Rumors about Apple's 2019 iPhone lineup.
At a Glance
- Apple is expected to debut refreshed iPhones in September 2019, and rumors about the new devices are already circulating.
Early Rumored Features
- Three sizes
- OLED and LCD displays
- Triple-lens rear camera
- Upgraded TrueDepth camera
- Apple Pencil support?
2019 iPhone Rumors
In 2019, Apple is expected to continue offering iPhones in multiple sizes and at multiple price points to provide customers with choice. 2018 brought the iPhone XS (5.8 inches), the iPhone XS Max (6.5 inches), and the iPhone XR (6.1 inches). The two XS devices have higher price tags starting at $999, while the XR is priced starting at $749.
We're expecting a similar lineup in 2019, perhaps with a continuation of both the iPhone XS and XR devices, with rumors suggesting we'll see 5.8 and 6.5-inch OLED iPhones along with a 6.1-inch LCD iPhone. We don't yet know what Apple will call the new iPhones, but iPhone XI or iPhone 11 are possibilities for the iPhone XS successors. Given that naming is up in the air, we're going to be referring to the upcoming iPhones as the "2019 iPhones" for now.
Rumors about the 2019 iPhones started before the iPhone XS and XR were even announced, and we've heard quite a few details on what we can expect. Design wise, the 2019 iPhone lineup will look similar to the 2018 iPhone lineup, but Apple may be planning to use a new frosted glass design for the back of the devices.
Apple is expected to continue using OLED displays for the 2019 devices, and while some rumors suggest Apple may go with an all OLED lineup, doing away with the LCD displays of the iPhone XR, other rumors believe Apple will stick with LCDs because of the high price of OLED displays.
All 2019 iPhones are likely to adopt upgraded A13 chips from TSMC, Apple's chip supplier. Chip upgrades typically bring improved performance and efficiency, and the A13 will be no different.
Rumors suggest the next-generation 6.5-inch and 5.8-inch OLED iPhones will feature triple-lens rear cameras, while the successor to the iPhone XR will feature a dual-lens camera. We don't know what the triple-lens camera will look like, and Apple is said to be working on multiple prototypes. A triple-lens camera has the potential to include benefits like better 3D sensing for augmented reality purposes, 3x optical zoom capabilities, up from 2x optical zoom in the 2018 iPhones, and better performance in low light.
We may also see a revamped front-facing TrueDepth camera system, with rumors suggesting either a smaller notch, though information is mixed and at least one reliable source has said there will be no design changes to the notch at all. All three of the front-facing cameras in the 2019 iPhones are expected to be 12 megapixels, up from 7 megapixels in the 2018 models.
Apple eliminated 3D Touch in the iPhone XR, replacing it with a new Haptic Touch feature, and rumors have suggested the same thing could happen in the 2019 iPhone lineup, with 3D Touch set to be removed.
There have been some rumors of Apple Pencil support in the 2019 iPhones, which would allow the devices to work with Apple's stylus, but we've heard nothing concrete just yet.
Keep an eye on this roundup, because we'll be updating it regularly with all of the rumors about the 2019 iPhones ahead of their launch. We're expecting to see the 2019 devices debut in September 2019, in line with Apple's traditional yearly iPhone launch schedule.Note: See an error in this roundup or want to offer feedback? Send us an email here.
Alleged Renderings and Part Leaks
Leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer, who has a reputation for sharing details on unreleased Apple devices, has partnered with two different sites to create renderings of what he says the next-generation iPhone will look like based on supply chain leaks. There are two separate sets of renderings because Hemmerstoffer says Apple is working on two possible prototype designs, both of which are said to still be in the EVT or Engineering Validation Test stage.
Apple has allegedly yet to decide on a final design, and both of the below design options are said to be in the running. The device in the first rendering features a large, square-shaped protruding rear camera that houses three lenses in a triangular configuration, a flash, and a microphone.
The device depicted in the rendering looks extremely odd, so much so that we'd normally dismiss it as fake, but Hemmerstoffer has provided reliable smartphone details in the past.
The second rendering features a more mainstream-looking rear camera in a horizontal layout with a flash located around the middle of the three lenses.
A microphone is located below, while the volume buttons are on the left side of the device and the power button is on the right, in line with current devices. At the front, there's a slimmed down notch for the front-facing TrueDepth camera system.
There are indeed supporting rumors that have suggested Apple is planning to introduce a three camera system in at least one 2019 iPhone model, but rumors have not commented on the exact camera configuration and thus none of these renderings can be confirmed as accurate at the current time.
Japanese site Mac Otakara believes Apple's triple-lens camera will use a square-shaped camera arrangement rather than a horizontal camera setup. Renders of the design that Mac Otakara believes will be implemented are below.
An alleged schematic for one of the 2019 iPhone models appears to depict cutouts for a triple-lens camera arranged in an offset manner that would require a square-shaped camera bump. It's not clear if this is an accurate schematic, but it is in line with other leaked triple-lens camera renderings.
An image of an alleged rear chassis for one of the 2019 iPhone models surfaced on Chinese social networking site Weibo in April, appearing to depict cutouts for a triple-lens camera setup.
It's not clear which iPhone the component belongs to, but rumors have suggested that it's the 5.8 and 6.5-inch iPhone XS and XS Max successors that will have triple-lens cameras while the LCD iPhone will use a dual-lens camera.
Case maker molds allegedly designed to create cases for two of the 2019 iPhone models surfaced in April. The molds both feature triple-lens camera arrangements in a square shape, suggesting these could be molds for the 5.8 and 6.5-inch iPhone models. The front looks similar in design to the current 2018 iPhone models.
Apple deviated from its standard naming scheme with the iPhone X (pronounced iPhone 10) in 2017, and in 2018, we got the iPhone XS and the iPhone XR. Apple went from iPhone 8 to iPhone XR (10R) and we never had an iPhone 9.
With the jump to the "X" name, it's difficult to predict what Apple will call the 2019 iPhones. iPhone XI or iPhone 11 are both possibilities, but what comes after "XR" is a mystery we have yet to solve. Apple's iPhone names for the last 11 years are below:
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 - iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR
Apple could opt to go with an entirely different name like it did with the iPhone X, and because Apple uses codenames for development, the company's naming schemes often remain unknown until right before new devices launch.
With no clear picture of what Apple plans to name the devices that will launch in 2019, we will refer to them as the "2019 iPhones" until we get a clearer picture of the company's naming intentions.
The 2019 iPhone lineup is expected to look similar to the 2018 iPhone lineup, with a 5.8-inch iPhone, a 6.5-inch iPhone (the premium model, based on this year's rumors), and a 6.1-inch iPhone (lower cost).
Major design changes are not expected, but Apple is rumored to be planning to use a new frosted glass for the rear of the device, which would be similar to Google's Pixel lineup. Frosted glass will allow Apple to distinguish the 2019 iPhones from the 2018 iPhones.
For the last few years, Apple has been working to bolster its OLED display supply chain for diversification purposes and to cut down its reliance on Samsung, the company that has supplied displays for the iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max.
Apple has mulled a partnership with Japan Display, pushed LG Display to build out its OLED display production facilities, and has purchased equipment to build an OLED panel research and development site in Taiwan.
Apple is said to be aiming for an all OLED lineup at some point in the future, perhaps in 2019, but it's not clear if that will be possible given the high price of OLED displays.
Rumors have disagreed on Apple's 2019 display plans, with some rumors pointing towards an all OLED display and other rumors suggesting Apple will continue to use some LCDs.
It's likely the 2019 iPhone lineup will look like the 2018 lineup, with premium OLED devices offered alongside more affordable LCD options, and that's what we've heard from most rumors so far.
Apple's 2019 iPhones could potentially be thinner and lighter due to the adoption of Samsung-designed OLED display technology called Y-OCTA, which integrates the touchscreen layer into the display panel. Given that the display panel is already a thin component, it's not clear how much thickness reduction we'll see, but apple is likely to use the technology due to its lower cost.
Japanese site Mac Otakara believes that there could be two new iPhones in 2019 with triple-lens camera setups instead of one, one that measures in at 6.1 inches and one that measures in at 6.5 inches, both with OLED displays and slightly thicker bodies. Mac Otakara's info doesn't mesh with other rumors, though, which have suggested the OLED models will come in 5.8 and 6.5 inch sizes like the current iPhone lineup.
Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis, who has a somewhat mixed track record, has suggested that all 2019 iPhones will do away with 3D Touch. Apple did eliminate 3D Touch in the lower-priced 6.1-inch iPhone XR, and the company could be planning to remove the feature entirely in the future.
The Wall Street Journal has also said that all three iPhone models could ship without support for 3D Touch.
TSMC will be the sole supplier of the next-generation "A13" ships that will be used in the 2019 iPhone lineup, and iPhones coming in the future. The A13 is expected to be built on TSMC's 7nm+ package with extreme ultraviolet lithography.
The A13, like all chip upgrades, should bring performance and efficiency improvements.
The Wall Street Journal has confirmed that Apple is planning on introducing a triple-lens camera system in at least one of the iPhones coming in 2019. According to the site, the second-generation iPhone XS Max will feature a three-lens camera, while the successors to the iPhone XS and iPhone XR will continue to use dual-lens cameras.
According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, both the 5.8 and 6.5-inch OLED iPhones, aka the successors to the iPhone XS and XS Max, will both feature triple-lens rear camera setups with a 12-megapixel telephoto lens, a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 12-megapixel super wide-angle lens. The 6.1-inch iPhone XR successor is said to feature a dual-lens rear camera setup rather than a triple-lens setup.
There were some rumors suggesting Apple would introduce 3D depth sensing technology for the rear-facing camera, but that's been delayed until 2020.
A triple-lens rear camera will allow for a larger field of view, a wider zoom range, improved low light performance, and it will capture more pixels. According to Bloomberg Apple is working on a feature that would use that extra pixel data to provide tools for automatically repairing a photo or a video to fit in a subject that "may have accidentally been cut off from the initial shot."
Rumors suggest that Apple is perhaps planning to arrange the three cameras in a square-shaped camera bump on the back of the iPhone, which would require a large camera cutout for iPhone cases. It's not entirely clear yet if this is the layout Apple will use, as there have also been rumors of a horizontal triple-lens camera layout.
Front-Facing TrueDepth Camera System
Rumors suggest Apple is planning to make changes to the front-facing TrueDepth Camera System that enables Face ID in the 2019 iPhones. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes 2019 iPhones will feature a new flood illuminator that will improve Face ID by lowering the impact of the invisible light from the environment.
All three new iPhones coming in 2019 are expected to feature 12-megapixel single-lens front-facing cameras, which will be an improvement over the 7-megapixel camera used in the 2018 iPhone lineup.
Specialized coating techniques for both the front-facing cameras and the super wide-angle camera lens could make the lenses look more inconspicuous.
Apple may be able to introduce a smaller notch by combining the front-facing camera and the Face ID sensors into a single face recognition module. Despite some rumors suggesting a smaller notch or no notch at all, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who often accurately predicts Apple's plans, believes there will be no change to the size of the notch in the 2019 iPhone lineup.
Apple supplier AMS has announced new sensor technology that allows the RBG light and the IR proximity sensor used for the front-facing TrueDepth camera system to be embedded under an OLED display. Apple could potentially be planning to introduce the new sensor tech in its 2019 iPhones, and this would allow Apple to create an iPhone with a smaller Face ID notch.
Apple Pencil Support
Korean site The Investor, which does not have an established track record for accuracy, has suggested Apple is considering offering an Apple Pencil-style stylus alongside the 2019 iPhone models.
It's not clear if this is accurate, but Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is reliable, has said that Apple Pencil support is a possibility for a future iPhone.
Bilateral Wireless Charging
Two-way wireless charging, or bilateral charging, is a feature rumored for the 2019 iPhones. Two-way wireless charging will let the Qi-based iPhones coming in 2019 charge another iPhone or the new AirPods with Wireless Charging Case. You'll essentially be able to charge any Qi-based device with your iPhone, as it will work as a wireless charger itself.
According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, 2019 iPhones will feature larger batteries that will offer longer battery life and support new capabilities such as the bilateral wireless charging.
Kuo says that battery capacities for the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max successor could increase by 10 to 15 percent, while the battery capacity of the 5.8-inch OLED iPhone XS successor could grow by 20 to 25 percent. The iPhone XR successor isn't expected to see much of a gain, though, with Kuo predicting growth of 0 to 5 percent.
Ultra-Wide Band Support
The 2019 iPhone lineup could include support for Ultra-Wide Band, which would offer improvements to indoor positioning and navigation.
There have been mixed rumors about Apple potentially transitioning to USB-C in the 2019 iPhone lineup, with some rumors indicating a swap to the new connector while others suggest Apple will stick with Lightning.
Japanese site Mac Otakara originally said the 2019 iPhones could potentially feature a USB-C port, based on supply chain sources, but later shared another rumor suggesting the 2019 iPhone lineup will continue to use a Lightning connector.
According to Steve Hemmerstoffer, who allegedly has details on 2019 iPhone prototypes, the devices do not feature a USB-C port and instead use Lightning ports.
According to Bloomberg, Apple is testing some versions of the 2019 iPhone lineup that include a USB-C connector instead of a Lightning port. It's not known if the company's final plans will include a transition to USB-C, but Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple is going to stick with Lightning for the 2019 iPhone lineup.
18W USB-C Power Adapter?
Japanese site Mac Otakara has said that Apple could include an 18W USB-C power adapter with the 2019 iPhones along with a USB-C to Lightning cable, which would allow for fast charging out of the box. It's not clear if this is accurate, however, as a different report from Mac Otakara said Apple would continue to include a 5W charger with a USB-A to Lightning cable with the 2019 iPhone lineup.
Barclays analyst Blame Curtis believes Apple may be planning to implement support for Wi-Fi 6, aka 802.11ax, in the 2019 iPhone lineup.
Wi-Fi 6 brings higher data rates, increased capacity, better performance in dense environments like concerts and sporting events, and improved power efficiency to better conserve battery on smartphones, tablets, and other battery-powered devices.
The next-generation version of the iPhone XR may feature a 4x4 MIMO antenna design, allowing for faster LTE speeds. The current iPhone XR only supports 2x2 MIMO, compared to 4x4 MIMO in the XS and XS Max. With the change, all three iPhones in 2019 could feature the same LTE equipment.
4GB RAM for iPhone XR Successor
The successor to the iPhone XR could feature 4GB RAM, an upgrade from the 3GB RAM in the 2018 iPhone XR.
We've heard several other rumors about features that could come to iPhones in the years beyond 2019.
Taiwanese site DigiTimes believes that Apple will release three OLED iPhones in 2020, in 5.42, 6.06, and 6.67 inches.
Laser-Equipped 3D Rear Camera
In 2020, Apple is said to be planning to add a laser-powered time-of-flight 3D rear camera that will result in significant improvements to AR experiences to the iPhone.
A time-of-flight (ToF) camera system uses a laser to calculate the time that it takes for the laser to bounce off of objects in a room, using the data to create an accurate 3D image of the surrounding area. This allows for more accurate depth perception and better placement of virtual objects, and it will also result in photos better able to capture depth.
The camera will be able to scan areas up to 15 feet from the device. Apple's front-facing TrueDepth camera uses 3D technology but because it's infrared and not laser-powered, it only works at distances of 25 to 50 centimeters. Sony could be Apple's supplier for the new system, with Apple in talks with Sony over sensor tests.
The camera will be a triple-lens camera, with Apple also planning to introduce improved photo capturing tools.
Apple was originally planning to use Intel's 5G chips in its 2020 iPhones, due to an ongoing lawsuit with Qualcomm but Intel exited the 5G chip market. Apple settled its disagreement with Qualcomm and will now be using Qualcomm's 5G chips in its 2020 iPhone lineup.
Apple may also use some modem chips from Samsung in select markets where Sub-6GHz networks are more popular for its 2020 5G iPhones.
The iPhone XR successor in the 2019 iPhone may be the last iPhone to feature an LCD display as Apple is said to be "likely" to transition to an all-OLED lineup starting in 2020. According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple will adopt OLED displays to "allow for more flexible handset design."
Apple designers are said to be aiming to remove most of the external ports and buttons on the iPhone for a clean, streamlined device. Apple is expected to work towards this goal with each iPhone iteration, and the first port to go could be the Lightning port once wireless charging technology improves.
As for the more outlandish, Apple is said to be developing an iPhone with a foldable display in partnership with LG Display, with panel production for an iPhone with a folding display set to kick off in 2020. Apple is also said to be working on touchless gesture controls and curved screens, technologies that could launch within three years.
Rumors suggest TSMC will manufacture the 5-nanometer chips Apple will use in its 2020 iPhone lineup. The 5-nanometer process will produce chips that are smaller, faster, and more battery efficient due to improved thermal management.
If Apple sticks with its standard yearly iPhone upgrade cycle, we will see the new 2019 iPhones in September 2019.