Even though Apple’s iPhone X is still fresh in everyone’s minds, rumors are already beginning to swirl about the next iPhone. While we don’t know exactly what the next iPhone will be called, we’re assuming it’s not going to be called the iPhone 9. For now, we’re calling it the iPhone 11.
How many phones will there be?
Apple dipped its toes into edge-to-edge phones with the iPhone X, but reports indicate the company could seriously expand its lineup in 2018. In fact, rumors suggest that the company will launch three phones with an iPhone X-like design.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple will launch its largest iPhone ever, a new phone the same size as the current iPhone X and a less expensive iPhone with some features missing. The larger device will reportedly feature a 6.5-inch display, which is pretty huge. It will likely be positioned as the “plus-sized” iPhone, much like the iPhone 8 Plus is today.
Then there is the low-cost device, which will reportedly also feature an edge-to-edge display, as well as Face ID over a fingerprint sensor. So how will Apple cut costs? The company will reportedly use slightly cheaper materials, instead of limiting the features on the phone.
OLED display again
According to The Investor, at least two of the next iPhones will likely have OLED displays. In 2017, Apple placed an order with Samsung for 5.2-inch, 5.8-inch, and 6.5-inch displays. However, a subsequent report in September 2017 said Apple canceled the 5.2-inch display order, possibly due to low marketability.
In addition to the OLED order, The Wall Street Journal reports Apple made a panel order with Japan Display for a 6-inch-plus model. Japan Display makes Full Active LCD displays that are less expensive than OLED displays, yet offer many of the same features. The iPhones with Full Active LCD display will feature darker blacks than on a traditional LCD display and can be used with wet hands.
A report from KGI Securities supports that information, stating that iPhone will produce a 6.1-inch budget iPhone with an LCD screen in 2018. This iPhone will have a lower-resolution screen but will still have Face ID. Nikkei backs that rumor up with information from its source that Apple will be doing exactly that. While it may seem like a jump backwards at first glance, it’s likely Apple has some solid reasoning behind such a move. OLED displays are currently only able to be supplied in bulk by Samsung, whose Galaxy smartphone range is the iPhone’s biggest competitor, and going back to LCD for at least one model would ensure that Apple would be able to guarantee supply of at least one type of iPhone.
A fresh report from KGI Securities notes something else about the display of the 6.1-inch phone — that it won’t include Apple’s 3D Touch. That would be a pretty disappointing move from Apple, which has included 3D Touch as a staple feature on its iPhones for some time now.
Apple has previously seen OLED supply as a potential issue, and although LG has previously invested heavily to keep up production of its OLED screens, Nikkei claims that LG’s production cannot currently provide enough stock for Apple’s needs. Switching to LCD would allow Apple to control its supply more easily, and not have to rely on a single supplier for iPhone displays.
It looks like 2018 will finally be the year that Apple discontinues its 4.7-inch iPhone. Amid reports that it canceled an order for 5.2-inch displays due to low marketability potential, it seems unlikely that the company is going to release another 4.7-inch model.
Several reports also claim that Apple will release an update of the iPhone SE, called iPhone SE 2, in May or June. The low-cost iPhone is reported to have an improved processor and camera sensor. Here are the latest details we have on the iPhone SE 2.
Design and case
At least one of the iPhone 11 models will feature a metal case, according to a story in the Nikkei Asian Review. The 6.1-inch LCD iPhone will likely feature a metal case in several different colors, and a new report from KGI Securities mentions the frame of the 6.1-inch phone will be aluminum. Casetek, the company that currently manufactures iPad frames, could be the supplier for the cases.
We believe the both the 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch iPhones will feature a glass case that is reminiscent of the current iPhone X.
TrueDepth camera will make a return
According to a story on Mashable, the next iPhone will not feature TrueDepth 3D rear cameras. The story, based on a report from KGI Securities, says Apple will instead focus on launching new models with the front-facing TrueDepth cameras and stabilizing shipments. While KGI originally reported that the next iPhones would feature the TrueDepth 3D rear cameras, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Apple’s current cameras have about two-and-a-half-year lead over current Android phones.
KGI Securities also predicted that the 6.1-inch iPhone may do away with dual-lens cameras altogether, instead opting for a single-lens camera. It’s currently unclear if Apple intends to use machine learning to implement features like Portrait Mode, like Google did with the Google Pixel 2, or if it’ll just be a single-lens camera with single-lens features.
Battery and wireless charging
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 3,300-3,400mAH 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.
In 2017, Apple finally included wireless charging on its iPhones. This is a welcome addition that has been on many Android phones for the last several years. In 2018, Apple may be mixing things up a bit more, and while we assume that at least two models of the next iPhone will come with a glass back, a report from Nikkei claims the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone will include a more traditional iPhone 7-esque metal casing on the phone, which would lock out wireless charging. It would also sidestep some of those horrendously huge repair costs that result from accidents with glass backs.
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 11 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.
In November, KGI’s analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted 2018 iPhones will feature baseband chips from Intel (as the main supplier) and Qualcomm. They were supposedly pre-5G wireless chips, which would increase the iPhone from 2×2 MIMO — multiple-input multiple-output technology — to 4×4 MIMO.
According to the most recent report from 9to5Mac, Kuo claims Apple will use Intel as its exclusive supplier — excluding Qualcomm from 2018 iPhones completely. KGI says Intel is better-suited for Apple’s technical requirements and also offers more competitive prices. But Qualcomm might have the upper hand when it comes to 5G networking, which KGI claims Intel might not be quite ready for.
The next iPhone may offer 5G technology, dramatically increasing data speeds. Business Insider reports that Apple applied with the Federal Communications Commission to begin testing 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. If the next iPhone does include a Pencil, it will place the phone in direct competition with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8.
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.
Price and release date
Although the iPhone X is Apple’s most expensive phone, the company may be focused on bringing down costs in 2018. A report from KGI Securities says Apple wants to “reduce costs and selling prices” before the release of the next iPhone.
AppleInsider is reporting that a 6.1-inch budget model iPhone with an LCD screen will go on sale in 2018. This model will be priced at $650-$750, well below the iPhone X. KGI Securities says, however, that the 6.1-inch phone, which reportedly won’t have 3D Touch or a dual-lens camera, will cost between $700 and $800.
Updated on February 26: Apple will reportedly launch three iPhone X-like phones later this year.
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