New iPhone 12 Gets Better Screen and LiDAR From iPad

3 min read

In their yearly tradition, Apple has announced the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro during their fall release schedule. This new iPhone is yet another iteration of the widely popular smart phone and is very similar to the iPhone 11 from last year but with better cameras, an improved display, and faster 5G cellular data among other features.

Both new iPhones are launching with 5G capability. 5G improves on LTE cellular data with wider bandwidth, lower latency, and improved network security. Apple says it has designed the iPhone 12 lineup to achieve ideal network performance. A “smart data mode” uses LTE when your current activity doesn’t demand 5G speeds to balance performance and optimized battery life. Apple also promises a smooth launch after testing 5G performance with 100 carriers in 30 countries. This will help pilots download charts faster and more reliably when away from Wi-Fi.

Pilots may appreciate the new A14 bionic processor which is touted as the world’s fastest CPU and GPU in a smart phone. The CPU and GPU work closely with a neural engine to improve not only performance but increased efficiency to help extend battery life, all while drawing a navigation map faster and more precisely than previous versions of iPhone. Apple says that both the new six-core CPU and the four-core GPU are the fastest ever; the company claims this delivers performance up to 50 percent faster than any other phone.

The iPhone 12 has ditched the cumbersome LED display found on the iPhone 11 in favor of OLED technology, which has enabled Apple to keep the same 6.7″ screen size but shrink the device volume by 15%. The iPhone 12 Pro has also received an improved display which reduces the edge width, thus increasing screen size without increasing the form factor. The expansive 6.7″ iPhone 12 Pro Max has the largest display ever in an iPhone. This may be appealing to pilots who’d rather not double up with both an iPad and iPhone in the cockpit and strictly use their phone. Both iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro get the ceramic shield treatment, exponentially increasing the strength of the display glass.

The iPhone 12 Pro now gets a LiDAR scanner adopted from the iPad Pro that detects the world around you and creates a live depth map of the scene. This can be used for image and room scanning, photo depth of field and effects, and precise placement of objects in augmented reality. We pondered the possibilities of this feature when it came to iPad and expect even larger adaptation now that LiDAR is available in the iPhone.

In an unusual twist, Apple has also announced a smaller version of the iPhone 12, the iPhone 12 mini. The mini has all the same features as the standard iPhone 12 but in a reduced form factor. The mini is smaller and lighter than previous 4.7″ models like the iPhone 8 but has a larger 5.4″ display.

A small but somewhat useful feature is Apple’s improvement on wireless charging. Using the MagSafe marketing term from their line of laptops, the iPhone 12 now includes a magnetic ring to ensure correct alignment with compatible wireless chargers. Additionally, improved electronic shielding in the wireless charging receiver increases power capability up to 15 watts for faster charging. MagSafe will also support a new line of accessories designed to attach via the magnets.

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro will be on pre-order October 16 and will be available for purchase on October 23. The price will stay the same. The iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 mini will go on order November 6 and will begin shipping on November 13.

4 replies
  1. JD McKee
    JD McKee says:

    As a pilot, I was extremely interested in new Apple 5G phones until I read tech sheet advising phone tested / certified working up to 10,000 feet altitude; I called to inquire if phone would work above 10,000 feet and what happens to internal barometer and components. Placed on hold, service rep checked with engineering; some phones have gone to 14,000 feet due to variance of components; all have made 10,000 feet and all aircraft are pressurized to approximately 8,500 feet. I explained not so; a Cessna T182T regularly flies above 10,000 feet, up to 20,000 feet; also other GA aircraft can fl to 25,000 feet or more and are not pressurized. Was informed Apple Care should be purchased but not certain how many times phone would be fixed if at all. If you fly high, beware phone only certified to 10,000 feet; repairs can be costly.

  2. Tom Nasser
    Tom Nasser says:

    If you fly high, beware phone only certified to 10,000 feet; repairs can be costly.


  3. Alan Meyer
    Alan Meyer says:

    Have other iPhone’s had internal barometers? If not then the barometer could be damaged with the lower pressure. I would guess that they should be able to handle it as it is generally too high of pressure that are more damaging than low pressures so is it device accuracy or fragility they are certified for.

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