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Reviewing Apple's new iPhone 12

Yahoo Finance’s Dan Howley joins Akiko Fujita to give his take on Apple's latest iPhone.

Video Transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, Apple's new iPhone 12 arrives in stores today. It is the first 5G launch for the tech giant. Dan Howley got his hands on the device ahead of time. He is here with his take on the device. Dan, there's been so much talk about whether, in fact, these phones will have full 5G speeds. But you say, forget about the 5G, it's all about the camera.

DAN HOWLEY: It is all about the cameras on these. And you know, when you look at the 5G aspect of it-- I can show you that right here, we have 5G running on this phone-- it really is just similar to what we get out of high-speed 4G LTE speeds, so talking better at 130 megabits per second download, 40 to 50 megabits per second upload-- very good, but not the mind-blowing speeds you would expect of 5G, at least the way it's been sold to us.

But outside of that, Apple did a lot to really redesign these phones to ensure that 5G wasn't the only selling point. I just want to look really quick at the designs. They're completely different than what you've seen in previous generations of iPhones. They're more similar to what you would've expected from the 5s, the 5S around there with the kind of squared off a little bit design.

These have new displays as well. They have narrow crystal ceramic. And basically, Apple says that they're four times sturdier, as far as the screens go. So if you drop them, they're less likely to break. I still would put a case on them, though.

But really, like you said, it is the cameras that are the biggest selling point here. That's because they added larger aperture lenses to the wide-angle lens on both phones. That means they can bring in more light in the photographs that you take. And so, so far, low-light photos I've taken look spectacular, regardless of how poor the lighting is.

I did one last night on my roof of my wife where it was basically nearly black, and she still came out the photo looking like it was almost daylight. So it does a great job with that, and that means that regular photos as well will look good. Because the more light it's able to take in, the better your images will look overall. So that's a big benefit here.

The other thing is last year on, the iPhone 11 Pro, that's where you got the low-light camera capabilities. But Apple has brought that to the iPhone 12 as well, not just the Pro model. So you don't have to sacrifice, as far as low-light photography goes, if you decide to go with the lower cost iPhone 12, which is $699 versus the $999 iPhone 12 Pro.

So I think when it comes to these devices, they're a very big upgrade. I would say, if you have an older phone-- say a XS, XR, 8-- then it's worth an upgrade. If you have an 11 Pro, then it's really not, just because those phones are still very good and they still have great cameras on them. If you have an 11 and you want the low-light capabilities of these phones, then maybe go for the 12. Overall, I've got to say, though, the 12 is a great value-- lightweight, it's not nearly as heavy as the previous 11. And to get that extra ability of the low-light photography, it's a huge benefit.

AKIKO FUJITA: I think you're convincing me to switch out of my iPhone 8, Dan, good selling point there. But we've heard a lot of analysts talk about how this is the phone that's going to restart the supercycle. I mean, the 5G was the headline out of the event. You're saying those 5G speeds aren't as advertised. Is the camera enough? Is that enough of the catalyst for another supercycle?

DAN HOWLEY: I think the 5G is still going to be a selling point for a lot of people. Unfortunately, the way it's been marketed hasn't been 100% what you will-- what you'll get when you get the phones, right? We've heard so much about how these speeds are going to be mind blowing and they're going to change everything.

Yes, that will happen, but this is still the infancy of 5G. And so the fact that we've heard those promises and now we're getting the first generation of 5G phones, really, they don't line up perfectly because those promises had to do with when 5G is fully built out down the line. Right now, like I said, you're going to get more long lines of high-end 4G, which is so good.

Look, I can stream, you know, 4k Netflix on that no problem. You don't need 4k on a smartphone, but why not, right? I can download my Spotify. I can do everything that I want really well already.

So it's not as though you're going to have to pay more for the 5G. I think fort these phones, for most people, it's a way to say, OK, I have a 5G phone now. I don't have to wait a couple of years. Pick up the iPhone, and then you're going to be set going forward as 5G rolls out.

If you're more comfortable waiting to get a new 5G device when that time comes, when those kind of carriers have them all built out, then there's nothing wrong with that. But I think 5G is still going to be a selling point on these devices. Just go in recognizing that it's not that crazy speed that you've been promised.