In the face of all the gloom, there was at least some sense of ‘normality’ last week after Apple kept to its promise and finally revealed its new iPhone 12 series to the world. The launch may have been a month late but still worth the wait and with some surprising albeit unexpected innovations announced.

It also coincided with the release of Deloitte Ireland’s Digital Consumer Trends 2020 report which shows just how powerful smartphones are in our lives, with a third of us now checking our phones a staggering 58 times a day on average.

Deloitte also reveal that the majority of us are now using our mobile phones more than ever before and for an increasing number of uses, including banking and working from home.

Given that more than 90 percent of us now own a smartphone, it’s definitely worth checking out what’s the latest with Apple.

For a start, all four new phones will be Apple’s first to work with 5G networks which means you can enjoy all the new and old functions faster and with more reliability depending on where you are. Most networks now have 5G available but the coverage really does vary and often by postcode.

Apple promises that 5G will bring a new level of performance for downloads and uploads, higher quality video streaming and more responsive gaming.

The new suite of phones also vary in size. There’s a smaller “Mini” with a 5.4 inch screen which dwarfs its previously smallest SE version and a larger “Pro Max” device which with a 6.7 inch screen which is significantly larger than the late “Plus” model. The standard “Pro” model screen moves up in size from 5.8 inches to 6.1 inches.

As expected, camera performance has been improved again and all devices have got thinner once more, this time by a tenth.

Most interestingly, and perhaps the most surprising, is that Apple’s new phones won’t be coming with either a charger or headphones. Not because they don’t require them, it’s because Apple have left them out to help them do their bit for the environment…

So will the latest Apple series change your life? Probably not. But if you’re a serial upgrader, you will probably enjoy greater speeds, better pictures and video along with that nice ‘new’ feeling.

The 5G-ready element is noteworthy. However, we all might have to wait a bit longer before we can get that full 5G experience. It’s happening, just not so quickly because of issues around planning.

Belfast was one of the first cities in the UK and Ireland last year to get 5G through the EE network, but until the roll-out moves forward with more gusto among all the operators, 4G will continue to dominate, and for most people will continue to serve them well.

Before this latest Apple launch, around 16 percent of UK consumers said they were planning to upgrade to a 5G smartphone in the next year and the mobile networks will now be hoping that this iPhone will spur thousands more people to make the leap. In the meantime, what Apple’s latest innovations will do is to encourage more people to upgrade from what they have. For example, the iPhone 11 range should become more attractively priced for many.

The iPhone 12 range starts at £699 for the Mini and goes up to £1,099 for the Pro models, though the latter now includes 128 GB of storage. Apple also launched a new £99 version of its smart speaker – the HomePod Mini – which supports a wide range of voice commands though the trumpet sounds around this one were not so loud.