Apple’s iPhone 12 is here. Or, rather, the family of four handsets has arrived, complete with super-fast 5G connectivity across the range.
The devices, powered by the new A14 Bionic chip, will access Verizon’s Ultra Wideband network in the US to provide download speeds of up to four gigabits per second, and uploads of 200 megabits a second. This will supplement the firm’s more extensive standard 5G facilities in the US.
Comparable performance is promised on 5G networks in other locations, including the UK.
Apple has announced:
- iPhone 12: The device, available in five colours (black, white, red, green and blue), is thinner, smaller and lighter than iPhone 11, but with the same display size and better screen resolution. Camera performance has also been improved. Screens will be protected by a ‘ceramic shield’ to be four times tougher as well as clearer. It will be available for $799 in the US (UK price to be confirmed).
- iPhone 12 mini: This has the same features as the iPhone 12 but in a smaller unit – Apple calls it the smallest 5G enabled phone on the market. It will retail at $699 in the US.
- iPhone 12 Pro & iPhone Pro Max: These have larger displays with higher resolution and boast premium materials and high-quality finishes (in silver, graphite grey, gold and Pacific blue). The will also have better durability and resistance to dust, and feature advanced camera performance across both stills and video. The phones will cost from $999 and $1,099 respectively in the US, with prices higher for versions with greater memory.
The new A14 Bionic chip used across the range will also improve gaming performance, especially when connected to 5G. The most popular game on PC platforms, League of Legends, will feature on Apple devices later in the year to take advantage of the fastest speeds and remote access.
A range of MagSafe accessories and recharging options has also been introduced.
The iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro will be available for order from Friday (16 October) and will be shipped from 23 October. The iPhone Mini and iPhone Pro Max will be available for order from 6 November and will be shipped from 13 November.
Additionally, Apple has unveiled the HomePod Mini – a compact unit combining the firm’s voiced-triggered intelligent assistant with hi-fidelity audio reproduction.
It can integrate with a range of smart home apps to control devices and accessories such as heating, lighting and security.
HomePod Mini will also integrate with the latest iPhones, iPads and Apple watches, as well as Apple’s in-car navigation system. If you have multiple HomePod Mini devices (available in white and space grey) around your home, they will sync automatically.
The device will retail at $99, be available for order from 6 November and be shipped from 16 November.
Apple has also pledged to lower its environmental footprint, improving the use of recycled materials and reducing waste.
So if you’re itching to get your hands on one of these devices, what’s the cheapest way to pay for it? We take a look…
How much can you expect to pay for the iPhone 12?
The starting price revealed in the US for the new iPhone 12 Mini is $699 (around £540), while the cost of the standard iPhone 12 could start from $799 (around £535).
The iPhone Pro has a starting price of $999 (£770), while the iPhone Pro Max will be priced from $1,099 (around £845). Models with higher storage capacity will be more expensive.
We’ve given the sterling equivalent of dollar prices, but be aware that prices in the UK are often higher than the US ticket. In fact, you might end up paying the same number of £££ as you would $$$.
Could a credit card and SIM-only deal save you money?
One of the most popular ways to pay for a new iPhone is through a ‘pay monthly’ contract, whereby the cost of the handset, plus a set amount of data, texts and minutes are all wrapped up in one package for a fixed monthly price.
Yet while a pay monthly deal can make the cost more manageable, buying an iPhone outright can actually work out cheaper in the long-run – providing it is done in the right way.
To do this, you’ll need to use a 0% purchase credit card which allows you to spread the cost of your payments over a period of up to 20 months. So long as you clear your balance before the 0% deal ends and interest kicks in, you won’t have to pay any interest or additional charges.
This means if, for example, you bought a phone costing £500, you’d only need to pay off £25 a month to have cleared your balance within the 20-month 0% window (£500 divided by 20).
Once you’ve bought your handset you can then take advantage of a SIM-only deal which will give you a monthly allowance of calls, texts and data for a fixed price. Many of these plans are competitively priced and also operate on a 30-day rolling basis, allowing you to easily cancel or change your plan if yours isn’t working out.
Giffgaff, for example, offers 6GB of data and unlimited minutes and texts for just £10 a month, so using the example above, this would take your overall monthly spend to £35. If you don’t need as much data as this (and many of us don’t in the current climate), you can get even cheaper SIM-only deals.
Be aware, however that while paying for your handset with a 0% purchase credit card and using a SIM-only deal is often likely to work out cheaper than a pay monthly contract, this won’t always be the case, so it pays to compare your options carefully.
Get the right protection
Once you’ve decided on the best way to pay for your new iPhone, it’s important to think about insuring it against loss or damage. There are several different ways to do this, as outlined below:
When you buy an Apple product, you’ll automatically receive coverage from the Apple Limited Warranty. For iPhones, this provides cover for a year and telephone technical support for 90 days from the date of purchase.
Should you want to extend this cover, AppleCare + is an optional insurance product that provides iPhone cover for up to two years from the date of purchase, including up to two incidents of accidental damage protection every 12 months. This is subject to an excess fee of £25 for screen damage or £79 for any other damage.
AppleCare + will cover your device, battery, earphones and other accessories, and you can also benefit from the ‘Express Replacement Service’ which will send out a replacement phone before you return your existing handset.
Taking out this type of cover can be expensive, but if your iPhone is particularly pricey, it may be an option worth considering.
Home contents insurance
Alternatively, many home contents insurance policies automatically cover mobile phones as standard but be warned that policies are often limited in terms of cover levels.
For example, if your phone is stolen during a break-in, your contents insurance should cover you. But if you drop your phone and the screen cracks, you’ll usually only be covered if your insurance policy includes accidental damage cover.
As the name suggests, accidental damage cover pays out for any damage caused by accidents around the home – such as spilling water on your phone. If your policy doesn’t include it as standard you can pay to add it on.
Similarly, your iPhone won’t be covered when you take it outside the home, unless your contents insurance policy includes personal possessions cover.
Also note that should you need to make a claim on your home insurance you will have to pay an excess and your premiums may also increase the following year as a result. This means that even if protecting your phone through your home insurance seems relatively cheap, it can quickly become an expensive option.
If you’ve spent several hundred pounds on your new iPhone, you may feel this is a price worth paying, but make sure you’ve researched your options fully before deciding.
Check your current account
Some so-called ‘packaged’ current accounts – those that offer added benefits in return for a monthly fee – come with mobile phone insurance included, so it’s worth checking whether yours does too.
If you are covered, be sure to check the terms and conditions carefully so that you know exactly what you’re covered for. Cover may only stretch up to a certain amount, for example, or there may be a limit to the number of claims you can make each year.
If your current account doesn’t offer mobile phone insurance, don’t assume you should automatically switch to a current account that does as they don’t always represent good value for money, and you may be better off taking out a separate policy (see below).
Gadget insurance providers such as Protect Your Bubble, Gadget Cover and CoverCloud all offer standalone insurance policies for mobile phones and other gadgets. Because this type of insurance is exclusively for gadgets, it is often more comprehensive and typically includes cover for:
- liquid damage
- mechanical breakdowns
- accidental damage such as cracked screen
- unauthorised calls (if your iPhone is stolen).
You’ll usually find that cover is worldwide too, so your handset will be protected if you’re abroad, and there will often be no limit to the number of claims you can make in a year – although some providers limit claims for loss and theft.
In terms of costs, insuring an iPhone 11 64GB with CoverCloud, for example, would cost £5.63 a month with its Standard package or £6.57 per month with its Elite package (including cover for loss, theft and unauthorised calls). Paying annually rather than monthly will work out even cheaper.
Before deciding whether a standalone insurance policy is right for you, however, there are a few points to be aware of:
- if you make a claim, you will have to pay an excess – often this will be somewhere between £50 and £150 and the higher the excess, the less you’ll pay for your monthly premiums
- gadgets usually need to have been purchased as new in the UK from a manufacturer, network provider or high street or online store
- you may not be able to claim straightaway – some insurers stipulate that you can only claim two weeks after first taking out your policy
- some providers will only cover gadgets if they are less than six months to a year old
- you may get a discount if you insure more than one gadget with the same provider
- you will be expected to take ‘reasonable precautions’ to keep your gadget safe from theft, loss or damage
An alternative is to simply put the money would have spent on mobile phone insurance in a savings account so that you have those funds to fall back on should you need to pay for repairs to your phone or get a replacement. Just be sure to put the funds in an account that offers easy access and, hopefully, a bit of interest.