
The Pro starts at £999, while the standard handset is available from £799. The ‘mini’ designation returns for a handset starting at £699.
The cheapest and most expensive models won’t be available until mid-November, whereas standard and Pro handsets are available to buy now.
Every model has an OLED screen with a bezel housing the selfie camera, and screen sizes range from 5.4 inches (mini) to 6.7 (Pro Max).
Currently available models have 6.1-inch screens, which is comparable with products from rival manufacturers.
Buyers will benefit from 5G connectivity, while iOS 14 and a coincidentally-named A14 processor are other across-the-board features.
Storage on standard models starts at a disappointing 64GB, with 128 and 256GB options. The Pro and Max can be obtained with 512GB of storage, though at a cost of £1,299 and £1,399.
Mini and standard models have two rear cameras including a wide-angle lens with a 120° field of view.
The Pro gains a third telephoto lens, while the Pro Max has a slightly better optical zoom and a superior wide-angle lens.
Something old, something new
There are no new technologies on the iPhone 12, which has undoubtedly helped to keep costs down on the standard and mini models, at least.
The introduction of LiDAR mirrors the depth sensors found on many Android handsets in recent years.
Ditto 5G, the use of materials like aluminium and glass, and IP68 water resistance.
While every model is equally well put together, there’s nothing here which is likely to tempt Android fans to switch sides.
Like other manufacturers, Apple has played it safe with the 12.
Representing an evolutionary improvement on the existing iPhone range rather than a revolution, brand loyalists will doubtlessly want to upgrade if they can afford to.