While Apple has yet to officially announce the date of its fall iPhone event, that hasn’t stopped internet sleuths from trying to glean some advanced info, with the latest round of leaks suggesting that Apple may have some fancy new features planned for the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s display and cameras.
According to a source who sent screenshots and videos to Front Page Tech’s Jon Prosser, an early pre-production version or PVT model (production validation test) of the iPhone 12 Pro Max has been spotted with a number of sophisticated settings for LiDAR or laser-assisted auto-focus, an enhanced night mode for photos, bit depth video, and even support for a 120Hz refresh rate for the phone’s display.
Of course, these are just leaks, not official announcements, and it’s important to remember that as a PVT sample, this device is meant to test features that may or may not be included on final retail units. Prosser claims that, even now, Apple has not made a final call on the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s retail specs. Furthermore, it’s also unclear if these features will make it onto the smaller iPhone 12 Pro or even the standard iPhone 12, or if they’re reserved for Apple’s largest and most expensive iPhone 12 variant. On top of that, with Apple still trying to nail down finals specs and features, this would seem to confirm rumors that the iPhone 12's official release will come later than normal in October, or even November, depending on the model.
The inclusion of a toggle enabling a 120Hz refresh rate is of special note because recent rumors indicate that particular feature is up in the air. Prosser also noted that while this particular PVT unit did have support for a high refresh rate display, the same cannot be said for all iPhone 12 Pro Max PVT units, with Prosser’s source claiming that only half of Apple’s test phones have support for this feature.
Interestingly, the description for Apple’s Adaptive Refresh setting says that the device is able to “alter the refresh rate from 120Hz to 60Hz in accordance to the content displayed on-screen,” which sounds very similar to the new VRR screen featured in Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. This suggests that, similar to previous years, Samsung Display could be Apple’s main panel vendor, at least for the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
As for the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s cameras, there’s a long list of high-end special modes and features, including video options for recording at both 4K/120 fps and 4K/240 fps, and a toggle to enable bit depth video, which would allow users to capture an increased number of colors compared to standard settings.
When it comes to still photos, the new LiDAR CA mode would allow the iPhone 12 Pro Max to use lasers to deliver speedier and sharper auto-focus, while the Enhanced Night mode appears to be a step above the iPhone’s existing auto low-light setting that in some circumstances requires the iPhone to be mounted to something stationary like a tripod. This means Apple could be prepping to include something similar to the astrophotography mode Google introduced on the Pixel 4, or even a more general long exposure photo setting, which something I’ve been wanting to see more camera makers include on new phones. There are even additional toggles for some kind of Advanced Noise Reduction and extra zoom capabilities.
Once again, as with all leaks and rumors, it’s important not to take this latest round of leaked info as gospel. That said, with Prosser’s source able to provide both screenshots and video of an alleged iPhone 12 Pro Max featuring these settings, it seems like the display and camera capabilities of Apple’s next top-of-the-line iPhone could be even better than expected.