The iPhone 2019 rumor guide

What's likely, less likely, and unlikely in this year’s iPhone collection?

Apple, iPhone, iOS, iPhone XS 2, iPhone XSi, Smartphones, rumors

Welcome to the annual, ever-growing iPhone rumor guide for 2019. What is likely, less likely and unlikely to appear in this year’s iPhone collection? Let's take a look.

The iPhone 2019 rumor guide

Three new iPhone models that have two-way wireless charging and a slightly smaller model within the range are the latest predictions to emerge from spookily well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

What’s likely to happen?

Apple will make a smaller device

Right now, speculation claims Apple plans to make iPhones that measure 5.42-inch (137.7mm), 6.06-inch (153.92mm), and 6.67-inch(169.42mm) – but not until 2020. That means we’ll have smaller and larger iPhone models available then.

This year’s crop will retain the same display sizes (from 5.8-inch). You’ll have to keep waiting for the iPhone everyone seems to want, a small and tough iPhone SE2.

Lightning ports

The 2019 iPhones are expected to host Lightning ports rather than USB-C.

Two-way wireless charging

With two-way wireless charging, you’ll be able to charge other devices (such as an Apple Watch) directly from your iPhone, just by bringing them close together.

An even faster processor

Apple’s 7-nanometer A14 chip. This will have an accent on power efficiency, graphics improvements, on-device machine intelligence and AI. These really will be Macs in your pockets.

Improved wireless

Various reports and Barclays analyst Blame Curtis suggest Wi-Fi 6 and UWB connectivity for indoor positioning and navigation will feature in the release – all good for augemented reality (AR) experiences, might I point out. Improved LTE speeds are also expected.

A camera so good Apple installed it thrice

The camera is expected to boast three lenses for better AR/depth-of-field pick-up. I imagine Apple will field this at the high end and will develop unique photography and video capture features (such as longer Live Photo captures) to exploit this. Will this be the world’s first consumer virtual reality (VR) camera? Wait and see.

Better Face ID

Apple will inevitably continue to improve and lower the production cost of Face ID. Kuo suggests a higher power flood illuminator.

An LCD iPhone

Apple will continue to offer at least one iPhone model that has an LCD display, most likely the XRs, or whatever crazy moniker the company gives the thing.

A thinner iPhone

Apple does seem to like making thinner iPhones, but the need to ensure structural integrity makes this hard to achieve without errors such as "bend-gate."

What’s less likely to happen

A lighter iPhone

While components may become smaller and lighter, it seems likely Apple will cram a heavier battery inside the device.

Improved batteries

While it is certain we’ll see future iPhones deliver better battery life, this may be due to power management improvements rather than the inclusion of larger batteries. At time of writing there are claims the battery capacity will increase. This will give a 20-25% improvement for the largest iPhone and just 5% benefit to the iPhone XR2.

OLED iPhones

Digitimes states these won’t show until 2020, making the devices thinner and helping to provide better battery life. Earlier reports matched this claim.

Apple Pencil support

What works well with the wireless charging feature on iPads? Apple Pencil. What single product could turn your iPhone into a fantastic notebook/signature capture device for point of sale and delivery? A Pencil. No surprise, then, that the speculation that never ends is back for this year’s iPhones – support for an Apple Pencil.

Cheaper iPhones

Apple is quietly reducing prices in some markets, such as India and China. However, rather than reducing overall prices, Apple is more likely to improve and extend its iPhone Upgrade Scheme to make its devices more accessible to a wider number of customers.

Apple Glass AR

Ming-Chi Kuo’s most recent claim is that Apple plans to start manufacturing its AR headset between Q4 2019-Q2 2020.

While the company appears to be setting the scene for the release of the product, it all hinges on what we learn at WWDC. Should Apple plan to introduce these things before WWDC 2020, it will need to discuss them at this year's event.

That is because it seems highly probable Apple will want developers to build solutions, and developers will need to be introduced to any new APIs.

A smaller notch

There are rumors Apple will reduce the size of the Face ID notch by hiding the camera lenses behind the display. This seems too plausible to reject – after all, if the phones get smaller, so too may the Face ID sensor, but it still feels unlikely.

What’s not going to happen:

Support for 5G

That well-reported spat with Qualcomm, recent musical chairs in the Intel exec seats, and news that the latter firm is lagging in 5G chip development mean Apple has 1,200 engineers beavering away on a 5G modem. I’ve written on this before, but right now it seems unlikely we’ll see 5G in iPhones until it begins to matter in 2021.

The return of Touch ID

While the company may have figured out how to put a Touch ID sensor under the display, it may be unnecessary. After all, Face ID seems to have been accepted by iPhone users – though some iPad users still prefer Touch ID.

A folding iPhone

Don’t hold your breath. Yet. Apple will wait until the multiple problems competitors who have rushed these things to market are identified, and then fix them.

A major redesign

Expect the same basic design this year. Next year’s iPhones may be a little smaller.

A headphone port


What are you expecting in 2019’s iPhones? Let me know via one of the social networks below.

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Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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