So, what will it be called?
We’re talking about the iPhone models Apple will release in 2018. If it follows tradition, we will get an iPhone 8S, an iPhone 8S Plus, and possibly a new version of the iPhone X too. This may be called the iPhone X Plus. Even more confusingly, the 2018 iPhone models have also been linked with the names iPhone 9, and iPhone 11, due to the iPhone X’s introduction in late 2017. There is also the chance Apple will come up with an entirely new way of naming its iPhones.
No one seems to agree on the name, the amount of phones Apple will release, the size of the screens, or the specification for each one yet. That means there are a lot of rumors and they’re all intertwined, sometimes related, and almost always confusing. We’ve done our best to make sense of them, so here is our rundown of what to expect from the 2018 iPhone range.
The size of the screen is one of the main differentiating factors between iPhone models. Rumors suggest the 2018 models will come with a 6.5-inch screen, a 6.1-inch screen, and a 5.8-inch screen. To get an idea of how this will look, an image was posted on Twitter showing glass screens from the three models next to each other. It’s not certain whether this is a genuine image or not, but the leaker has a decent track record with Apple leaks, but even if it’s a concept it’s still an interesting visual reference point for the potential iPhone lineup this year.
At least two of the next iPhones will likely have OLED displays, according to The Investor. Despite being rumored to place an order with Samsung for 5.2-inch, 5.8-inch, and 6.5-inch displays, a subsequent report in September 2017 said Apple canceled the 5.2-inch display order, possibly due to low marketability.
Sources familiar with Apple’s 2018 plan claim there will be two OLED iPhone models and one with an LCD screen. The LCD phones will make up the majority of its sales The Wall Street Journal reports.
iPhone X 6.1 OLED pic.twitter.com/C9rYWNmShA
— Mr·white (@laobaiTD) May 24, 2018
It’s not certain if the 6.1-inch iPhone will have an LCD screen. Mobile leaker Mr. White posted images said to be of Apple’s 6.1-inch OLED screen production, rather than an LCD panel.
There are reportedly continuing battles over the cost of OLED panels, which gave the iPhone X its high price tag, and which company supplies Apple for 2018. The Bell, says Samsung will produce 75 million OLED screens for 2018 iPhone models, and may have negotiated a $10 price cut per panel. But Apple is apparently asking for price cuts — the company is said to have paid $110 per OLED panel for the iPhone X to Samsung and is expected to pay about $100 per panel this year. Samsung Display may have been preparing to produce new OLED iPhone screens in May, ET News reports.
Samsung might be Apple’s only choice as an OLED supplier, as The Wall Street Journal reports LG’s production of OLED screens fell behind schedule due to manufacturing issues — which has left it struggling to reach demand. According to an analyst, LG is expected to supply 20 percent of OLED displays for the 2018 iPhones, leaving Samsung to supply the other 80 percent.
For the LCD panel, The Wall Street Journal reports Apple may use Japan Display for a 6.1-inch model. If it selects Japan Display’s Full Active LCD display, the phones may show darker blacks than a traditional LCD display, and used with wet hands. A report from KGI Securities and Nikkei supports that information, stating that iPhone will produce a 6.1-inch budget iPhone with an LCD screen with a lower resolution and Face ID in 2018.
However, a report from KGI Securities notes the 6.1-inch phone may not include Apple’s 3D Touch. A report from the Chinese website Feng, states the reason Apple is dropping 3D Touch on the upcoming 6.1-inch iPhone is to balance costs. The 6.1-inch iPhone may a lighter and more durable display compared to the other iPhones rumored to be announced this year, due to a new display technology called Glass Cover Sensor (GCS) which moves the touch module from the display to the surface glass via “a thin film sensor.”
Almost every iteration of the iPhone has seen some internal improvements that make it faster, stronger, and better than the iPhones that came before, and we expect the 2018 phones to be no different in this regard.
The 2018 iPhones may boast one feature that no other device has before — full eSIM support, according to a report from Barrons. eSIMs are basically SIM cards that are built right into a phone, allowing you to switch between carriers whenever you want — without the need to go to a store and pick up a physical SIM card. That’s perfect for when you’re traveling to a new country, or even simply to a spot with bad coverage. Apple already uses eSIMs in the Apple Watch and some iPad models, but implementing it into a phone takes things to a new level — and could make carriers a little nervous given how easy it would be for customers to switch to a new carrier.
Apple’s manufacturing partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing has begun manufacture of the next series of the chip we expect to see in this year’s iPhone. Likely named the A12, the new chip will apparently use a 7-nanometer design that will help make it smaller, faster, and more power efficient than the 10-nanometer chips currently in circulation in the latest series of the iPhone.
A benchmark test for an unreleased iPhone running iOS 12 showed the mystery device running 4GB of RAM, higher than is available in current iPhone models. This may join the new processor for additional performance, but benchmark results are easily faked and cannot be taken as absolute proof.
Apple removed the headphone jack from the iPhone a few years ago, but now it’s possible the next iPhone may not ship with a Lightning to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter. A new report from MacRumors, which cites Barclays, says that Apple may not include an adapter with the iPhone X Plus — so if you use wired headphones, you’ll have to buy them separately.
All this joins a whole raft of further speculation surrounding components and suppliers. The 2018 iPhone may come with dual-SIM capabilities in China, or with the Apple SIM — a non-removable SIM already used in the iPad Pro — alongside a regular SIM in other regions.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted 2018 iPhones will feature baseband chips from Intel, not Qualcomm. It’s also possible the next iPhone may offer 5G technology, Business Insider reports, based on Apple applying to the Federal Communications Commission for a new wireless technology called millimeter wave. This technology allows devices to access more bandwidth than is currently possible on existing cellular networks.
In 2017, we reported that Apple may be creating a special version of the Pencil for at least one model of this year’s iPhone. While the Pencil debuted with the iPad Pro in 2015, the company has yet to make a Pencil that is compatible with the iPhone.
AppleInsider reports that Apple has developed a relationship with LG Innotek to create flexible circuit boards for the next iPhone. These flexible circuit boards, already used in some devices like the Samsung Galaxy, would allow Apple to create an iPhone with a curved display.
What will they look like? In early June, two CAD drawings, one potentially showing the iPhone X Plus, were leaked by case manufacturer Ghostek and published by SlashLeaks. The iPhone X Plus is singled out by its dual cameras on the front and rear, while the other model has a single camera lens on the rear.
Right now it looks like Apple will release at least three new iPhones in 2018. First up, the 6.5-inch iPhone X Plus will be the largest new handset featuring an OLED screen and premium price tag. According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the phone will feature a similar design to the iPhone X and will be sold in three colors at launch: Black, white, and gold.
Next, it looks like Apple will release a 6.1-inch phone, possibly called the iPhone 8S, that will feature an aluminum body, LCD display, and Face ID. This phone will be the least expensive of the trio, according to Kuo, and will be available in gray, white, red, blue, and orange. However, we’re not at all certain about the color lineup just yet as another analyst predicted this model would be available in pastel shades including yellow, pink, and blue.
The final phone to round up the iPhone lineup for 2018 will be one with a 5.8-inch OLED display that looks similar to the current iPhone X.
Battery and wireless charging
One of the most annoying things about the 2017 lineup of iPhones was the lack of quick-charging adapters in the box. If you wanted to take advantage of quick charging on the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, or iPhone X, you needed to purchase a separate charging adapter, as well as a USB-C to Lightning cable. Well, it looks like Apple may have heard iPhone users’ collective groans.
A leaked photo appears to show a prototype for the 18W USB-C quick charger that will ship with this year’s crop of iPhones. An earlier story, first reported on MacRumors, seems to support this, stating the 2018 lineup of iPhones will ship with an 18W USB-C adapter, as well as a USB-C to Lightning cable. With an 18W USB-C power adapter, you could expect to see your phone charge from zero to 30 percent in about 30 minutes.
All three 2018 iPhone models will feature more powerful batteries, according to information from KGI Securities that was first reported on MacRumors. Both the 5.8- and 6.5-inch iPhones will take advantage of the new L-shaped battery design used in the iPhone X. Apple’s budget model, the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone, will likely have a rectangular battery in order to keep costs down. The report from KGI Securities says the 5.8-inch iPhone will likely have a 2,900-3,00mAh battery. In a separate report, KGI reports the 6.5-inch iPhone will feature a 3,30 to 3,400mAH battery, while the 5.8-inch iPhone will have a 2,800mAh battery.
The iPhone X was the first to feature an L-shaped battery. The new L-shaped battery allows Apple to make more efficient use of the limited space inside the chassis. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said this design also allows the battery to charge more quickly. A report earlier this year in Chosun Ilbo confirmed Apple had chosen LG Chem to supply the L-shaped batteries in 2018 iPhones. While Apple relies on a number of companies to supply batteries for the iPhone, LG Chem is the only company that makes L-shaped batteries.
Apple has also been rumored to be working with a company called Energous since 2015. Energous created a charging method that would allow you to charge your iPhone X Plus up to 15 feet away from one of its transmitters. While there were rumors that last year’s crop of iPhones would include Energous wireless charging, the company was unable to ship its transmitters in time.
Price, models, and release date
We have been used to two new major iPhone models each year, but the iPhone X in 2017 changed that. What has Apple planned for 2018, when will they arrive, and how much will they cost? There has been little talk of an iPhone 8S or iPhone 8S Plus; but according to a report from Bloomberg, Apple will launch a 6.5-inch iPhone, which may be the iPhone X Plus and its largest iPhone ever, along with a less expensive iPhone built using cheaper materials.
AppleInsider reported the budget iPhone will have an LCD screen and be priced at $650-$750. KGI Securities says it will cost between $700 and $800. This may, or may not, be the iPhone SE 2. Another KGI Securities report says Apple wants to “reduce costs and selling prices” before the release of the next iPhone.
A tweet by a reporter from Business Insider, quoting RBC Capital analyst Amit Daryanani, predicts the 6.1-inch LCD model will start at $700 and the 5.8-inch OLED model could start at $899 — leaving the iPhone X Plus to start at $999. Daryanani believes Apple will lower the starting price of the next-generation iPhone X by $100 in order to strengthen and boost sales of the device. That way, the company can then push the iPhone X Plus into the $999 price range instead.
RBC forecasts 2018 iPhone prices pic.twitter.com/Mc2eqFPNH3
— kif leswing (@kifleswing) March 26, 2018
No major rumors regarding the main rear cameras, or the front cameras, have spread yet. It’s possible the 6.1-inch iPhone model will have a single camera lens, like the current iPhone 8, according to KGI Securities.
While Apple’s TrueDepth technology will almost certainly continue to be used on the front cameras for Face ID and other features, a rumor early on stated the next iPhone will not add the tech to the iPhone’s rear cameras, despite previous speculation from KGI Securities that the next iPhones would feature the TrueDepth 3D rear cameras.
Updated on July 17: Added image showing glass screen panels of all different iPhone models for 2018.