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iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro on sale in China

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro went on sale Friday in China, but some consumers are unsure what the differences are between the two phones. Yahoo Finance’s Dan Howley joins The Final Round to break down the details.

Video Transcript

MYLES UDLAND: All right, welcome back to "The Final Round" here on Yahoo Finance. Myles Udland with you in New York. Well, a couple weeks ago, Apple announced the iPhone 12 is coming up. And today, you can go get one if you are in China. Not here in the US yet. Dan Howley joins us now for everything we need to know, Howley, about the new phone.

And I guess, in your view, it really comes down to the camera. And so I would ask a broad question, which is that, are cameras the only place where smartphones are going to get more interesting over the foreseeable future? We did the folding thing with you last year. That's like whatever, not really going to work. It seems like the camera is where all the action is at.

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, it really is. It seems to be the place where we can get the most benefit and bang for our buck for smartphones right now, is really, you know, the camera, somewhat battery, but not particularly, and screen. But screens are now, across the board, OLED, at least as far as Apple goes. And OLED, Organic Light Emitting Diodes, are much better than LCD. So it's hard to imagine how much higher we get in terms of quality there.

So the camera really is kind of the go-to. So I actually have the two phones here. This is the iPhone 12 right here and the iPhone 12 Pro. The Mini and the Max are still yet to be released. But you could see the difference in the designs from last year's models and the models from before that. They have a more angular look to them, kind of reminiscent of the iPhones 5 and 5S there. They're also a little bit lighter as far as the iPhone 12 goes.

But yeah, it really comes down to the cameras back there. You can see the two cameras here on the 12 and the three on the 12 Max. And really, what the benefits here are, is that they have improved low light capabilities. Now when Apple came out with the iPhone 11 Pro, those had low light capabilities, but the iPhone 11 didn't.

Now what they're doing is expanding that across the board. And they did that by increasing the size of the aperture on the wide angle lens. That's basically the lens that you always use when you fire up the camera, unless you zoom in or out. That means that it can allow in more light. It can take better low light photos. It can take better photos in general, actually.

So these are big improvements, I think, to Apple's iPhone. And I think it's something that people are really going to appreciate. Because when you think of a smartphone now, it's really, look, is it going to last as far as battery life? Does the screen look nice? And how good is the camera? And Apple is really knocking it out of the park in all three of those instances.

You know, the 5G aspect of this, yikes. It's not really what people had been sold so far, right? We've heard from all the carriers that 5G is going to be this incredible thing, the best thing since sliced bread. Probably better, but it's, right now, as far as nationwide 5G networks go, it's 4G. It's, you know, the same speeds that you would get on 4G. I actually have 5G on this iPhone right here. I don't know if you can tell. See the little 5G logo.

But I was using it. I was testing it. 5G got-- I got the same speeds as 4G in my apartment. Now there's that ultra wide broadband or millimeter wave 5G that's, you know, the gigabits per second. That's still really hard to come by. I mean, literal city blocks is what it comes down to. There's no overarching ultra wide broadband 5G availability. It's in these select cities in these literal city blocks. So you can't walk too far away from them without them working.

So I really think that Apple did the smart thing by kind of redoing the iPhone from the ground up, as well as including 5G, because I think if they really just went with an improvement with 5G, didn't do the camera upgrades, didn't do the design upgrades, didn't add those sweet new MagSafe wireless chargers, it wouldn't have gone over very well. But they managed to do all of that and include 5G. I'm a fan.

DAN ROBERTS: Howley, Dan Roberts here. You know, I know we're talking about iPhone, but Myles mentioned off the top the foldable phone. And I just wanted to ask you, while we have you. I'm starting to see some TV advertising, a lot of it, actually, for that Samsung Galaxy foldable phone. And I've still had the experience where, you know, you're watching TV with somebody who hadn't yet seen it-- it's not like us where we've been covering this and talking about how it was coming for over a year-- and say whoa.

And I'm sure the ads get a lot of that reaction. But then the question is, do people want that? And it does look so thick. I mean, you put it in your pocket. It's so thick. And so my question is whether you think Apple and iPhone care at all about this, whether it's looming as a competitor to them, or it's just kind of a gimmick. Will that thing sell well?

DAN HOWLEY: I don't think it's going to sell well specifically because of the pricing. It's well over $1,000 for even, you know, the base foldable phone. So I think Apple has looked at things along those lines. They have patents for them. They obviously recognize that it's something that's out there. But, you know, they can have patents for-- I don't know-- like rocket ships. They're not building everything that they have patents for.

I think what they really want to continue to do is refine the design of the iPhone. And I think right now, they recognize that people like the edge to edge screens. They like the better cameras. And, you know, they're not going to mess with that formula all that much. Now I think the big design change that we saw previously was going from the large borders around the screen to this new screen style here, the loss of the Home button.

I think one of the things that I actually was hoping to get out of this iPhone was not necessarily a fingerprint sensor in screen. I hate those, and I think they're pointless because it's hard to really figure out where your finger goes. And you can't do it in a snap. You have to look at your screen. They added a fingerprint sensor to the new iPad's Power button.

And if they had added it to this, it would have knocked it out of the park for me, specifically because we have to wear masks all the time. So Face ID not really conducive to wearing a mask. I think that if they had added that, it would have completely blown me away.

But this is still a great phone. I think if you have an iPhone 11 Pro or an iPhone 11, no need to upgrade. Keep rocking that thing. Not a big deal for you. If you do, however, have an iPhone 10S, a 10, 8, this is definitely going to provide a big enough improvement where you'll appreciate it, especially in those low light situations. That's really where the benefit is.

As I said, they've improved the screens, that four times improvement as far as durability if you drop it. So if you drop this sucker, Apple says it shouldn't break as often as the old ones will. But, you know, I'm still suggesting you get a case.

DAN ROBERTS: I drop mine all the time, Dan, and it's been OK. This thing flies out of my hand all the time, and it's been fine so far. It's the 11.

DAN HOWLEY: Four times safety on this one. I haven't dropped it yet.

MYLES UDLAND: I've literally never used a case on an iPhone, and I've never broken an iPhone. And Howley, I will say, at the top, I said there was no innovation in design, but you mentioned the 12 was like the 5. And the 5, as we all know, was the best iPhone. That was kind of the end point of iPhone design. They moved away from it for inexplicable reasons.

But I guess I should be more charitable towards Apple's designers to bring back those kind of clean edges. The more rectangular shape, I think, certainly is a success, though they need to flatten out the cameras, like they had on the old phones. The bump is just-- it's-- I don't know. It just doesn't really do it.