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Apple will hold a launch event on Tuesday, October 13, to announce this year’s iPhone lineup.

For most years, Apple released its iPhone in September and started selling it shortly afterward.

This year is different. Instead, Apple released new Apple Watches last month and postponed the iPhone announcement until October. 

The delay is the result of the Covid-19 pandemic, which interrupted electronic manufacturing production and forced most Apple employees to work from home.

Nevertheless, this year’s iPhone release is still critical. Since Apple launched the iPhone X with facial recognition in 2017, it is expected to have the first larger design. This year’s model will use an iPad-like edge, and its sides will be flatter than the softly curved sides of the current iPhone. But don’t be fooled by the subtlety, a small difference can go a long way.

Customers expect Apple to launch four different iPhones with different screen sizes and prices, a much wider range of devices than in the past.

Finally, at least some new iPhones will support 5G cellular networks, which promise faster download times.

This is what to look for on Tuesday.

Four iPhones, including a new iPhone Mini

Morgan Stanley analysts expect an iPhone lineup of 4 new devices, including:

  • iPhone 12 Mini, a new device with a 5.4-inch screen. 
  • iPhone 12, the standard edition with a 6.1-inch screen.
  • iPhone 12 Pro also with a 6.1-inch screen but with higher specifications.
  • 12 Pro Max phone, which would have the largest screen ever at 6.7 inches.

The phones are expected to be visually different from previous years’ models, giving users another reason to upgrade.

The slogan of Apple’s launch event is “Hi Speed,” and it refers to the faster cellular speeds that 5G cellphones promise.

Investors and analysts have expected for years that a 5G iPhone would represent a significant upgrade and spur a big selloff not only for phone makers like Apple but also for chipmakers like Qualcomm and carriers like Verizon and T-Mobile, who have bet heavily on 5G.

Sales will start later than usual.

Apple CFO Luca Maestri said that he expected iPhones to go on sale “a few weeks later” than the traditional September launch schedule.

Some models may go on sale shortly after the event. In contrast, others take longer to hit store shelves, likely due to the design and manufacturing challenges of tens of millions of devices during a global pandemic. 

In recent years, Apple has only held one or two fall launch events. But this year’s releases are different: They are prerecorded and take place virtually due to the pandemic. There is also an ongoing appetite for Apple launches from customers, fans, and media. Nearly 1.5 million people tuned in to a YouTube live stream last month to watch Apple executives announce new Apple watches.

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