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Jason Snell and Michael Simon have collected all the rumours here
With Apple’s next iPhone(s) due in September, rumours about what we can expect have reached fever pitch. Here we look at what’s been said and analyse what seems feasible.
Dual-SIM iPhones on the way Reported on 31 July 2018
The fifth beta of iOS 12 went out to developers on 30 July and it only took one day for the tipsters at 9to5Mac to spot an intriguing bit of code that points to dual-SIM enabled hardware on the way. In the part of the system responsible for generating diagnostic
reports, there are references to ‘secondSimStatus’ and ‘second SimTray Status’ .Elsewhere, another component has an ‘isDualSimDevice’ reference.
Plausible? There have been rumours of dual-SIM iPhones in the works for years. In many countries where smartphone use is growing the fastest, it’s a lot cheaper to have one SIM with a pay-as-you-go talk plan and another data-only SIM. Some customers won’t consider a phone that doesn’t have that capability.
Perhaps having two modem vendors with different capabilities has made this challenging in the past, and the change is being enabled by the switch to a single modem vendor? Or maybe Apple has never wanted to give up the space for two SIM slots, but a move to eSIM would let them have a primary internal eSIM and a secondary SIM in a tray? Either way, this rumour looks pretty likely. It’s hard to think that this code references anything else.
What we don’t know is exactly which iPhone model(s) may get dual-SIM support. It could be for a future iPhone SE replacement, for example, or it may be available on higher-end iPhones but only in certain countries where dual SIMs are popular.
6.1in LCD iPhone may launch after the OLED models Reported on 25 July 2018
A recent report from Barron’s cites an analysis from Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty in expecting relatively weak September iPhone sales compared to most years. The reason? While the 5.8- and 6.5in high-end iPhones with OLED screens are expected to launch in September as usual, the 6.1in LCD model may suffer a small delay.
Huberty’s report says, “suspected issues with LED backlight leakage” are to blame for the hold up. Apple is trying to give the 6.1in LCD iPhone the same curvehugging, super-slim bezel design as the OLED models (only with a slightly thicker bezel). That creates big technical challenges with the location of the display controller and backlight leakage around the edges.
This is actually an improvement, according to Huberty. According to her report, suppliers originally expected a six-week delay on that model, forcing it to launch in November, perhaps even later than the iPhone X did in 2017.
Plausible? A small delay for one product in Apple’s line-up isn’t unheard of, and creating an iPhone X-like form factor with an LCD screen is a big challenge for a company as famously fussy about display quality as Apple. Still, when you start predicting iPhone release dates, anything can happen.
All three front glass panels leaked Reported on 17 July 2018
As we count the days to the new iPhone’s expected September unveiling, Twitter user Ben Geskin has seemingly spilled the beans for all to see. A new photo reportedly (see below) shows off the front panel for all three iPhones, letting you easily see the size difference between the 5.8-, 6.1-, and 6.5in models. Of note, the rumoured LCD model has slightly thicker
bezels all around, but all three feature the same iPhone X-inspired design, with no home button and a camera notch at the top of the screen.
Plausible? We’ve been hearing for a while now that the 2018 iPhone will come in three sizes, and this leak certainly fits that narrative. It makes sense for Apple to go all-in on the design introduced with the iPhone X as quickly as possible as iOS shifts to a more gesturebased navigation without a home button. Previous rumours have pegged the 6.1in middle model as the cheapest of the lot, and if true, we expect it to sell as fast as Apple can make it, and maybe even faster.
New iPhone to come in bold new colours
With just a few weeks to go until the new iPhones are unveiled, Ming-Chi Kuo is providing some new details on the upcoming models. While confirming the pricing of a £700 LCD low-end model and a £999 6.5in flagship, he also spills some details on the different versions that will release.
For one, the 6.5in iPhone will be available in gold (a colour that’s available on the iPhone 8 but not the X). But it’s the 6.1in model that’s most interesting: According to Kuo, it will come in five colours: grey, white, blue, red, and orange. The current iPhone 8 comes in just three colours: space grey, silver, and gold, so this would represent quite a change.
Plausible? Sure, why not? Apple introduced the ‘unapologetically plastic’ iPhone 5c five years ago in green, blue, yellow, pink, and white to boost sales and
visibility of the handset, so it wouldn’t be a complete departure to do the same thing this year. Apple will likely position the 6.1in iPhone similarly to the 5c as both a new model and a cheaper alternative to the high-end handsets, so a bunch of colours would help distinguish the lines.
USB-C Power adaptor photos leaked Reported on 2 July 2 2018
The Chinese site Chongdiantou has what it claims are early images from someone in Apple’s supply chain of
the USB-C power adaptor that is said to ship with this year’s iPhones. This was first reported on back in May, and these leaked images (see above) appear to lend credibility to that initial report.
Plausible? The design of this engineering prototype does match the previous CAD drawings and, more generally, Apple’s style. These things could easily be faked or a case of mistaken identity, but we think this will probably come to pass. Apple’s iPhones have continued to ship with an unsatisfying 5-watt USB-A power adaptor, when it’s phones are easily capable of charging much faster. It’s long past the time for Apple to replace its power adaptor and provide the average user with the much faster charging performance the iPhone is capable of.
iPhone X Plus to cost less than iPhone X Reported on 4 June 2018
Ming-Chi Kuo, who often makes remarkably accurate predictions based on his supply-chain contacts for analyst firm KGI Securities, made this prediction back in the spring. He had recently left KGI Securities, but landed at rival firm TF International Securities. This was his first report at that company.
Kuo believes that the largest model, the 6.5in OLED ‘iPhone X Plus’ (if you will), will cost between £900 and £1,000. The 5.8in OLED model, similar in size and shape to the current iPhone X, will fall into the £800 to £900 price range. That’s considerably cheaper than the iPhone X, but potentially more expensive than the iPhone 8 Plus, which starts at £799. The LCD-based 6.1in model would cost £600 to £700.
What’s more, Kuo says that he expects Apple to announce all three new phone models at an event in September, with all three shipping to customers later that month. This contradicts other rumours that claimed the LCD-based model might not ship until November.
Plausible? These prices make sense. The iPhone 8 starts at £699, the 8 Plus at £799, and the X quite a bit more at £999. We could easily see Apple bringing the price of its most expensive model down to £949 or even £899 (higher than the most expensive iPhone in every year but this one), with the other two new handsets roughly comparing to the prices of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. Those phones, then, would still be available but with the price reduced by £100 to £150. The iPhone X would
probably no longer be sold – without dropping the price by £300 or more, there would be no point, when customers could get a superior phone for less.
2018 iPhones to come with 18W USB-C adaptor in box Reported on 16 May 2018
In early May, we reported on a rumour posted the Chinese social network Weibo that claimed Apple is changing its included-in-box power adaptors from a puny 5-watt USB-A adaptor to a speedy 18W USB-C adaptor (the iPhone connection side will still be a
Lightning plug, don’t worry). Now Chargerlab claims it has the same information from an independent source, and has CAD drawings of the charger with a European plug. It dovetails nicely with the previous leak – the charger has the same new rounded oval shape, save for the part that plugs into the European wall sockets.
Plausible? It has been pretty embarrassing for the iPhone, an expensive premium phone, to ship with an ancient and slow 5-watt power adaptor all this time. Cheaper Android phones have had faster chargers in the box for a long time. Most modern iPhones charge faster with the 12W iPad adaptor, and the iPhone 8 and iPhone X explicitly support USB-C fast charging, though the only way to utilize it using Apple’s official gear is to buy a 30W USB-C adaptor (£49 from
fave.co/2OXGWRC and a grossly overpriced USB-C Lightning cable (£19 from fave.co/2vxRWwU).
It’s long past time for Apple to pack in a much faster power adaptor, and since most customers just use what
comes in the box, it means the average iPhone buyer is going to notice a vast improvement in charging speed.
iPhone SE 2 will be released in September, multiple models under consideration Reported on 14 May 2018
The Japanese Mac Otakara blog, having previously reported that the new iPhone SE model was due in May, is now stating that Apple is considering among several possible models and has not yet entered production, pushing the release back to the September time frame.
The blog states that the company is considering versions with the same general physical dimensions as the current iPhone SE, and even at least one with a large 6in display. The blog’s source is a glass maker who says there are three glass designs under consideration, and all of them share a common quality: no home button and a cutout for the TrueDepth camera sensor.
Plausible? Well, May is well and truly gone. There are now rumours stating that the new SE will have a ‘notch’ and no Touch ID button, though it’s hard to tell if that’s just the typical rumour echo chamber or multiple points of independent confirmation.
We have mixed feelings about the idea of a 6in SE. Surely, a less expensive iPhone of that size would cut into sales of higher-priced iPhones, right? And one of the big selling points for the SE, at least in the US and Europe, is among those who want a ‘new’ iPhone that is much smaller than even the non-plus models. On the other hand, big screen phones are the hot thing in a lot
of Asian markets. A more affordable big-screen iPhone might do exceptionally well in places like China, which will help boost Apple’s market share in the region.
Apple hasn’t always been deeply concerned with market share, but as services become an increasingly large part of the company’s business, having a bigger reach starts to matter more.
It’s also possible that this supplier is merely conflating the iPhone SE successor and the 6.1in LCD-based phone already rumoured to launch alongside the iPhone X successor, which would carry a much higher price tag than the iPhone SE.
Another report on iPhone specs Reported on 26 February 2018
Mark Gurman and Debby Wu’s report for Bloomberg offers more details on the specs of the new iPhones that could be coming this autumn. It says the largest iPhone, code-named D33, will be the same size as the 8 Plus, but the edge-to-edge screen makes the display size an inch larger than the Plus’s. The OLED screen will have a resolution of 2,688x1,242 pixels. You’ll probably be able to use split-screen mode on some apps, like you can on the 8 Plus.
The 6.5in iPhone will have Face ID, though Bloomberg did not specifically say if there will be a notch like that on the iPhone X. As we’ve stated Apple is considering dual-SIM card support in some regions where the feature is popular (Europe and Asia), but it would rather use E-SIM, which allows users to switch service providers without charging a physical SIM card.
The second new iPhone would essentially be an update of the current 5.8in iPhone X. Both of the new handsets would have Apple’s A12 processor and iOS 12. The tech giant may offer a gold finish for both the 6.5and 5.8in iPhones, though Apple wanted to produce a gold iPhone X and ran into production problems.
The third new model, according to Bloomberg, will be a new lower-priced phone, but will feature an edgeto-edge LCD screen and Face ID. The edges will be aluminium, not the stainless steel that will be on the other two iPhones. The back will be glass to allow for wireless charging.
Plausible? There are a lot of similarities between the Bloomberg report and Ming-Chi Kuo’s prediction earlier in the year. Kuo also said that Apple will release a 6.5in iPhone and a new 5.8in model at the higher price range, with an LCD-based iPhone in the lower price range. Knowing what we do about iPhone sales, it’s not surprising that Apple is hoping to boost sales by making an affordable iPhone with many of the bells and whistles of the high-end version. Now that there are two similar reports by people who tend to have a good track record on Apple’s plans, it looks like we’ll see three new iPhones this autumn.
Two high-end iPhones and a new low-end model Reported on 23 January 2018
The ever-popular iPhone tipster Ming-Chi Kuo from TF International Securities, who predicts iPhone details based primarily on watching the supply and manufacturing chain, has issued a report with new details on what he believes will be some of the major differences between iPhone models this year.
As previously reported, the new iPhones this year will, Kuo believes, consist of two models similar to the iPhone X – one at the same 5.8 inch size and one larger model. Size differences aside (and perhaps display resolution), these phones will be identical.
Then, instead of continuing to sell this year’s iPhone X at a reduced price as Apple typically does, the company will instead produce a new LCD-based iPhone with many of the same design cues, including a taller
aspect ratio and very slim bezels. We should point out that the image above shows bezels all around the display on the LCD model that may be too small to achieve with an LCD screen.
Now, Kuo has predictions on what else will be different about that 6.1in model (which he expects to sell for £700 to £800, slightly higher than his original £650 to £750 estimate).
In addition to the LCD screen with a lower resolution, the 6.1in model will have a single camera instead of a dual camera setup, 3GB of RAM instead of 4GB, and an aluminium frame instead of a steel one. Note that this is just the frame, not the body, which may still be primarily glass in order to enable wireless charging. Kuo believes the phone will also forego 3D touch. As far as
construction goes, it should be simpler than the iPhone X (or it’s replacements), by virtue of using a regular non-stacked logic board and rectangular, rather than L-shaped, battery.
Plausible? Most of these rumours seem reasonable as cost-saving measures, though they are a little disappointing. Apple’s current line-up features the iPhone 7 Plus in the £669 to £769 price point and larger size of this new iPhone, at it has the dualcamera setup. Depending on what other new things Apple brings to the table in this device, buying the year-old (by then) iPhone 8 Plus might be a better value. Losing 3D touch would be odd, too. The only phone in Apple’s current line-up that doesn’t have this technology is the £349 iPhone SE. It would be rather strange for the company to take a step back in a new phone at a high price point.
An Apple custom power management chip Reported on 30 November 2017
A report in Nikkei Asian Review claims that Apple is working on its own power management chips for iOS devices, which it will start integrating into iOS devices in 2018.
Current iOS devices use power management chips made by the UK company Dialog Semiconductor. These chips manage battery charging and the power supplied from the battery to the various components within the phone. Nikkei’s sources say Apple’s new chip will be the most advanced in the industry, and would allow the
tech giant to deliver better performance with longer battery life. There is some uncertainty as to the timing, however. One of Nikkei’s sources says it will show up in some products next year, while another thinks it might not appear until 2019.
Plausible? Apple is driving hard to produce as much of its own silicon as possible. For example, it recently started integrating its own graphics processors instead of one licensed from PowerVR. The power management chip plays a crucial role in mobile devices, and seems an obvious component for Apple to bring in-house as opposed to more general commodity components like RAM or flash storage.
Faster modems and better antennas Reportedon17November2017
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, always on top of the latest Apple supply chain gossip, says that we’ll see much improved cellular baseband chips in 2018’s iPhones. It will again source chips from both Intel and Qualcomm, but most phones (70- to 80 percent) will sport the Intel chip, specifically an Intel XMM 7560 modem. The Qualcomm modem is expected to be the Snapdragon X20.
Both modems support 4x4 MIMO (current iPhones support only 2x2 MIMO) and 5x carrier aggregation, and should work with the newly-deployed 600MHz carrier bands, provided that Apple does all the necessary work on antennas and software. This means a big jump in
maximum cellular performance, including gigabit LTE speeds and support for more frequencies in more areas.
Plausible? Apple is behind its biggest Android rivals when it comes to cellular connectivity. In the right locations, the best Android phones support newer LTE technologies and faster real-world download and upload speeds. Getting on par with Samsung and Google’s best in this area is something that needs to happen.
The iPhone X was Apple’s first to have an OLED screen
This leaked image supposedly shows the three sizes of the 2018 iPhones
The new 6.1in iPhone will reportedly bring bright colours to the handset for the first time since the 5c introduced green, blue, yellow pink and white
It’s rumoured that the iPhone X Plus will cost less than the iPhone X
This is supposedly the shape of the new iPhone power adaptor, with European Type C plug
Bloomberg reports that Apple’s next iPhone will be the same size as the 8 Plus
A chart from KGI showing major differences between iPhone models this year. Specific design elements are not necessarily represented
It’s thought that Apple could use its own chips in upcoming iOS devices
Its thought that the upcoming iPhones will come with better baseband chips for improved connectivity