Compare and Recycle

iPhone 12 Drops the Charging Adaptor, Gains 5G

The pre-recorded, heavily polished presentation made no secret of the empty Steve Jobs Theatre with a presentation that celebrated their new line-up as one of the largest step forwards for Apple in recent memory, with the unveiling of four brand new devices.

  • iPhone 12 mini (5.4-inch) - 64GB (£699), 128GB (£749), 256GB (£849)
  • iPhone 12 (6.1-inch) - 64GB ($799), 128GB ($799), 256GB ($899)
  • iPhone 12 Pro (6.1-inch) - 128GB (£999), 256GB (£1099), 512GB (£1299)
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max (6.7-inch) - 128GB (£1099), 256GB (£1199), 512GB (£1399)

Latest Tech

With a brand new processor, better camera lenses, a stronger glass front and a new improved charging system, the iPhone 12 range made a great leap into the 5G market, one that was previously left to Samsung and a handful of other flagship phones. With a notable comment that they will only use 5G when necessary, there are concerns that have been raised on the impact that this will have on the battery.

A dual 12MP camera system and a new ultrawide lens alongside some software improvements makes it seem as though the photos will be an improvement, especially with Night Mode now available on the front facing camera.

New Environmental Standards

Apple are now using recycled rare earth metals for all of the magnets inside the device and not only for the taptic engine, which includes the speakers, the camera and the new MagSafe system, all created by using recycled material.

Smaller packaging results in saving a million metric tons of carbon, and removing 450,000 cars off the road per year, which is certainly an improvement from Apple. However, to not include a charging brick and to change the non-lightning end of the charger to USB-C calls into question a move in the name of environmental sustainability.

A common response to this change has been incredulity at the prospect of not being able to get the accessories that we have been so accustomed to getting with our new handsets. For as long as there have been mobile phones on sale, we have bought them with the essential accessories in the box. So for what reason could Apple possibly justify this move?

The answer to this question is that shipping phones with a cable is no longer a necessity. If you live in a household where the people you live with are Apple users, chances are you will already have Apple cables to spare. The fact is that there is an abundance of cables from all the iPhones globally that have been produced, which adds up to a gargantuan amount of e-waste. According to Steven Yang, who is the CEO of Anker, he estimates that around four billion chargers were shipped with their corresponding phones, tablets, etc; adding up to roughly 300,000 tonnes of e-waste just from chargers.

From our perspective, it is encouraging to see Apple making an effort to decrease their e-waste, which is adding up to staggering amounts each year. Getting rid of chargers could be a bold move from Apple towards a circular economy.

Backing 5G over 120hz

This will be a first for Apple, but not for some of the other smartphone manufacturers (including main competitors like Samsung) who have already pushed their technology forward to 5G.

The screen may not be 120Hz, but the iPhone 12 has a significantly better screen with HDR 10 certified OLED. This is a huge step up from the 720p LCD screen on the iPhone 11 to a 6.1 inch 1080p OLED display, completely flat right up to the edges, with smaller bezels. If it lives up to the 4x drop resistance promise then that could prevent millions of screen replacements a year which again equals a lower cost to the environment.

When’s it available?

The 12 and the 12 Pro will be available on the 23rd of October, but if you want the smallest or largest device, you will have to wait until November.

iPhone 12 mini Pre-order from 1 pm on 6th November Available 13th of November iPhone 12 Pre-order from 1 pm on 16th of October Available 23rd of October iPhone 12 Pro Pre-order from 1 pm on 16th of October Available 23rd of October iPhone 12 Pro Max Pre-order from 1 pm on 6th November Available 13th of November

iOS 14

Apple unveiled iOS 14 in September which gave Apple fans a taste of what to expect upon the release of the iPhone 12 series. iOS 14 features a new App library with redesigned widgets, the ability to collapse an app you are using while using another one (a feature already available on many Android devices, but good to see Apple including this), updates to Maps, a more advanced Translate app, mini versions of apps called App Clips, digital car keys and improved privacy among other features.

Our Take

The gap between the standard and flagship devices has shrunk considerably, and now solely relies on its huge screen and improved camera set-up. For us, the iPhone 12 (and ini if you like bite-size and smaller pockets) has as many of the day-to-day features that the majority of people are going to enjoy regularly.

The environmental promises would have held up, citing the volume and production cost of including a charging brick and barely made relevant by the introduction of a completely new charging system (impressive as it is), and so help us if they remove the charging port completely for the iPhone 13. I can see it, can you?

Andrew Marchant

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