Is this the new iPhone Xi?

New renderings put a picture to the next generation of iPhone X, as analysts begin to think about the next big iThing.

Apple, iOS, iPhone, iPhone X, iPhone XI, iPHone Xi, iDropNews, smartphones, Apple,

Well, that didn’t last long — no sooner are we coming to terms with learning that millions of people are indeed prepared to spend over $1,000 on a new Apple smartphone than the rumor machine begins about what’s coming next to the world’s most advanced mobile device.

Meet the iPhone Xi

We think we know that around 20 percent of iPhones sold in the last quarter were iPhone X models, as that’s what Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) claims. We recently heard Apple may have sold 6 million units of the iPhone X over Thanksgiving alone. The device drove resurgence in China and the U.K.

[Also read: The iPhone X getting started guide]

We think the new iPhones dampened interest in Android phones across the last quarter even though the high-end device wasn’t available across the whole period.

Now we hear from ever-inventive KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who opened the week with his prediction that Apple will discontinue the iPhone X design completely at the next upgrade.

The analyst believes Apple will introduce new models with similar features at different sizes, with iPhone 8-style models to complete the range.

He does not think Apple will continue to offer iPhone X at a discount price, which is its typical pattern when launching new product.

Apple has done this before. iMore recalls in 2013 when Apple abandoned iPhone 5 in favor of iPhone 5S and iPhone 5c.

What can we expect from the next-generation iPhone?

iDrop News today published a convincing collection of iPhone Xi concept drawings to illustrate what we can expect from the next iteration of iPhone X.

Naturally, these drawings are based on scant rumor — after all, at time of writing, Apple hasn’t even told us how many of the new models it has sold in the first few weeks on sale — but they do collate some of the more popular expectations around the product, making them well worth a look.

Speculations include:

  • A smaller Notch
  • Thinner Bezels
  • Dual SIM trays (I can’t explain how much I want those).
  • 360-degree TrueDepth sensing
  • Enhanced LTE (a big step toward 5G)
  • A flush dual camera.

Walking the wild side

Some of the other speculations we’ve been hearing around this release include a decision to offer three sizes of the device: a 6.5-inch Plus, an entry-level LCD-based 6.1-inch model, and the existing size.

I’d like to introduce the notion that these devices may also see the introduction of on-display Touch ID (as security and convenience make multiple levels of security increasingly mandatory) and the potential for area-wide charging.

Above: Apple's claim to be "the greatest" isn't just marketing hyperbole — it has a real advantage here, and it knows it.

The latter would be based on a hybrid between the Qi standard Apple currently uses and technologies it brings across with help from Energous.

In line with its traditional approach, you can also anticipate faster application, graphics and mobile processors and increased use of proprietary components in these devices. It also seems easy enough to speculate that ARKit will be boosted with the introduction of the capacity to recognize walls as well as floors, for example.

As you can see, Apple is building an array of long-term strategic advantages when you contrast its devices to those made available by its fragmented Android-based competition. Ming-Chi Kuo believes the TrueDepth camera and Face ID put Apple years ahead of others in the market.

What do I think?

If Apple does elect to migrate the whole iPhone range to the next-generation, as the analyst claims, then it will be doing so for a reason.

I have been watching Apple incrementally lay the foundations to build this kind of competitive edge for years; its decision to migrate its systems to 64-bit was the biggest hint yet. What do you need such powerful devices for? To run software, of course. Why else do you think Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive told Wallpaper:

“What I think is remarkable about the iPhone X is that its functionality is so determined by software. And because of the fluid nature of software, this product is going to change and evolve. In 12 months' time, this object will be able to do things that it can't now. I think that is extraordinary. I think we will look back on it and see it as a very significant point in terms of the products we have been developing.”

The question you have to ask — given Apple’s long-term, extended effort to deliver powerful mobile devices no one else in the industry can match — is: “What software will the next generation iPhones run?”

I think that’s going to be the big question in 2018.

Just how significant do you think “very significant” will turn out to be? 

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Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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