iPhone 12 could go bigger -- and smaller -- than before in 2020

The iPhone 2020 Max screen could get a sizable upgrade, while the regular iPhone screen might lose some headroom.

Vanessa Hand Orellana CNET Senior Editor
As head of wearables at CNET, Vanessa reviews and writes about the latest smartwatches and fitness trackers. She joined the team seven years ago as an on-camera reporter for CNET's Spanish-language site and then moved on to the English side to host and produce some of CNET's videos and YouTube series. When she's not testing out smartwatches or dropping phones, you can catch her on a hike or trail run with her family.
Vanessa Hand Orellana
4 min read
Angela Lang/CNET

Apple could change up the screen sizes for the 2020 iPhones  12, add fresh design changes to the body and also a key superpower under the hood. In this week's Apple Core roundup, we're looking far into the future to see what Apple could be cooking up for 2020, and talking about the new features we're still uncovering in the latest developer's betas of iOS , iPadOS and WatchOS .

The iPhone 2020 may see some big design changes

2020 is shaping up to be an exciting year for the iPhone with big changes expected to come to both the exterior and interior of Apple's flagship device.

Watch this: Big changes coming to the 2020 iPhone

This week, longtime Apple analyst Ming Chi Kuo (via MacRumors), said that Apple would both enlarge and reduce the screen sizes on various 2020 iPhones. The 2020 version of the iPhone XS -- iPhone 12? -- would shrink from 5.8 to 5.4 inches, while the 2020 XS Max would grow from 6.5 to 6.7 inches. Apple would presumably maintain the 6.1-inch screen size version as the middle ground option, presumably the iPhone XR successor. These numbers coincide with those cited in a similar report published in Taipei-based newspaper Digitimes a few months back.  

Triple-camera bump aside, the 2019 iPhones aren't t rumored to bring any major design changes to the lineup, which makes the prospect of a complete redesign in 2020 even more appealing.

Along with the new screen size, Apple is rumored to be moving to an all OLED line-up for 2020. This would include the cheaper XR sequel (currently LCD) along with a few other design tweaks like a smaller notch, flat edges like what we saw in the 2018 iPad Pro and potentially new cover materials.

More importantly, 2020 is the year Apple is expected to make the jump to 5G, thanks to its recent settlement with Qualcomm following a lengthy legal dispute. According to Kuo's report though, 5G connectivity would be exclusive to the higher-end iPhone models. The 2020 version of the cheaper XR would have to wait to get Qualcomm's 5G chip.


Three camera array rumored to be coming to the iPhone in 2019.

Amy Kim & Viva Tung / CNET

iOS 13 developer's beta 2 reveals new details

With two developer's betas down and a public beta release coming soon, we're still uncovering more details about Apple's latest software updates: iOS 13, iPadOS, WatchOS 6 and MacOS Catalina.

This week Apple released the second developer's beta of iOS 13 and iPadOS and helped clear up some questions we had last week about the future of 3D Touch. The first developer's beta seemed to have replaced the 3D Touch functionality with a long press, which ignited speculation that perhaps Apple would be replacing 3D Touch with Haptic Touch in the next iPhone 11, similar to what it did in last year's XR.

But we can put that rumor to rest, at least tentatively. According to Apple Insider, 3D Touch seems to be back in its full functionality in the second beta, along with some new additions like a shorter haptic effect and a soft click noise when 3D Touch is activated.

The other interesting change about the second dev beta of iOS 13 is that it's available via an over-the-air update, directly on the phone. According to 9to5Mac, the beta is available to registered developers who've installed the configuration profile from Apple's developer's site, while the first version was only available via direct IPSW file download and a full iTunes restore.

The highlights in iOS 13 though remain the same across the betas of course: dark mode, video editing, map and reminder updates and better privacy features.

WatchOS 6 will make the Apple Watch even more independent 

Apple is working to make the Apple Watch more independent from the iPhone by giving it its own app store in WatchOS 6, and the second developer's beta provides yet another way to free it from the phone.

According to MacRumors, this beta makes it possible to get over-the-air software updates directly downloaded to the Apple Watch. Historically all software updates for the Apple watch had to be initiated and downloaded via an iPhone.

The update option will now appear under General in the Settings app on the Watch, the same steps you would follow when you download iOS updates on the iPhone.


Standalone App Store for the Apple Watch in WatchOS 6.

Screenshot by David Carnoy/CNET

The other exciting software change coming to the Apple Watch is that you'll soon be able to remove some of those pre-installed native apps. According to TechCrunch this excludes certain apps like Heart-rate and Messages, but applies to at least 10 other apps, including Apple's newest Cycle app, which may not prove as useful to male users.

Right now you can only delete third-party apps on the Apple Watch by long-pressing on the app from the app menu and tapping the X.

More Apple news this week: