No matter what brand of phone you choose to use yourself, the biggest spectacle in the smartphone world each year is undoubtedly the new iPhone releases. This year, that meant the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro (well, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max, but that’s not available yet). And, following on from that announcement is the obligatory teardown from iFixit.
In an hour and a half live stream, Taylor Dixon, iFixit’s Teardown Engineer, took apart both the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro to see how easy it is to dismantle and to take a look at the components inside – including the camera modules (the camera talk is around the 44-minute mark).
The cameras in the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro don’t seem really all that different from their predecessors. The main camera is the same resolution and has optical stabilisation, although there is a new, wider aperture lens bringing it from f/1.8 to f/1.6, which should help a little when shooting photos or video in lower light situations. And they do seem to create gorgeous footage, regardless.
There are a couple of differences in the camera modules between the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, though. Both phones feature 12-megapixel wide and ultra-wide cameras with f/1.6 and f/2.4 apertures respectively, but the iPhone 12 Pro also sports a third f/2.0 telephoto lens that the iPhone 12 does not. The iPhone 12 Pro also has a LiDAR sensor.
Other than that, though, the two phones appear largely the same on the inside – to the point where the iPhone 12 Pro camera module would theoretically fit inside the iPhone 12, and the missing components in the iPhone 12 are filled in with a plastic spacer where the telephoto lens and LiDAR sensor normally live.
iFixit suggests that some parts may even be interchangeable between the two devices, but I suppose more actual testing would be required. Just because something physically fits does not necessarily mean they’ll play nicely together.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max will likely be a different story when that becomes available. It features a new and 47% larger sensor than those found in the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. iFixit hasn’t managed to get their hands on one of those yet, but when they do, that should be an interesting teardown.