New iPhone models
Judging by the latest rumours, it’s going to be all change in the display department
The latest rumors suggest a future display change.
Apple does not disclose its future plans, but other sources suggest that new iPhone models are imminent. A regulatory filing with the Eurasian Economic Commission, required for companies wanting to market products in Russia that incorporate encryption, lists 11 new iPhone model numbers. Filings with the Commission have been a reliable indicator of new Apple products, lifting the curtain on AirPods, iPhone 7, new MacBook models, and the latest iPad, which was launched a month or so after being listed. On this record, it seems likely that the new iPhone models might be announced at WWDC in early June.
However, Apple’s usual update cycle sees new iPhones released in the fall, so instead, commentators anticipate an update to the iPhone SE, which has not had a substantial revision since it was introduced in March 2016. Speculation is that the new SE model’s specs will be in line with those of the iPhone 7, including Rumors suggest that the updated iPhone SE will reach American consumers in the fall. the A10 Fusion chip, a significant step up from the A9 in the current SE. Nobody knows whether a new SE would still have a 4-inch screen, popular with users who want a more compact device, or grow to 4.7-inch like the iPhone 7 and 8. It is also unclear why there may be 11 distinct models — reports speculate about a range of new colors, but that would not require separate model numbers.
It is possible that the filing covers a whole new range of iPhones, which observers expect around September. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a good track record of forecasting Apple products, predicts a completely new three-model line: • a second-generation version of the current flagship iPhone X, with the same 5.8-inch OLED display; • an “iPhone X Plus” with a larger 6.5-inch OLED display; • a new, more affordable 6.1-inch iPhone with an LCD display (so slightly larger than the 5.5-inch screen on the current iPhone 8 Plus).
All three are expected to have an edge-to-edge screen like the iPhone X, and Face ID — no more Home button or Touch ID sensor. It may also be that, instead of releasing a single “iPhone SE-2” model, Apple plans a wider range of models with a traditional Home button in addition to these three premium models.
The iPhone X is the only current model with an OLED screen. This component is made by Samsung, and reports say Apple does not want to rely on supplies from a company that happens to be its main competitor in the smartphone market, especially if Apple plans more models with OLED screens. Some claim Apple has been exploring other sources, notably LG, but the Wall Street Journal reports LG has encountered manufacturing problems and can’t deliver on time.
Down the line, Bloomberg reports, Apple will break the iPhone mold with a curved, gesture-controlled phone. The screen will be concave, gently curving inward from top to bottom (unlike Samsung’s current curved phones, which curve down at the edges). Apple would use OLED displays, which can be curved in ways that LCD cannot. Bloomberg says gesture controls would make it possible to move a finger close to the screen (without actually touching it) to perform some tasks, but it says the technology will not be ready for at least another couple of years.
In a break with tradition, Apple’s next iPhone could include an OLED concave screen.