Get the coffee on standby, preorders for Apple’s final two iPhone 12 models kick off Saturday at 12 a.m. AEDT. Even though the iPhones on sale are the extremes of Apple’s iPhone 12 lineup — the as-chonky-as-it-is-expensive iPhone 12 Pro Max and the svelte iPhone 12 Mini — I expect at least one of them to sell well enough that putting off a preorder might lead to annoying shipping delays.
Apple appears to already have had some issues filling demand for the iPhone 12 Pro, and preorders for both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro began October 16, or little more than half a month ago. While availability for the regular iPhone 12 is pretty solid (I could get one delivered to me tomorrow, if I wanted), an iPhone 12 Pro order will currently force you to wait around three to four weeks before Apple can send one your way.
Should you preorder an iPhone 12 Mini or iPhone 12 Pro Max Friday? I think it depends on which model you’re going for.
Don’t stress about preordering an iPhone 12 Mini
You’ll probably be OK if you don’t want to wake up at the crack of dawn to secure a tiny iPhone 12 Mini. Enjoy your morning, as I think the iPhone 12 Mini will still be available without extreme delays throughout the day. And if I’m wrong, I don’t think you’ll have to wait very long — no more than week or two — to get an iPhone 12 Mini whenever you decide to order one.
While everyone loves to talk about how much they enjoyed the iPhone SE’s form factor, I suspect that most people who were going to make a big upgrade to an iPhone 12 went ahead and picked up the normal-sized version of the phone. The iPhone 12 only costs $150 more than the smaller iPhone 12 Mini, it came out earlier, it offers a great balance between physical size and screen size, and it has the exact same features you’ll find in the iPhone 12 Mini. You’re not gaining or missing anything, save for the obviously larger device.
The other hitch with Apple’s launch of the iPhone 12 Mini is that most people who obsessed over tiny phones like the original iPhone SE probably already upgraded earlier this year to the second-generation iPhone SE. Remember that? April 2020 feels like a lifetime ago, but that’s when Apple launched this souped-up successor to the original iPhone SE. I think it was a foolish move on Apple’s part if the company knew it was cooking up an even better tiny iPhone that would drop half a year later, but I don’t know the margins on these things. That, or perhaps Apple thought there were actually enough people who would be willing to go from an ancient phone, to the second-gen iPhone SE, to the iPhone 12 Mini.
Anyway, I think these are the factors that give the iPhone 12 Mini a more niche appeal at this point. It’ll still sell decently, I think, but I wouldn’t be super-concerned about Apple running out of stock on this one. And it’s a lot easier to manufacture, it seems, than the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
You should probably wake up early for an iPhone 12 Pro Max
I’ve already talked about the delays for the iPhone 12 Pro, and it doesn’t give me great confidence to read stories that Apple is allegedly cannibalising its iPads, of all things, to manufacture more of its flagship “Pro” iPhones. While the iPhone 12 Pro Max is a unit, and honestly more phone than most people are probably going to be comfortable dealing with, there’s also a subset of Apple fans that have been holding out for it no matter what. Even though these people will probably find it annoying to stuff the iPhone 12 Pro Max in their jeans’ pockets — if it fits — the iPhone 12 Pro Max is, without a doubt, Apple’s top iPhone.
This puts us in a curious scenario for preorders. I think it will sell enough to create some delays, just like the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s launch last year. These won’t be as big as the delays for the regular-sized iPhone 12 Pro, since there won’t be as much of an audience willing to invest in a gigantic phone that costs $1,699 to start. However, if you want an iPhone 12 Pro Max, I’d bite the bullet and wake up early to put your preorder in.
That also goes for those of you who are undecided about that form factor. As we’ve said previously, don’t forget that you get two full weeks to try out your new iPhone and return it to Apple for a full refund if you’re dissatisfied. Take care not to drop your new iPhone, obviously, but it’s better to have an iPhone on hand and change your mind than to decide, weeks later, that you actually want a new iPhone 12 Pro Max. You might then have to wait to get one, like how I’m waiting weeks for an iPhone 12 Pro right now.
Don’t forget the basic strategies for iPhone preorders
Though there probably won’t be a massive land-grab for iPhones at launch, the same general preorder rules apply. Get your payment and shipping information set up with your Apple ID right now, and make sure you use Touch ID or Face ID to confirm your purchases instead of wasting time typing in a your Apple ID’s password. If you’re not having luck on the Apple Store, remember that your mobile carrier sells iPhones, too, and you might have better luck there (via its website or app).
Also configure the iPhone you want right now, add it to your favourites, and you’ll be able to quickly purchase that exact setup tomorrow — rather than having to tap or click through all the options again.
And, of course, if you’re already enrolled in the iPhone Upgrade Program, make sure you’ve pulled up the Apple Store app on your device and walked through all the pre-approvals you’ll need. This is not the kind of thing you’ll want to deal with early in the morning tomorrow, and it’ll only delay you from getting the brand-new iPhones you seek.