About a week after Apple’s iPhone 12 announcement, devices have now started shipping, which also signals reviews dropping out. What’s missing here is the iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 12 Pro Max, both models not available until November. Both are potentially more interesting, but likely the base iPhone 12 will be the top seller out of the four, regardless. I don’t know if we’re missing half the story here or not, but for now it’s the base iPhone 12 vs the iPhone 12 Pro.
And the base iPhone 12 and the Pro series have been reviewed and compared pretty widely, and while the longer-term reviews tend to get further below the surface, there’s some early good and maybe one or two concerns.
Some outlets went for dual reviews together, possibly because of how similar they are.
The CNET iPhone 12 review spends much of the time actively comparing both. It’s one of the highest-rated phones of all time for the outlet, the iPhone 12 scoring 9.2/10 and the iPhone 12 Pro scoring 9.3/10, with the note, “it's best to think of the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro as "better" and "best" versions of the same phone.
Engadget follows the same path, but flips the score. The iPhone 12 gets a 91/100 with praise for the huge leap taken from the iPhone 11 and calling it the right choice for most people. With the higher price tag, the iPhone 12 Pro scores an 89/100, with the explanation: “compared to the iPhone 12, the new iPhone 12 Pro is a considerably tougher sell.”
Daring Fireball spent less time on scores and more ruminating about what it all means, but did offer this: “Camera system aside, the iPhone 12 is just as nice as the iPhone 12 Pro, and it costs $120 less for the same amount of storage.”
More specific reviews said similar things, but got into more depth about key features. By the way, all reviews love the new design unequivocally: flat sides, and flat screen are great. The rails are matte on the iPhone 12, glossy on the Pro models, and the matte is a little nicer it seems. But, people will put a case on their phones anyway. TechCrunch went further: “The 12 Pro is likely the most premium feeling piece of consumer electronics I’ve ever touched.”
And all reviews say the A14 Bionic chip is blisteringly fast, so there’s not much need to get into details there.
The other stuff that matters is well covered by The Verge:
More on the battery: It’s clear that if any iPhone 12 is connected to a 5G network, battery life does suffer, but it’s not just 5G that’s the stress.
⚖ It’s official: Justice Department files antitrust lawsuit against Google, focused on online search and search advertising (Android Authority).
🤔 It’s a major step, but what does it all mean for anyone? (Ars Technica).
🤑 One crazy stat: Half of Google search traffic in 2019 came from Apple products. And Google's payments to Apple to be the default search amount to 15-20% of Apple's total global profits (Bloomberg).
📔 Opinion: Anticlimactic. “The justice department's case against Microsoft in the 1990s was much stronger than the one it's concocted against the Mountain View tech giant.” (Wired)
💻 The OnePlus 9 series reportedly could also launch earlier than expected, just like the S30/S21 (Android Authority).
🔎 Windows 10's October update is rolling out with a refreshed Start menu (Engadget).
📉 Quibi’s in trouble. Latest: NBCUniversal and Facebook passed on buying Quibi’s content catalog, but hey, Quibi now has apps on Apple TV, Fire TV, and Android TV (The Information, hard paywall).
🏓 First look at Amazon’s Luna game streaming service, unsurprisingly it needs a solid internet connection (The Verge).
📺 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did a Twitch stream, and became the third most-watched stream ever, playing Among Us (Gizmodo).
🚗 Tesla’s Autopilot Full Self-Driving beta is now rolling out to a limited number of people (Car and Driver).
🌠 NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft successfully touched asteroid Bennu yesterday, and broadcast a nice simulation too! (asteroidmission.org)
☕ ELI5: “How come a cup of coffee doesn't seem to quench your thirst, even though it's mostly water?” (r/explainlikeimfive).
The Hummer is back! And what's weird is that instead of it being the quintessential giant gas guzzler, it’s back as a 350-mile range ‘electric supertruck’, with 1,000 HP, three electric motors, and ...it can drive diagonally with crab mode. Hummer is now a GMC brand under GM, too, making this the Hummer EV.
LeBron James narrates the announcement video, which is apt, because you may need a salary the size of LeBron’s on court earnings to afford one. Starting in fall 2021, the ‘Hummer EV Edition 1’ will go on sale for $112,595. There’ll be a cheaper range from 2022, including the ‘Hummer EV2’, available spring 2024, down to two motors and for a more-reasonable-still-a-lot $79,995.
Bonus: The secret of how the Venus flytrap “remembers” when it captures prey, made clear by genetically altering a Venus flytrap so that it glows green (Ars Technica).
Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor
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