Apple's 2018 iPhones
Apple's rumored 2018 iPhone lineup.
At a Glance
- Apple is rumored to be introducing three iPhones in 2018: Two OLED models measuring in at 5.8 and 6.5 inches and a 6.1-inch lower-cost LCD model. All three will feature Face ID and edge-to-edge displays.
- Three iPhones expected, two OLED and one LCD
- OLED iPhones will be 5.8 and 6.5 inches
- LCD iPhone will feature 6.1-inch display and lower price tag
- All iPhones to feature Face ID and edge-to-edge display
- A12 Processors
- Faster LTE
Coming in 2018: Apple's Three iPhone Lineup
We started hearing rumors about the iPhones we can expect to see in 2018 before the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus had even launched, and based on those rumors, 2018 is shaping up to be an exciting year for iPhone advancements.
In 2018, Apple is planning to continue on with its three iPhone lineup, introducing three new iPhones. The first is said to be a second-generation version of the iPhone X, with the same 5.8-inch OLED display, while the second can be thought of as an "iPhone X Plus" with a larger 6.5-inch OLED display.
Along with these two OLED iPhones, which will undoubtedly be just as expensive as the current iPhone X, Apple is planning to introduce a new, more affordable 6.1-inch iPhone with an LCD display. This device could possibly use a Full Active LCD display, which would offer improved technology over the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus display.
All three of the new iPhones will feature an edge-to-edge screen with the same nearly non-existent bezels of the iPhone X, and all will be equipped with a TrueDepth camera system that supports Face ID. That means 2018 will mark the official end of the Home button and the Touch ID fingerprint sensor in Apple's flagship iPhone lineup.
While the 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch OLED iPhones in 2018 will be outfitted with all the bells and whistles of the iPhone X, Apple is going to cut some features from the rumored 6.1-inch model to keep costs low. That device will have an aluminum frame instead of a stainless steel frame, it may not come equipped with wireless charging, it will have a single lens-rear camera, and the display may not support 3D Touch.
By eliminating these features, Apple is expected to be able to sell the device for $700 to $800, putting it on par with the more affordable iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. We don't know what the OLED iPhones will be priced at, but $999 for the next-generation 5.8-inch model is a solid guess, as is $1,099 for the 6.5-inch model, though analysts have suggested those prices could be $100 lower.
Comparatively, the rumored 5.8 and 6.5-inch OLED iPhones are expected to continue to offer dual-lens rear cameras and they may include 4GB RAM. The larger model will, of course, support a larger battery for longer battery life, and at least one iPhone coming in 2018 is also expected to offer dual-SIM functionality. Apple's 2018 iPhone lineup could come in multiple colors, with the OLED devices available in Silver, Space Gray, and Gold, while the 6.1-inch iPhone could be available in colors that include grey, white, blue, red, and orange.
In addition to Face ID and a TrueDepth camera system, all three new iPhones are likely to include an upgraded A12 processor, improved LTE chips from Intel that will support a faster LTE connection, and a USB-C to Lightning cable for faster charging speeds.
With the launch of a second-generation 5.8-inch iPhone X and a larger 6.5-inch "iPhone X Plus," rumors suggest Apple may flat out discontinue the current iPhone X rather than lowering its price tag and selling it as a lower-cost older-generation device. iPhone X manufacturing would cease with the launch of the new devices, and it would effectively be retired. This is not unheard of, as Apple did the same thing with the iPhone 5 when the iPhone 5s and 5c launched in 2013.Note: See an error in this roundup or want to offer feedback? Send us an email here.
2018 iPhone Naming
At this point in time, we have no idea what Apple is going to call the three iPhones coming in 2018, so for now, we're going to refer to them as the "2018 iPhones."
In 2017, we had the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone X (pronounced 10), skipping the iPhone 9 entirely. Based on 2017's naming scheme, all 2018 iPhone names seem a little unusual.
Apple could for example, introduce the iPhone Xs and the iPhone Xs Plus, which would be similar in naming convention to previous years for second-year updates, but 2018, with the introduction of the larger 6.5-inch OLED iPhone, will mark a major update year so the name doesn't quite fit.
Apple could move on to iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Plus, or iPhone XI and iPhone XI Plus, but even in that situation, it's not clear what the company will call the planned 6.1-inch LCD iPhone. It could be named the iPhone 9, but again, that's confusing next to a potential iPhone 11.
Here's Apple's past naming:
- 2007 - iPhone
- 2008 - iPhone 3G
- 2009 - iPhone 3GS
- 2010 - iPhone 4 (new design)
- 2011 - iPhone 4s
- 2012 - iPhone 5 (new design)
- 2013 - iPhone 5s
- 2014 - iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus (new design)
- 2015 - iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus
- 2016 - iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
- 2017 - iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X (new design)
2018 could mark the year that the iPhone gets an entirely new naming scheme, but we won't know for sure what Apple's plans are until we start hearing additional rumors about the new devices.
5.8 and 6.5-Inch OLED iPhones
Two of the iPhones Apple is planning to launch in 2018 will be positioned as direct successors to the iPhone X, one with a standard 5.8-inch display like the current iPhone X and one in a larger "Plus" size with a 6.5-inch display.
According to noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the 5.8-inch model will have a display with 458 pixels per inch, indicating the same 1125 x 2436 resolution, while the larger 6.5-inch model will offer 480 to 500 pixels per inch. Bloomberg has said the larger model will feature a screen resolution of 1242 x 2688, which would put it closer to the pixel density of the 5.8-inch display.
Apple's 2018 iPhones could potentially use Corning's Gorilla Glass 6, which is more durable and able to better stand up to multiple drops than the previous version of Gorilla Glass.
Apple is said to be sourcing the majority of its OLED displays for the 2018 iPhone lineup from Samsung, but LG Display will provide displays for the 6.5-inch OLED iPhone, and Apple could also tap Sharp and Japan Display for extra supply.
Design wise, both the 5.8-inch iPhone and 6.5-inch iPhone coming in 2018 are expected to look similar to the current iPhone X, with an edge-to-edge display and notch for the TrueDepth camera, glass bodies for wireless charging support, and dual-lens rear cameras. Apple could introduce a new gold color option, adding to the silver and space gray options available in the 2017 iPhone X.
Japanese site Mac Otakara has said that the upcoming 6.5-inch iPhone will be similar in size to the 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus, something that's possible because the new 6.5-inch smartphone will feature minimal bezels and no Home button, allowing it to have a much larger display while not greatly increasing its physical size over the iPhone 8 Plus.
Though most rumors have suggested both the 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch iPhones coming in 2018 will use dual-lens rear cameras, a report from The Korea Herald says the 6.5-inch iPhone will use a triple-lens camera setup, which is actually something that's been rumored for the 2019 iPhone lineup. With no other rumors pointing towards three lenses for 2018, it's not clear if this rumor is correct.
The next-generation 5.8-inch iPhone will reportedly be the same size as the current-generation model, but with a larger rear camera to accommodate a bigger camera sensor. The new 5.8-inch iPhone could also be cheaper to manufacture according to DigiTimes, which means it could perhaps be sold at a lower price point. Component costs could be up to 10 percent lower.
RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani believes Apple will sell the next-generation iPhone X for $899, while pricing the "iPhone X Plus" at $999, the price of the current iPhone X.
Current rumors suggest Apple will continue to use a two-cell L-shaped design for the batteries in the 5.8 and 6.5-inch iPhones coming in 2018.
Battery life in the 5.8-inch model should be similar to battery life in the current iPhone X, while the larger 6.5-inch iPhone, which has more space, will feature up to 25 percent more battery capacity, somewhere around 3300 to 3400 mAh.
Like Apple's other plus-sized iPhones, the larger 6.5-inch OLED iPhone will adopt an iPad-style landscape mode that displays additional information in stock apps like Calendar and Contacts when viewed in landscape orientation. Many of Apple's native apps have already been updated with support for the new landscape view, which was not offered in the 5.8-inch iPhone X.
6.1-Inch iPhone With LCD Display
Alongside two flagship OLED iPhones that measure in at 5.8 and 6.5 inches, Apple is rumored to be planning to debut a lower-cost 6.1-inch device that features an LCD display to keep the price tag more affordable.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who first predicted Apple would introduce a low-cost LCD iPhone, believes the device will feature a display with 320 to 330 pixels per inch and a price tag that comes in at $700 to $800, similar to the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus.
Though Apple is planning to use an LCD display for the lower-cost device, it may still include upgraded display technology. Rumors suggest the company will use Full Active LCDs from Japan Display, which are said to match or exceed some of the benefits of an OLED display at a lower cost. Japan Display is ramping up LCD production in an effort to fulfill orders from Apple.
OLED displays traditionally offer sharper contrast and brighter colors than standard LCD panels, so should Apple use Full Active LCDs from Japan Display for the 6.1-inch iPhone, it could have a display almost on par with the OLED iPhones. Japan Display's Full Active LCDs are six inch displays with a resolution of 2,160 x 1,080 and an 18:9 aspect ratio, which doesn't quite match up with Kuo's pixels per inch prediction, but Japan Display could be making custom panels for Apple.
Full Active LCDs require much less bezel space around the edge of the screen, allowing for an edge-to-edge display, which is an important tidbit because rumors suggest all 2018 iPhones, 6.1-inch LCD iPhone included, will feature the same edge-to-edge design that Apple introduced in the iPhone X. That means no Home button and no Touch ID support, with Apple instead relying on Face ID across its entire 2018 iPhone lineup.
Korean news site BusinessKorea believes the 6.1-inch iPhone will actually use the same MLCD+ display as the new LG G7 flagship smartphone. MLCD+, an improved version of a traditional LCD display, offers a brighter screen with less power consumption.
In the LG G7, the MLCD+ display allows for a peak brightness of 1,000 nits, much brighter than the displays of standard LCD devices, and it supports wide color gamut for better color accuracy.
The LCD panels in the 6.1-inch iPhone may use LED backlighting chips, which would allow for reduced screen bezel size allowing for an LCD display that's closer in bezel size to the OLED iPhone X.
Though the 6.1-inch iPhone will include Face ID and an edge-to-edge display, Apple will cut costs in other areas. Ming-Chi Kuo believes the device will feature an aluminum frame instead of a stainless steel frame, along with a single lens camera, a rumor echoed by Japanese site Mac Otakara.
Kuo also believes the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone will use "Cover Glass Sensor" (CGS) technology, relocating the iPhone's touch module from the display pane to the surface glass. The CGS method results in a display that's lighter and more shock resistant, with Apple planning to add a thin-film sensor with an unknown purpose.
The new touch panel is more expensive, resulting in a higher purchase price, so to offset the price, Apple may remove 3D Touch functionality from the device. That the display would lack 3D Touch is an odd prediction as 3D Touch has been a key iPhone feature since its 2015 debut in the iPhone 6s, and the iOS interface relies heavily on 3D Touch gestures. Kuo is often accurate, but this could potentially be a rare miss.
The 6.1-inch iPhone will also not include space-saving technology like a stacked logic board and an L-shaped battery pack, instead continuing to use standard logic board technology and traditional batteries.
It's not entirely clear if the 6.1-inch iPhone will feature a glass body for wireless charging, but at least one source says it won't. Japanese site Nikkei believes the 6.1-inch iPhone will feature a metal back, which would not allow for wireless charging capabilities, but Bloomberg says it will indeed feature a glass back.
Apple may sell the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone in an array of different colors, harkening back to the iPhone 5c. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple is considering grey, white, blue, red, and orange as possible iPhone colors.
OnLeaks, another rumor source, has suggested white, black, gray, red, blue, yellow, pink, and orange are all colors under consideration. The two OLED iPhones, meanwhile, will be available in silver, space gray, and gold.
Taiwanese site Economic Daily News believes Apple's 6.1-inch LCD iPhone could be priced at $649 to $749, making it more appealing to customers who were put off by the $999 price tag of the iPhone X.
Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple will introduce two 6.1-inch iPhone variations: one with dual-SIM dual standby functionality allowing for two SIM cards to be used at the same time, and a model with a single SIM slot. Kuo predicts a $550 to $650 price tag for the single SIM model, and a $650 to $750 price tag for the dual-SIM model. The dual-SIM dual standby iPhone could be limited to China.
Front glass panels said to be from the three iPhones coming in 2018 leaked in July, showing the size difference between the upcoming iPhones.
There's a 5.8-inch OLED panel, a 6.1-inch LCD panel (for the low-cost iPhone) and a 6.5-inch LCD panel. All three feature slim side bezels and a notch at the top to house a TrueDepth camera system. While none have thick bezels, the 6.1-inch iPhone's bezel is slightly thicker because it will use an LCD display rather than an OLED display.
A display assembly and digitizer said to be for the larger 6.5-inch "iPhone X Plus" leaked in February, giving us our first potential glimpse at a 2018 iPhone component. The display appears to be larger than the display of the iPhone X, and the relative size of the notch is different than on the iPhone X.
A flex cable at the bottom of the part includes a number that's similar to the format used by Apple, so it's certainly possible this is a legitimate leak. It also allegedly comes from LG Display in Vietnam, and LG Display is rumored to be a supplier for the larger OLED iPhone coming in 2018.
Leaked Schematics and Renders
Leaked schematics sourced from a case maker have suggested the "iPhone X Plus" will measure in at 77.41mm wide, 157.53mm tall, and 7.68mm thick, while the second-generation iPhone X will feature the same dimensions as the current version at 70.9mm wide, 143.6mm tall, and 7.7mm thick.
Renderings have also been created from the schematics to show what all three iPhones will look like when next to each other. In the image below, the 6.5-inch iPhone is on the right, the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone is in the middle, and the 5.8-inch iPhone is on the left.
Alleged schematics of the upcoming 6.1-inch iPhone have also been shared. According to these schematics, the 6.1-inch iPhone measures in at 75.72mm wide, 150.91mm tall, and 8.32mm thick.
As has been rumored, the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone features a single-lens camera, a departure from the dual-lens camera in the two OLED iPhones. The single lens camera, as outlined above, is to keep costs low. In the rendering below, the size difference between the iPhones in the 2018 lineup is depicted, with the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone in the middle.
Noted leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer has also shared renders and a video of what the lower-cost iPhone might look like, featuring a 6.1-inch LCD display with an edge-to-edge screen and a notch for a TrueDepth camera system, a glass back, a single-lens rear camera, and an aluminum frame.
Leaked images featuring dummy units of the 6.5-inch OLED "iPhone X Plus" and low-cost 6.1-inch LCD iPhone leaked in late July, giving us a look at what we can expect to see in September.
The iPhone X Plus is larger in size than the current iPhone X and otherwise looks similar in design to the existing flagship device. The 6.1-inch LCD device is shown with a single-lens camera and a smaller body, all of which is in line with rumors.
The two dummy models have also been shown off in a video, offering a clear view of the size difference we can likely expect to see between the new devices. Both of these new iPhones will be slightly larger than the second-generation 5.8-inch OLED iPhone Apple is also expected to introduce.
Dummy models for all three devices give a better look at the size differences we can expect to see between the 5.8-inch OLED model, the 6.1-inch low-cost LCD model, and the larger 6.5-inch OLED model.
Face ID and TrueDepth Camera System
It looks like 2018 will be the year that Apple transitions all of its smartphones to Face ID, with rumors suggesting all 2018 iPhone models will feature an edge-to-edge display and a front-facing TrueDepth camera module with support for Face ID.
Face ID would then officially replace Touch ID as Apple's biometric security method of choice across all devices, not just Apple's top-of-the-line flagship smartphone. That's in line with rumors that have suggested Face ID integration in other devices like the iPad Pro.
Rumors have suggested Apple will make a significant investment in LG Innotek to secure 3D sensing modules for Face ID in the iPhone and iPad in 2018. LG Innotek will supply 3D sensing modules that include a flood illuminator, dot projector, and other key Face ID components. Apple is also working with two other Chinese suppliers to ensure an adequate supply of 3D sensing modules that will be used across the 2018 iPhone lineup.
Face ID components were rumored to be one of the reasons why iPhone X supply was initially constrained, so Apple will need to have a reliable supply of TrueDepth modules to transition entirely to Face ID.
Barclays believes Apple's 2018 iPhones could include a new TrueDepth camera system and a smaller notch, but it's not yet clear if this prediction is correct.
An earlier rumor suggested the design of the notch wouldn't change until 2019, and rumors from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has suggested the next 5.8-inch iPhone and its sister devices will look very similar to the iPhone X.
While most rumors have suggested there will be few design changes to the next-generation iPhone X and its larger Plus sibling, Korean site ET News also believes all three iPhones coming in 2018 will feature "less bezel and a smaller notch design.
Though front-facing TrueDepth cameras are expected to be introduced across Apple's iPhone lineup in 2018, the technology is not expected to make its way to the rear-facing camera at this point in time.
A12 Processor and RAM
Apple's 2018 iPhones are expected to feature upgraded A12 chips produced solely by TSMC and built on TSMC's improved 7 nanometer process. Apple is said to be using TSMC for its superior InFO wafer-level packaging, and TSMC has begun commercial production on the chips ahead of the launch of the 2018 iPhones.
Benchmarks from one of the 2018 iPhones surfaced on Geekbench in June, pointing towards 10 percent faster performance speeds for the A12 chip compared to the A11 chip.
Comparatively, the iPhone X with an A11 processor features a single-core score of 4206 and a multi-core score of 10128, indicating the new A12 chip will be approximately 10 percent faster than the A11 chip when it comes to both multi-core and single-core performance.
Compute scores for the 2018 iPhone were also included, and it features a Metal score of 21691. Compared to the iPhone X's Metal score of 15234, the result suggests GPU improvements.
The Geekbench benchmark also listed the device in question with 4GB RAM, which is in line with rumors from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that have suggested the 2018 OLED iPhones will have 4GB RAM, up from 3GB in the iPhone X. The 6.1-inch LCD iPhone is expected to continue to offer 3GB RAM.
While the veracity of the benchmark can't be confirmed because it's not impossible to fake these results, early benchmarks do sometimes pop up in the months ahead of a new device's release because there are prototype iPhones being tested by Apple employees who may have opted to run the Geekbench 4 app.
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Apple may opt to do away with Qualcomm LTE chips in 2018 iPhone models due to the legal dispute between the companies. The site believes that instead of Qualcomm modems, Apple will use an all Intel lineup or a mix of Intel and MediaTek chips.
Noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo initially said that Apple would continue to use a mix of Qualcomm and LTE modems, but he later changed his prediction and he too now believes that Intel will be the exclusive supplier of LTE modems in all iPhones launched in 2018.
In July 2018, Qualcomm CFO George Davis confirmed that Apple does not have plans to use Qualcomm chips in its 2018 iPhone lineup. "We believe Apple intends to solely use our competitors' modems rather than our modems in its next iPhone release. We will continue to provide modems for Apple legacy devices," said Davis.
Past Intel LTE chips have not supported CDMA networks like Sprint and Verizon, so Apple was required to use Qualcomm chips for some devices, but Intel's new XMM 7560 modem offers support for both GSM and CDMA networks.
The rumored 6.1-inch LCD iPhone and the 6.5-inch OLED iPhone may support dual-SIM dual standby, allowing for LTE+LTE connections, aka two SIM cards that are active simultaneously using one chipset, and they will feature improved antenna technology that will also contribute to faster connection speeds. Bloomberg believes dual-SIM functionality, if enabled, could be limited to the larger 6.5-inch iPhone, while KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says it will be available in the 6.1 and 6.5-inch iPhones.
Chinese news site 21st Century Business Herald has also said at least one 2018 iPhone will feature dual-SIM dual-standby functionality, with Apple to introduce an embedded Apple SIM in addition to the standard physical SIM card in most places around the world. In China, however, where the Apple SIM is not available, Apple may instead launch an iPhone that has two physical SIM card trays.
A separate rumor from Taiwanese site Economic Daily News has suggested Apple is producing two 6.1-inch models, one with dual-SIM dual standby functionality and one without. The dual-SIM dual standby model could be limited to China.
USB-C Power Adapter and Lightning Cable
Apple's 2018 iPhones could ship with an 18W USB-C power adapter and a USB-C to Lighting cable to facilitate fast charging functionality without the need to purchase additional accessories.
This rumor comes from unverified supply chain sources so it should be taken with a grain of salt, but it makes some sense given Apple's transition to USB-C and the existence of USB-C fast charging in the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus.
Images said to feature an engineering prototype of the U.S. version of Apple's upcoming U.S. version of the 18W charger surfaced in June. It offers a compact body in the style of Apple's existing 5-watt charger with a pair of prongs on one side and a USB-C port on the other end.
Supplies of the new power adapter may be limited at launch, so it may not be available on a standalone basis for the first few months.
Apple may limit third-party fast charging options with the 2018 iPhone lineup by requiring third-party power adapters to obtain USB-C Authentication certification to charge the iPhones at full speeds for safety reasons. Without this functionality, iPhones may display a warning and charge at a max of 2.5W.
2018 iPhones may not feature a Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter in the box, something that's been offered alongside the iPhone since Apple eliminated the headphone jack in the 2016 iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The prediction comes from Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis, and was further supported by "confirmation" from Cirrus Logic, the adapter's supplier, who reportedly said that the dongle won't be bundled with the 2018 iPhones.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes 2018 will bring a "super cycle," as Apple will have worked out all TrueDepth camera manufacturing problems by then and models unveiled in 2018 will be available for a longer period than those released in 2017.
Kuo also believes that when Apple introduces the new iPhones in September of 2018, the current iPhone X will be discontinued. Apple, he says, will stop selling the device entirely, retiring it after a year of availability rather than offering it as a lower-cost device as Apple traditionally does with older iPhone models.
Apple did the same thing when the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c were released, discontinuing the iPhone 5 just a year after it was introduced.
Kuo says Apple will discontinue the iPhone X rather than drop the price as a lower-cost first-generation iPhone X would potentially cannibalize sales of the planned 6.1-inch LCD iPhone.
Despite the fact that two of the next three iPhone models will use OLED displays, The Wall Street Journal believes that lower-priced LCD models, which will include the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone with a TrueDepth camera system and no Home button, will make up the bulk of Apple's iPhone sales.
Citing supply chain sources, The Wall Street Journal says Apple initially wanted equal production of OLED and LCD iPhones for its 2018 lineup, but now plans to make more of the LCD model in anticipation of stronger demand for the lower-priced version.
Apple is also said to be planning to include a lower-cost LCD iPhone in its 2019 iPhone lineup too, so customers continue to have a more affordable option.
Production, Pricing, and Release Date
iPhones traditionally debut in September, and we don't expect Apple to deviate from that tradition in 2018. All three iPhones are likely to be announced in early September and then offered for sale shortly afterwards.
Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple will release all three new iPhones in September of 2018, with an aggressive pricing strategy. The 6.5-inch OLED device will be priced at $900 to $1,000, the 5.8-inch OLED second-generation iPhone X will be priced at $800 to $900, and the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone will be priced at $600 to $700.
While Kuo believes all three iPhones will launch at the same time, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty believes the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone's launch could be delayed by a month because of "LED backlight leakage." A similar rumor has been shared by Japanese site Mac Otakara, citing supply chain sources.
Apple is asking suppliers to build "around 20 percent fewer" components for its 2018 lineup, with Apple said to be taking a "cautious approach" to iPhone shipments in 2018.
Apple has asked its suppliers to "prepare earlier" for the launch of the 2018 OLED iPhones to ensure a September launch, and Foxconn is said to be assembling the bulk of the 2018 iPhones. Foxconn is reportedly responsible for the assembly of all of the second-generation iPhone X models, 90 percent of the 6.5-inch OLED iPhones, and 75 percent of the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone.
Apple completed certification of key component suppliers for the 2018 iPhones in August, and suppliers have started shipping large quantities of camera lenses, metal chassis, and other components to manufacturers like Foxconn, who will assemble the devices. Volume production on the 2018 iPhones should begin soon.
Beyond 2018 Rumors
In 2019 and beyond, Apple is said to be aiming to offer all of its iPhones with OLED displays, and to reach that goal, as previously mentioned, Apple is working with several OLED suppliers. Apple is mulling a partnership with Japan Display, and the company has purchased equipment to build its own OLED panel research and development site in Taiwan. Apple is also said to be pushing LG Display to build out its OLED display production facilities.
While some rumors have suggested Apple is planning to switch to all OLED displays in its 2019 iPhone lineup, while others cast doubt on those plans, instead suggesting Apple will continue to use some LCDs.
Rear Camera Upgrades
Future iPhones could include 3D depth sensing technology for the rear-facing camera, with Apple rumored to be planning to introduce the feature in its 2019 iPhones, and iPhones in 2019 and beyond could also adopt an upgraded TrueDepth camera system. That upgraded system will reportedly consume more power, requiring Apple to introduce larger-capacity batteries in 2019 and 2020.
Taiwan's Economic Daily News, for example, suggests 2019 iPhones will feature a triple-lens rear-facing camera system that offers "more advanced" sensing than the iPhone X's TrueDepth camera system, with two sensors able to capture images of a single object from different angles and then triangulate the distance between the object being photographed and the iPhone.
Support for stereoscopic imaging would allow the camera sensors to capture details of a single object from multiple angles, using a triangulation method to calculate the distance between the iPhone and the object.
Rumors have suggested the triple-lens rear camera coming to one or more iPhones in 2019 will offer 12 megapixels, will offer improved photographic capabilities, including better low-light performance.
Rear 3D sensing features could be used for augmented reality apps, and the three lens setup could also allow for optical 3x zoom for the first time.
Front-Facing TrueDepth Camera System
Apple may also be able to introduce iPhones with a smaller notch for the TrueDepth camera system, with rumors suggesting Apple may be able to combine the front-facing camera and Face ID sensors into a single face recognition module in future iPhones.
According to an unnamed industry source that spoke to Korean news site ET News, starting in 2019, Apple will introduce an iPhone design that will eliminate the notch that houses the TrueDepth camera. It's not yet clear how Apple will incorporate TrueDepth hardware into a device without a notch, but the report speculates Apple might drill holes into the display itself or use a multi-layer Black matrix display.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes iPhones coming in 2019 will introduce "marked innovations," and he suspects we'll start hearing details on the upcoming models in September or October of 2018. Kuo says that in 2019, LCD iPhones will continue to outpace models with OLED displays, and he's previously suggested that Apple Pencil support for the iPhone is a possibility.
Apple is also said to be considering an Apple Pencil-style stylus that's compatible with the iPhone, which would ship alongside a future iPhone. Apple is rumored to be aiming for a 2019 launch for the device and its accessory. Both of these rumors come from Korean site The Investor, which is not a site we've come to know as reliable, so it's not clear how accurate this information is at this point in time.
Intel and Apple may be teaming up to work on 5G hardware, with a rumor from Fast Company suggesting Apple could be planning to use Intel chips exclusively when 5G technology begins rolling out. 5G technology is still a few years off, with carriers planning to begin rolling out fifth-generation mobile networks by 2020.
In the future, Apple designers want to "remove most of the external ports and buttons on the iPhone, including the charger" according to Apple sources that spoke to Bloomberg. Apple considered eliminating the Lightning port in the iPhone X, and could potentially remove it in a later version of the iPhone when wireless charging speeds improve.
As for the more outlandish, Apple is said to be developing an iPhone with a foldable display alongside LG Display, with panel production for an iPhone with a folding display set to kick off in 2020.
For future iPhones, Apple is said to be working on touchless gesture controls and curved screens, features that could launch within three years.