Purple iPhone 12 hands-on: Wait for the iPhone 13, or buy a new phone now?

The iPhone 12 got a fresh new purple at Apple’s Spring Loaded event.


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Apple released a new color for the iPhone 12 and 12 Mini, and it’s purple. It goes on sale Friday, but I got my hands on an iPhone 12 with 256GB of storage in purple. And I can indeed confirm, it’s purple. But the timing of the new color is six months after Apple launched the iPhone 12 series and about six months away from the rumored iPhone 13. So should you buy one or wait? I promise to explain.

Purple is the sixth color for the iPhone 12 and 12 Mini, which come in black, white, blue, green, Product Red and now purple. There were six colors in Apple’s rainbow logo, which the company used from the late ’70s through the ’90s, and which also had purple in it. The new purple color isn’t available on the iPhone 12 Pro or 12 Pro Max, which makes sense because the Pro models usually stick to graphite, silver and gold finishes.

Read more: Best eco-friendly iPhone 12 and 12 Pro cases


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Hands-on with the purple iPhone 12



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The purple iPhone 12 and 12 Mini go on sale April 23 and will be available on April 30. Prices start at $829 (£799, AU$1,350) for the iPhone 12 or $799 if you activate it on a carrier when you buy it. The purple iPhone 12 Mini starts at $729 (£699, AU$1,199) or $699 with a carrier discount.

Unboxing the iPhone 12 in purple is, no surprise, exactly the same as unboxing any other iPhone 12 or 12 Mini. It has the same thinner box design that Apple rolled out in October as a way to reduce its impact on the environment. The box has the purple phone on it with the word iPhone and the Apple logo in purple. 

It comes with the same accessories as other iPhone 12 models: a single Lightning-to-USB-C cable. Apple doesn’t include wired headphones or a wall charger in the box any more.

My first reaction to seeing the phone in-person? Yeah, that’s purple. In the promotion video at the event, the purple color looked like a deep rich shade, like Prince purple. Or Joker from Batman purple. But this is actually a pretty light purple. Almost like an Easter purple.

Last year, there was the iPhone 11 in purple, but that was more of a light lavender color. The purple on the iPhone 12 looks richer, but gives off the same positive vibes.

The flat aluminum edges on the iPhone 12 are also purple and match the back. It definitely looks striking in-person. But even though the color is new, everything else about the phone is the same. It has the same support for 5G. The OLED screen is covered with Apple’s ceramic shield. The body has an IP68 rating for dust- and water-resistance. It supports MagSafe wireless charging and accessories. It has the same A14 Bionic processor, runs on iOS 14 software and even has the same cameras.

And that brings me to the question: Should you buy it? We’re at that weird halfway point in the typical iPhone refresh cycle. And it’s smart for Apple to release a new color to help spur interest in the iPhone 12.

iPhone 12 purple

Patrick Holland/CNET

In most cases, if you’re due for an upgrade and are looking to get an iPhone, it would be silly to wait. Get the iPhone 12 and rest comfortably knowing that Apple supports its phones four or even five years after they’re released with OS and security updates.

If you know you’ll want the latest and the newest and you can wait six months, you probably already know your decision. And if you love all things purple, what are you waiting for? But let’s be real for a moment. No matter which phone you get or which color it is, most people will likely take this purple beauty and put it in a case.


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