iPhone 12 could be more expensive than first thought, and 5G may be to blame

iPhone 11
The iPhone 11 (above) costs less than the iPhone 12 is rumored to (Image credit: Future)

The iPhone 12 range is guaranteed to be expensive, but a source had suggested that the starting price of the most basic 5G iPhone 12 model might just be $649. However, we’re now hearing that it could be quite a lot more than that.

According to analyst Jeff Pu, in a research note obtained by MacRumors, the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 will actually start at $749. We can predict that if that price is right, it would cost £779 / AU$1,279 in the UK and Australia respectively, as there’s a $749 version of the iPhone 11 that costs that much in those regions.

That price however would be $100 more than the previous rumor, and $50 more than the starting price of the iPhone 11. That’s despite the iPhone 12 being rumored to have a smaller screen and potentially no EarPods or charging plug in the box.

5G and OLED to blame

So why the higher price? Pu claims that it’s down to the rumored addition of 5G and an OLED screen, whereas the iPhone 11 is a 4G device and has an LCD screen. We have seen 5G push up the prices of other phones, so this is certainly possible, though we would of course take the claim with a pinch of salt for now, especially as it’s at odds with a previous leak.

While Pu only talks about the standard iPhone 12, the source of the $649 claim (who’s a reputable leaker) also said that the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Max would start at $749. So if Pu is right then the rumored price of the 12 Max is presumably wrong, with that phone potentially being $799 or $849 instead.

And there’s a chance that the more premium iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max would also be more expensive than we’d previously heard.

But Pu may not be right, and even if he is, there’s hope for those who want a cheaper iPhone. Aside from the fact that we’ve already seen Apple launch the relatively affordable iPhone SE (2020) this year, there has also been some talk of 4G models of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Max.

That’s notable because the prices above are specifically for the 5G ones, and an earlier rumor put the 4G versions at $549 and $649 for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Max respectively.

This too we’d take with a pinch of salt – especially as not many rumors have even mentioned 4G models yet, so we’re not certain they even exist. But there is at least hope that there will be a somewhat affordable iPhone 12 option. We should find out in September, as that’s when the range is likely to land.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.