Huge iPhone 12 changes inside & out leak in Apple 2020 roadmap report

Apple's 2020 iPhone line-up could include four new smartphones, a big 5G upgrade, and an infusion of iPad Pro styling and tech, a new report claims, ahead of the expected launch in September. The new 5G iPhones are also said to be accompanied by important accessories, one seeing Apple's entry into a new market and another updating an under-appreciated current product.

A fall iPhone event has become a mainstay on the tech calendar, but 2020 promises to be no ordinary year. Even before the current coronavirus pandemic, this year's iPhone launch looked set to offer one of the biggest technology improvements in the smartphone's history, with the addition of 5G network support.

That won't be the only new headline feature, however, with the recently-updated iPad Pro seemingly giving a preview of some of the changes we can expect for the iPhone in 2020. According to a report from Bloomberg, the revamped tablet will donate its aesthetic as well as its augmented reality camera system. That uses what Apple has branded a LIDAR Scanner alongside the regular camera.

A four-strong iPhone 2020 line-up

There could be as many as four iPhone models for the fall event, it's suggested, as Apple delivers successors both to the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, and two follow-ups to the iPhone 11. The new iPhone Pro models will borrow the iPad Pro design language, with flat edges, a frame made of stainless steel, and more sharply rounded corners.

Where the current iPhone 11 Pro has a display that curves around the edges of its cover-glass, the 2020 iPhone Pro is said to use flat glass instead. The iPhone 11 Pro Max successor could have a larger screen than the current-generation's 6.5-inches. Apple is said to have been working on reducing the contentious "notch" at the top of that panel, too, shrinking down the housing for the front-facing camera and DepthSense system used for Face ID.

On the back, we're expecting to see three cameras on the 2020 iPhone Pro and two on the Phone 11 successor. For the iPhone Pro, though, the iPad Pro's LIDAR Scanner will be included, too. That adds depth-sensing, which can be used to better integrate virtual objects within a real scene when viewed on the iPhone's display. It's widely believed to be a precursor to the eventual Apple Smart Glasses.

A 2020 HomePod and new Apple AirTags

It won't just be new phones to look forward to, the leaks suggest, with Apple also said to be working on an update to its HomePod smart speaker. Announced in mid-2017, though not actually hitting shelves until February the following year, the HomePod was meant to be Apple's retort to Amazon's Echo range and Google's Home.

Sales, though, are not believed to have been as strong as Apple might have hoped, even with the addition of stereo pair and multi-room support being added after launch. Part of that is down to price, though Apple did cut the original $349 tag down to $299 more recently.

For the 2020 HomePod, the expectation is that it will look much the same but be more attainable and more flexible. Roughly half the size of the original, it's suggested, it will keep the fabric-covered barrel aesthetic but be cheaper to buy. HomePod v2 will also feature a smarter Siri and broader compatibility with music services.

On the Apple AirTags front, meanwhile, the well-rumored tracking accessories are also expected to launch this year. Taking on Tile in the lucrative property-tracing category, they'll tap into Apple's existing experience in "Find My iPhone" which recently graduated to a new "Find My" service with broader coverage for different Apple products.

Described as "thin, small, puck-shaped tags" they'll apparently come with a leather sleeve and a keychain, with which they can be attached to other objects. There's the possibility that they could go on sale earlier than the September iPhone event, too, given signs of software support were spotted earlier in the month.

COVID-19 could delay availability

With its physical stores outside of China closed and the potential for unknown disruption to the supply chain, Apple is not immune from the impact of the current coronavirus pandemic. Exactly how that might change timescales is uncertain at this point, and could well remain in flux until closer to the September event.

Typically, Apple announces its new iPhone models and then puts them up for preorder shortly after. A week or so after that, they appear on store shelves and begin shipping. In 2020, though, that may not be the way it plays out.

Instead, "at least some" of Apple's 2020 iPhone models could be released "multiple weeks later than normal" sources have suggested. While that's still believed to put them within the fall window, it could stretch out the release and mean that would-be owners will need to have patience before they can get certain versions.