iPhone 2020: The rumors so far

Predictions for the 2020 iPhone include support for 5G, a 5nm chip, improved battery life, 120Hz OLED display, and an Apple-designed GPU.

Apple, iOS, iPhone, SiriOS, mobile, 2020

Take these with plenty of salt, but silly season has returned and tongues seem to be wagging about what to expect from the 2020 iPhone. Here's some of the more credible claims:

Apple to ship a 5G iPhone

Apple is expected to introduce support for 5G in the iPhone in 2020.

The modem will likely be manufactured by Qualcomm, and the introduction will likely spur innovation in 5G application development and services. 5G networks are being deployed globally at time of writing, though this is not without problems

Apple will likely move to introduce its own homemade modem at some future point.

iPhone will boast 5nm chip

TSMC has said it is spending more to ramp up its 7nm chip production capacity and will also be building up 5-nanometer production for 2020.

Will these 5nm chips be for iPhones?

It seems possible given that Apple is one of TSMC’s biggest customers, which means Apple’s already industry-leading A-series processors will deliver even more power than before.

Better battery life or performance boosts?

Moving to a 5nm chip should reduce power consumption, which could equate to better battery life.

I’m expecting a slight tweak in battery life, but I imagine most of these gains will be destined to support the new 5G modem and more sophisticated display.

Apple’s best smartphone display yet

Apple to put 120Hz OLED displays inside 2020 iPhones – the same refresh rate you currently find in iPad Pro. (The current models boast 60Hz screens.)

This should make the devices more responsive for gaming and everything else.

The claim emanates from a single (sketchy) origin, so this doesn’t really qualify as anything more than speculation. 

Available in three sizes

Morgan Stanley predicts the iPhones will boast 5.4″, 6.1″ and 6.7″ displays. The range may include a lower cost (non 5G, non-OLED) model, the analysts said.

And built for augmented reality (AR)

Morgan Stanley has also predicted Time of Flight distance perception on the new phones. This will provide a big boost to AR application development and should exploit the network capabilities of 5G for fast augmented experiences.

Some predict optical image stabilization across the range.

All supported by an Apple graphics chip

Think back to April 2017 when Imagination told us Apple would be building its own graphics processors within two years.

This implies an Apple-designed GPU in this year’s devices, improving for 2020. This will be built for metal.

We may lose the bump and the notch

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple will begin introducing a smaller front-facing camera in one of the new 2020 iPhones, which could also mean the end of the notch. This could be in-display Face ID or a new form of Touch ID.

Credit Suisse has predicted all iPhones will use in-display Touch ID sensors by 2021, and we’ve previously heard Apple supplier AMS is developing tech for a smaller Face ID sensor.

And we may see a fully wireless device

Will the 2020 iPhone be completely wireless?

Apple appears to want to remove all the ports from its devices, and we know it has invested heavily in wireless power tech. (Albeit with mixed success.)

Apple’s current devices support wireless power charging as an option, but to what extent can the company parlay its Smart Connector tech to make this standard?

Think how waterproof and dustproof a completely port-free device would be – and look forward to the wailing and gnashing of teeth that will ensue in the event Apple deletes the Lightning port. 

Will we see a new design?

With the departure of Jony Ive, the time seems right to move into a different design direction. Perhaps it’s time for an iPod mini-like curved iPhone?

Others speculate Apple may introduce a folding iPhone, but I think the fate of the current folding phones on the market shows us that fold-free phones will rule the roost for a couple of years yet.

(You thought getting a broken display fixed was expensive, now try getting a broken folding device fixed.)

And now also with SiriOS…

You’ll use the iPhone with touch and iOS, but Apple’s SiriOS will also be part of the device. SiriOS is a voice-first operating system that may launch in 2020, according to recent reports based on an analyst comments (first reported here).

What might this be good for? Think wearables and even wearable displays. Think contextual AI.

Want more information on what to expect from the 2019 iPhone Apple? You’ll find some here.

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Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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