In a Wedbush Securities research note obtained by Business Insider, analysts say Apple could release a cheaper iPhone 12 with no 5G, only 4G, in early 2021. They originally believed Apple would release both 4G and 5G iPhone 12 models this year, but are now altering their predictions to say that all the 2020 iPhone 12 models will include 5G. The report also mentions that the iPhone 12 price is not likely to change from last year‘s iPhone 11 prices despite the addition of 5G.
One of the authors of the note, Dan Ives, says this new model would release around February. A February event isn’t unheard of for Apple, they held one in 2006 and released the iPod HiFi and a Mac Mini update. Previously Apple has released some products via press release during February, but never an iPhone.
March is a more typical time for Apple releases, so it’s possible that ”around February” could mean March—it also could possibly refer to January but Apple doesn’t usually have an event in January either. Apple does often hold March events though, most recently releasing Apple Arcade, Apple TV+, Apple News+, and Apple Card. Notably, the iPhone SE was released at an event in March 2016 and was one of Apple’s first budget phones.
Ives said that the cheaper price for this phone could be at around $800, which is on the cheaper end of iPhones. Since Apple typically releases phones in September and October, and released the 2016 iPhone SE in March it could make sense for Apple to release this cheaper phone in March as well.
Ives also noted that Apple likely will not raise the prices of the 5G iPhones this year. This is consistent with a previous Wedbush report, but raises some questions about this report. If the price of the iPhone 12 doesn’t change from the iPhone 11, as the report suggests, then it will cost $699 with 5G. What, then, would be the point of an iPhone 12 without 5G at $799? The report doesn’t give us complete information on the 4G device, so it’s possible it has more features than the iPhone 12 will, just without 5G which many may not need or want. It’s also possible that some of Ives comments on price were a little off and maybe the new phone without 5G will be cheaper or the normal iPhone 12 will cost more.
If the iPhone 12 lineup stays priced like the iPhone 11 lineup but gains 5G, as this suggest, the iPhone 12 could do really well. This would be very competitive pricing for Apple, especially in the new and growing market of 5G. Good prices could really be what pushes many people to buy this iPhone.
If reports like this and the rumors of 4 iPhone 12‘s are true then it appears as if Apple is very heavily expanding their lineup. Just 4 years ago in 2016, there were only 3 current phone models, iPhone 7, 7 Plus, and SE. This year and early next year we could potentially see 6 current phones from Apple: 4 iPhone 12’s, 2020 iPhone SE, and this phone without 5G. This could represent a shift in Apple’s part to giving customers a wider choice of iPhones and possibly trying to appeal to a wider range of customers.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time we have seen leaks of 5 phones instead of 4. Some of these previously have been talking about the 2020 iPhone SE, but others may have not been. A report in June of this year showed models of 5 phones that looked like the iPhone 12 leaks. There was a lot of skepticism towards this, but it could have possibly been talking about the same 4G device coming in 2021 as this.
This report of an iPhone 12 without 5G comes from sources the Asian supply chain, so it’s possible that some part of this is coming. It’s probably not too likely right now that we will see these devices ship unless we see more leaks or reports about this. But, this definitely shows Apple is trying to appeal to a wider set of consumers with more devices this year.