There's still more than enough space between the edge of the phone and the edge of the screen to allow a case to have a slightly overlapping lip. Cases that work this way are better because they give you a new bezel made of rubber above the screen to cushion a fall.
Now, maybe Apple wants to convince people that a case that doesn't actually protect the screen is a good case. It decidedly is not, but I wouldn't put it past them.
And perhaps it's better sooner than later to let the magnetic accessory market grow and become the new status quo.
The magnet seems nice for other applications beyond bezel though, like snapping to the center of a wireless charger, snapping to your car's holster, helping you realize just how much magnetic dust seems to layer everything, etc.
And I think Apple actually is much better at execution than coming up with new ideas. A lot of the things they do (iPad, face ID, notch, airpods, airdrop) are not new ideas, just executed better.
Also FYI: literally no one cares how your phone looks.
 I got lots of compliments with a blue-green Nextbit Robin, and some, and fewer but still many with a blue Nokia windows phone(well it was black, but in a blue cover), an orange Blu windows phone, and a blue-green Google(LG) Nexus 5x.
Apple’s announcement of the iPhone mini is a pretty clear indication that they believe there is still a market for smaller phones.
iOS is cryptic enit with all of its arcane gestures that only work within invisible boundaries.
The theory isn't very sound...
But the bezels don't look particularly narrow to me... Why would it be harder to make a case for the new iPhones that slightly wraps around the edges, compared to a 2017 Essential phone for instance?
Chinese companies have been doing that for years and they actually pass the savings to the consumer.
I wouldn't be surprised if the addition of 5G alone ate into those savings, and they kept the prices largely the same in spite of it. At least it seems that way to me, given the fact that many Android phone manufacturers have a considerably more expensive 5G version of their phones.
Apart from the Camera ( Arguably the two sense are even better ) Your $799 iPhone 12 is better than last years's iPhone 11 Pro costing $999.
To be clear I'm not saying you're wrong, I just don't share your certainty here.
More likely the case magnets are there to help magsafe work, not vice versa.
I think cases that depend on an adhesive to stick to the phone are rather unpalatable.
I wonder how hard it is for the iPhone to pop out of the magnetic case if you were to drop it just right.
I tried to go caseless back when I was 22 and thought anyone would care how pretty my phone was, but it was slippery and accumulated damage for no reason. My next phone, I kept a case on it and when I sold it after a few years, it looked good as new.
I suppose something that's going to live in a case has no real need to be so beautiful. But it's also a luxury consumer good, so "we cut some corners, so it's ugly, but it's in a case anyways amiright?" isn't really the best marketing message. Also, clear cases seem quite popular for those who do want to show it off.
But you have to put it in an ugly protective case or it'll be borked inside a year.
Perhaps I'm just clumsy :)
I am aware Apple have good glass, but the number of cracked iPhones I've seen inform me they aren't immune from this phenomenon.
Of course, as soon as I post this, I’m probably going to break it. But the caseless life does exist!
I think once the honeymoon gadget phase wears off, most people get over it and then prefer to protect it so that their expensive device lasts longer.
A case solved all this. And frankly I can't even recall seeing someone use their phone without a case, so it seems to be a prevailing issue.
I'm not sure what the alternative is that you seem to be pitching though, if you were.
Exactly, they're too fragile to use without some sort of case.
Which really makes the "look how thin and pretty the new device is!" something of a lie. And pointless, who cares if the phone is the thinnest ever, when it's going to live its life in a thick jacket?
I don't want to use a case. I want a phone I can buy for the way it looks and feels and use as-is.
You could argue that phones should just be uglier and thicker and more rugged such that they don't need a case, but I don't think it's very palatable for a $1000 handheld to be taking damage directly for most people when the ruggedness can be outsourced to a $20 case. Nor do I think a luxury consumer gadget can see much success by sacrificing on aesthetics.
Building the case into the phone is exactly what my girlfriend's $120 Android does, and it certainly looks like it cost no more than $120 with its rubber bumpers that already look like they've been used as pencil erasers.
If you're arguing that people shouldn't care so much about the shiny marketing, it's not clear how much people do care nor what the appropriate amount of care should be. A good looking product does help you spend $1000 though.
To make something that won't fall apart the moment someone looks at it wrong?
To expect if someone sells something on its aesthetics and how compact it is, that those factors won't then both have to be compromised by the aforementioned $20 case?
Clearly you have different expectations of a $1000 device than I do.
Apple gets really excited to say “thinnest iPhone ever” — but then we (or at least I) slap an Otterbox on it because I want the thing to last.
At the end of the day, it’s just for marketing purposes. No one wants to buy a Jitterbug phone. People want to buy sleek and sexy. And then they surround it in rubber bumpers.
It’s really pretty stupid all the way around. I don’t think Apple would sell as many phones if they shipped with a built-in bumper. Even to people like me who require that their pocket computers be protected...
That is effectively what "ruggedised" phones look like, I'll agree.