iPhone 12 price: Could Apple's next phone really cost less than iPhone 11?

With four iPhone models expected, prices may range from $699 to $1,099.

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Andrew Lanxon headshot
Andrew Lanxon Editor At Large, Lead Photographer, Europe
Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.
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Andrew Lanxon
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The iPhone 12 will be officially unveiled today, Oct. 13. Here's how to watch Apple's event live, where we expect to see not only the newest iPhone lineup, but perhaps the AirPods Studio and other Apple products we've been waiting for. If rumors are true and we see a new 6.7-inch screen size, A14 Bionic processor and 5G, prices could skyrocket -- yet some sources say that prices could actually drop. (Either way, right now is probably the worst time to buy a new iPhone.) Let's take a look at the most credible rumors to find out more.

Read more: What will iPhone 12 look like? All the design clues, from screen size to colors

Multiple iPhone models at different prices

One of the biggest rumors around the launch is that the phone will come in multiple sizes. There'll be the smallest, rumored to be the iPhone 12 Mini at 5.4 inches; possibly two base models at 6.1 inches (iPhone 12 and 12 Pro); and the largest iPhone 12 Pro Max at 6.7 inches. That allows Apple to offer a range of prices, offering variations on the specs depending on your budget. 

The iPhone Mini would be the cheapest model, with one analyst claiming that it could be available for as little as $649 with 64GB of storage, undercutting the current base 64GB iPhone 11 by $50. Offering a cheaper entry model would be a smart move, given that the global spread of COVID-19 has meant purse strings are tightening, and rivals like Google , OnePlus and Samsung are offering great phones at more affordable prices.

newer leak, however, prices the four models a bit differently, putting the iPhone 12 Mini at $699, the same as iPhone 11's starting price.

Angela Lang/CNET

The standard iPhone 12 is rumored to cost between $699 and $799, in line with the current $699 price of the base iPhone 11, while the 12 Pro would be likely to cost somewhere around the $999 mark. 

The biggest of the bunch, the iPhone 12 Pro Max with its rumored 6.7-inch display would likely cost in the same region of the current 64GB 11 Pro Max , $1,099, although an increase to $1,199 would not be out of the question. It's also worth noting that some rumors suggest the 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max will have a higher base storage of 128GB, rather than the 64GB on the 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, which may affect pricing. 

Read more: iPhone 12 wish list: 5 features I wish Apple would copy from Samsung

Apple is broadly expected to keep the same pricing structure as it already has, with the iPhone 12 Mini offering a cheaper entry point to the series. Although adding 5G connectivity (as is expected) will likely increase costs, the phones are rumored to sell without headphones or charging plugs in the box, potentially reducing the costs back down -- not to mention helping reduce plastic waste as many people already have drawers full of USB chargers and bundled headphones.