Along with the iPhone 12 mini, the iPhone 12 Pro Max won’t be available to buy until November 13. While you wait, we’ve put together everything we know about the latest big screen iPhone so you can see it all in one place.
Apple has four iPhones this year: the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini are the lower-end flagships, missing out on a few features to keep the price down.
The iPhone 12 Pro and the larger iPhone 12 Pro Max, meanwhile, are the most advanced phones Apple has ever released – and you’ll pay for the privilege with a price bump over the cheaper models.
Cut to the chase
What is it? The next big screen iPhone
When is it out? November 13, 2020
How much will it cost? From $1,099 / £1,099 / AU$1,849
iPhone 12 Pro Max price and release date
After an October 13 announcement, Apple confirmed the iPhone 12 Pro Max wouldn’t be coming out in its usually spot where it often releases phones 10 days after launch.
Instead the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are available on October 23, and the company opted to release both the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max at a later date.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max release date is November 13, and you’ll be able to pre-order the phone on November 6.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max price starts at $1,099 / £1,099 / AU$1,849 for 128GB of storage, rising to $1,199 / £1,199 / AU$2,019 for 256GB, and $1,399 / £1,399 / AU$2,369 for 512GB.
iPhone 12 Pro Max design and display
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is larger than its predecessor with a 6.7-inch display, while the iPhone 11 Pro Max had a 6.5-inch screen. It has dimensions of 160.8mm x 78.1mm x 7.4mm and it weighs 226 grams – heavier than other flagships, but about usual for the iPhone Pro Max line.
Externally, the phone will look quite different to the previous generation. Apple has abandoned the curved sides for a flat edge, which originated with the iPhone 4 and was last seen in the original iPhone SE.
The third-generation iPad Pro (2018) was the first Apple device to bring back this look, and it’s sure to please fans of the older iPhones.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max comes in four color choices; Silver, Graphite, Gold, and the new Pacific Blue hue. These are more muted than the color options of the iPhone 12 series, and match the shades of the iPhone 12 Pro.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is IP68-rated for dust and water resistance, just like last year’s iPhones. However, it can supposedly survive being submerged up to 6 meters deep for up to 30 minutes – which is more than the iPhone 11 range or most other phones.
The Pro Max sports a triple rear camera array that’s largely similar to the setup on the iPhone 11 Pro Max, though it does get some granular improvements – the telephoto lens has been improved from 3x to 4x optical zoom, for instance (skip down to the cameras section for details).
Apple has also brought an old-favorite Mac feature around to the newest iPhones: MagSafe is a new system that lets you clamp magnetic accessories, like cases and wireless chargers, to the back of your phone.
This should help anyone who’s ever struggled to situate their iPhone on just the right spot on a charging pad, and during the event livestream, presenters clipped on magnetic chargers through cases. The official MagSafe chargers even charge at up to 15W wirelessly, which is neat – but even neater, the system works with cases and other accessories to securely clip them on.
Apple has improved the screen on the phone with a Super Retina XDR, its latest display tech, for the best color accuracy in an iPhone yet. Better still, the ‘Ceramic Shield’ front cover atop the screen has ‘nano-ceramic crystals’, which, Apple says, offer 4x better drop protection.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max’s 6.7-inch screen will offer 1200 nits of peak brightness, and more importantly one of the best resolutions we’ve seen on an iPhone. That’s a resolution of 2778 x 1284, and that’ll be 458 pixels per inch.
iPhone 12 Pro Max cameras
The iPhone 12 Pro Max keeps the basics of the last generation camera, although it has been improved slightly, and there are some differences between this and the iPhone 12 Pro.
Both phones’ 12MP main lenses have wider apertures, at f/1.6 aperture compared to f/1.8, with the iPhone 12 Pro seeing 27% better low-light performance, according to Apple. The Pro Max model, however, has a 47% larger sensor (with a 1.7μm pixel size), which Apple claims gives it a huge 87% improvement in low-light performance.
As previously mentioned, the 12MP telephoto lens on the iPhone 12 Pro has been boosted from 3x optical to 4x optical while retaining its predecessor’s 52mm-approximating lens. The iPhone 12 Pro Max’s 12MP telephoto, on the other hand, has been improved to simulate a 65mm lens, effectively providing a 5x optical zoom.
The two phones also have a 12MP f/2.4 ultra-wide snapper, making for a triple-lens camera in all.
But both the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max also have a new, fourth spot on their rear camera arrays: a LiDAR scanner, which is used to sense depth, even at night, improving autofocus by 6x in low light. But perhaps best of all, LiDAR (along with the A14 Bionic neural engine) enables Portrait-style depth photos while using Night Mode.
Both models are getting more versatile low-light photo options, as Night Mode is expanded to the ultra-wide and TrueDepth cameras. Time-lapses in Night Mode can be captured over longer durations, and the new Smart HDR 3 tech should enable better color and light compositing in images.
Both the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max can record HDR video and Dolby Vision up to 60fps. Dolby Vision video will be processed live and sustained during editing, says Apple, whether you’re editing casually in the Photos or iMovie apps or in Final Cut Pro X later in 2020. Users can share videos up to 4K Dolby Vision to other devices via AirPlay, too.
Excitingly for serious iPhone photographers: later this year Apple will update the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max to enable them to take photos in a new proprietary format, ProRAW. Per Apple, ProRAW “combines Apple’s multiframe image processing and computational photography with the versatility of a RAW format,” allowing users to tweak color, detail, and dynamic range natively on their iPhone or using other photo-editing apps.
The two phones also have a 12MP f/2.2 front camera in their notches.
iPhone 12 Pro Max performance and battery
The iPhone 12 Pro Max packs the A14 Bionic chipset, which Apple claims is the first 5nm chip on the market. It’s a 6-core chipset with 11.8 billion transistors (40% more than on the A13), and its 16-core neural engine that can apparently do 11 trillion calculations per second.
Apple claims the A14 Bionic is 50% faster than other chips on the market – presumably that includes the Snapdragon 865 Plus, which is the top-end Android offering.
And as expected, the phone will run iOS 14 out of the box, enabling widgets, picture-in-picture video, and general operating system improvements. As for battery life, Apple claims the iPhone 12 Pro Max will run for 20 hours.