The summer 2018 iPhone refresh speculation round-up

All the current iPhone speculation as eyes turn to Apple this smartphone season.

Apple, iOS, iPhone, iPhone X, iPhone Xi, iPhone 9

Apple’s smartphones are the best-selling mobile device models in the world, particularly among enterprise users, so what should we expect when the company announces new models this season?

Faster processors

Apple’s existing iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X models are reportedly faster than Samsung’s latest Galaxy range, and this advantage grows once again this year with the company expected to put a new 7-nanometer chip inside iPhones. TSMC began mass production of these back in April. Apple’s smartphone speed advantage is becoming so significant that the company recently ran a TV ad (Unleash) to celebrate it. The new models should boast up to 4GB RAM.

The iPhone X Plus

Bloomberg has suggested Apple will ship three new iPhones. It predicts these will include 5.8-inch, 6.5-inch and a 6.1-inch models. The first two models will be based around the iPhone X, with the latter expected to be a more traditional iPhone (dubbed "iPhone 9") design. These models have also been predicted by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and revealed in code snippets.

Two screens

The two iPhone X models will boast OLED displays (1,125-x-2,436 and 1,242-x-2,688 resolutions), while the more traditional (and lower cost) model will use an LCD display. The latter is a fully active display that should be more color-accurate than the existing 8-series displays.

Face ID throughout

Enterprise buyers may need to pay attention to any security feedback they may have received with regard to Face ID usage on iPhone X, as reports indicate all three iPhones will have Face ID. Key Apple supplier Lumentum Holdings recently said volume orders for its products would increase “significantly” from September 2018 – likely because it makes some of the components used in Apple’s Face ID system.

No Touch ID

The latter also means no Touch ID in these models, while reports claim 3D Touch is out, too.

Camera differences

Both iPhone X models will carry the dual lens camera currently provided on iPhone X and iPhone 8, however the LCD model iPhone will have only a single-lens camera. Enterprise purchasers hoping to make future use of AR internally (for training, customer support and so on) will likely favor the iPhone X models for this.

Thinner bezels

Multiple reports suggest all three iPhones will have the same edge-to-edge bezel-less design as the iPhone X. In part, this is because Apple has been able to figure out how to use smaller connectors for the LCD display, thus reducing the amount of bezel the device needs.

More powerful speakers

The largest model is likely to offer more powerful speakers.

Improved iPhone power cable

There’s some expectation of a new USB-C to Lightning cable (at last). There’s also talk of a larger power adaptor in the box. The latter seems mandatory on the speculated iPhone X Plus model.

Dual SIM

A recent set of claims suggested Apple would offer dual-SIM support. More recent speculation has claimed this will be made available in only some countries, potentially using an Apple SIM as one of these.

Not sure about colors

There are conflicting reports around color. Some claim the new iPhone X models will be available in Silver, Space Gray and Gold, while the iPhone 9 variant could be available in white, blue, red, orange and gray. Others suggest a fare more basic black and white offer.

Faster internet

Apple loyalists who’ve come across Samsung’s recent claims that its devices connect to the internet faster than iPhones need not worry. The latest edition Apple mobiles are expected to use new Intel wireless chips that provide a faster LTE connection. Wireless charging will be on all models, most reports agree.

How much will they cost

The iPhone 9 model is set to cost from between $550 and $650, Ming-Chi Kuo claims. UBS has predicted the 6.5-inch iPhone X-based model will cost from $1,100 ($100 more than the existing high-end device).

What about the iPhone SE?

Should Apple also decide to keep the existing iPhone 8 in its range (at a discounted price) rather than introduce a new model iPhone SE, these price points will mean further price pressure on the overall smartphone market – which should help Apple claw back sales volume. Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty has warned the lowest cost model may not ship until a few weeks after the new X-generation devices.

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Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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