Apple is expected to launch its next iPhone in September, following months of rumours and speculation over the new specs and features the company may or may not choose to include.
If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that more than one iPhone is likely to make an appearance – a precedent set since 2013 with the launch of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C – alongside other non-iPhone products: potentially a new Apple Watch, MacBook Air and iPad Pro.
Here’s everything we know so far about what the new phones will be like, according to the experts.
When will the launch event take place?
Past wisdom tells us the most likely date is Wednesday 12 September. Apple has never previously held a keynote event on 11 September, and the prior week would be much earlier than past launches.
While there’s no knowing until the company sends out official invitations to media, 12 September seems the best bet. It will almost definitely be held in the Steve Jobs theatre on the company’s Cupertino campus, the site of last year’s iPhone X launch.
From the archive: September 2017 iPhone X launch event
This year could see the introduction of three new iPhones
Rumours have been circulating for a while around the launch of three new iPhones: a 5.8-inch flagship model, a larger 6.5-inch version (both with fancy OLED displays) and a less expensive 6.1-inch handset with an LCD screen.
The iPhone X sports Apple’s largest iPhone screen to date, clocking in at 5.8-inches. The new larger dimensions are likely to drive a spike in sales similar to the one Apple experienced in the wake of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus in 2014, after customers rushed to buy the new sizes.
New largest-ever 6.5-inch iPhone + standard 5.8-inch model
Code-named the D33, the new 6.5-inch model is likely to sport a high-quality OLED display which could appeal to business users seeking larger screens for working, a report from Bloomberg claimed in February. The upgrade to the current iPhone X will also sport a 5.8-inch edge-to-edge display, and is internally known as D32, the report claimed.
Both handsets are likely to feature Face ID, Apple’s facial scanning technology, may come in a new shade of gold and will run the next generation of software, iOS 12. Like the iPhone X, their bodies will be made from stainless steel and glass.
What will they be called?
According to analysts from Guggenheim Securities, the two premium handsets will stick with the X branding, and will be dubbed the iPhone X Plus and iPhone X2, or words to that effect.
The two OLED-screened phones are likely to come in black, white and gold, according to noted Apple analyst formerly at KGI Securities, now at TF International Securities.
What about a gold iPhone X?
Back in September 2017, Apple filed information about the forthcoming device with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which it illustrated with photographs of a gold iPhone X.
The FFC is required to keep filings confidential for six months, meaning the info was made public in April this year.
It is unknown whether Apple was planning to release a golden version back in November, when the iPhone X went on sale, and was forced to delay its release due to manufacturing difficulties, or decided against releasing it altogether. This time round, it seems pretty reasonable to expect Apple will add gold to the current black and white finishes.
What about the less expensive 6.1-inch device?
It’s uncertain whether the remaining phone is likely to continue Apple’s numeric naming convention. Given that the company released both the iPhone 8 and iPhone X (pronounced 10) last year, naming it the iPhone 9 could create an unfortunate ‘backwards step’ impression.
In that case, the 6.1-inch phone could be simple known as ‘iPhone (2018)’ or ‘new iPhone’, in a similar vein to how the company deals with new iPad releases, according to Guggenheim Securities analysts.
An image purported to be of the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone was uploaded to Slash Leaks in early August by user Mikelagore, though there is no way of verifying its authenticity.
The cheaper model, complete with an edge-to-edge display and Face ID, will follow in the footsteps of the iPhone 8 with an aluminium frame and glass back, Bloomberg reported, while Kuo believes it could come in five finishes – grey, blue, white, red and orange.
The 6.1-inch model would be larger than the current 5.8-inch iPhone X and would sport the same Face ID facial recognition technology, but would feature a single rear-facing camera instead of two, he added.
This newer device, according to Kuo, will have a lower-definition LCD display and will not feature 3D Touch. It’s likely to cost between $700 and $800 in the US, or around £500-£600 in the UK, making it a mid-range model, he added in January.
What’s this about three rear-facing lenses?
The highest-end iPhone X model, which is likely to be the 6.5-inch handset, will sport three rear-facing lenses, according to Economic Daily News. The triple lens set-up could prove useful for Apple’s augmented reality (AR) ambitions, as well as boosting its zoom and low-light-level photography capabilities.
And Apple Pencil support?
All that extra screen room could mean the larger iPhone X will support Apple Pencil, the stylus currently compatible with iPad Pro models, according to both a report from TrendForce and South Korea’s Economic Daily News.
It’s possible Apple is plotting a new, more slimline Pencil, given that the current model is best suited to larger iPads.
When will the new iPhones go on sale?
Apple’s iPhones typically go on sale around two weeks after their reveal, making the last week of September the most likely sales window.
However, Katy Huberty, analyst at Morgan Stanley, believes the entry-level LCD phone may not go on sale until October due to issues with backlight leakage.
“We currently see no delay in the ramp of Apple’s upcoming flagship 5.8-inch or 6.5-inch OLED iPhones. However suspected issues with LED backlight leakage have caused a one-month delay in mass production of the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone, although this is down from a six-week delay baked into the original production forecast, according to suppliers,” she said, according to Barron’s.
Apple Watch Series 4 – less bezel
A new generation of Apple Watches seems fairly likely, with the general consensus revolving around Apple slimming down the wide black bezel border which runs around the Watch’s sides.
iPad Pro 3 – Face ID?
The most persistent rumour surrounding the next iPad Pro is that Apple is planning to get rid of the circular home button and replace it with its own brand of facial recognition technology – Face ID.
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