Technology

iPhone 9 release date, specs, features and rumors

UPDATE 08-21-2017: With the iPhone 8 on the horizon, one designer has taken a glimpse further into the future of the potential iPhone 9. Whether Apple will choose to brand the 2018 version of its iconic smartphone this way remains to be seen, but it is certainly a distinct possibility.

The iPhone 8 is expected to be a major revolution in the iPhone concept, not least because the design of the unit is expected to be significantly different from previous releases. So Apple will certainly have its work cut out with the iPhone 9, if it is to deliver a significantly different unit from previous releases.

iPhone 9 release date
FirmBee / Pixabay

iPhone 9 concept

And the new iPhone 9 design in question imagines how this major smartphone may turn out. “Prince Studio,” a graphic designer from Tel Aviv, has based this concept on a hypothetical iOS 12 software update, with the design of the iPhone 9 obviously closely linked to this mobile operating system.

This soothsayer imagines a raft of new features will be included in the iPhone 9, with a redesigned user interface top of the list. Apple is certainly always looking for new improvements in this department, and it wouldn’t be surprising if there was a major overhaul of the iPhone UI in the foreseeable future.

Elsewhere, Prince Studio also suggests that Apple could introduce an always-on display in the iPhone 9 generation, akin to those already included in Android devices. It is also suggested that a quick switch feature may allow Apple users to rapidly oscillate between applications running on the phone, while a new feature will prevent other users from utilizing all installed apps.

With the iPhone 9 widely expected to break through the psychologically significant $1,000 barrier, it is almost a certainty that the iPhone 9 will cost in excess of this figure. There is still a possibility that the iPhone 8 may be available at a more affordable price point than this, but if this is the case then the $1,000 figure will surely be breached when the iPhone 9 is released.

Black pixel innovation

Naturally, the iPhone 9 concept includes an OLEDs display; hardly a major revelation considering that the iPhone 8 will almost certainly include this feature. Prince Studio imagines that this screen will be capable of switching a black pixels of entirely, effectively saving 25 percent of the battery life of the unit. This innovative concept would certainly be welcome, considering that Apple releases have been continually criticized for the relatively paltry battery life that they deliver.

And the concept also provide several clues to how Apple could improve the most important product in its range when the iPhone 9 is released. The iOS 12-driven concept suggests that Touch ID will make a reappearance – assuming that it is phased out with the iPhone 8 – providing a unique app locking capability.

For example, when a user of this iPhone 9 concept attempts to access messages, the smartphone will prompt the user to scan their finger in a particular area of the display. It was strongly anticipated that Apple would introduce this feature with the forthcoming iPhone 8, but the logistical complexity of including a fingerprint scanner integrated within the display means that its inclusion is unlikely.

Proprietary processor

Aside from this concept of the iPhone 9, we also know a a few other useful titbits of information regarding this critical smartphone release. Apple supplier Imagination Technologies recently announced that Apple was jettisoning its technology in favour of its own proprietary solutions, because it needs “unique and differentiating intellectual property for its products.” This suggests that the iPhone 9 will be the first smartphone to benefit from this new system, and the general consensus of opinion is that Apple will deliver something outstanding with its own internal graphics processor.

With LG involved in the new L-shaped battery anticipated for the iPhone 9, it is also believed that the smartphone will deliver a whole new raft of wireless Internet standards. 5G Technology should be at the very least imminent by the time that the iPhone 9 emerges, which will provide Apple with a raft of new options for delivering lightning fast Wi-Fi.

By the time that the iPhone 9 is released, and we can also expect a raft of spec upgrades. With the iPhone 8 still not available, it is difficult to base any guesses regarding the iPhone 9 on existing specifications. We don’t yet know what Apple will deliver with the iPhone 8, and this makes it difficult to guess precisely what will be included in the iPhone 9.

But with Apple believed to be upgrading the 5.8-inch OLED display in the iPhone 8 to Quad HD resolution, this could be pushed further still when the iPhone 9 is released. The tantalizing prospect of a 4K resolution iPhone 9 would be a distinct possibility, even though Apple’s great rival Samsung has yet to provide this screen resolution to the Galaxy range. Samsung has, of course, been more focused on high specs in general, and display technology in particular, and it would thus be a little surprising if Apple was to beat Samsung to the 4K punch.

Regardless of this, we can undoubtedly expect an outstanding iPhone 9 release when this smartphone hits the stores, even if this is more likely to be in 2020 than next year. With Apple marking the tenth anniversary of the iPhone range this year with a major upgrade, we are more likely to see an S-badged update next year.

With around four months to wait until the launch of the iPhone 8, it seems as if attention is starting to turn to its successor. That’s right, with no official confirmation of this year’s handset, the rumor mill, now thinks it’s time to talk about a possible iPhone 9. Which, if it’s in development, shouldn’t hit the shelves until at least September 2018. So, whether you think it’s a little premature or not, here’s what is currently being said about the handset.

iPhone 9 plans

Before we begin, it’s obvious, but, we will say it anyway. Apple has given no indication that the iPhone 9 is in its thoughts, in planning, or if that is the smartphone’s actual name. So, in short, take the following with a pinch of salt.

Release Date

Over the years Apple has followed a somewhat predictable release schedule. For example, its “S” devices usually follow major handset updates. The iPhone 6s came after the redesigned iPhone 6, and the 5s came after the iPhone 5 with Touch ID. This year, however, the rumor mill would have you believe this tried and tested pattern could change.

Some predictions, suggest Apple is about to launch three new devices in 2017, the 7s, 7s Plus and the iPhone 8. Now, if that does happen, it’s highly likely that an iPhone 9 would launch in 2018. Although, if that doesn’t happen and Apple stays with what it knows, the 8 could launch next year, and the 9 could be as far away as 2020.

Specs

Right now, even for the rumor mill, it’s a little early to be speculating about the internal components of the iPhone 9. However, one thing is for certain, and that is Apple partner Imagination won’t be designing the GPU’s. Instead, Apple will be taking it in-house

As for further speculation, there isn’t much; this year’s device is expected to run on a 10-nanometer A11 chip. So, as a future extrapolation of that, could the iPhone 9 run on an A12? Right now, it’s said that Apple is focussing on the efficiency of its chips. Meaning that it wants the A11 to be faster, lighter, and quicker to charge. So, by the time an A12 comes about, it is expected that the company will have almost perfected this drive towards true efficiency.

Moving onto RAM, iPhone’s have been consistently matching or even outpacing flagship Android handsets for some time. For which some find that to be unusual due to them having less RAM than their Android counterparts. One such recent comparison pitted the recently released Galaxy S8 against the iPhone 7 Plus. This speed test revealed that the 7 Plus bested the S8, even though it has only 3GB of RAM compared to the 4GB in the S8. You can find out more here.

So, we’re not expecting to see a 6GB of RAM touting iPhone 9, instead, if the A12 chip is extremely efficient, we would expect 5GB at the most. What else could we see?

  • Touch ID sensor embedded into the display
  • iOS 12 with Siri behaving more like and advanced AI
  • Iris and Face scanning security technologies
  • Vertical dual 3D cameras on rear
  • Augmented Reality Features

Features

Recent reports have indicated that Apple is planning ahead for future changes in its display technology usage. As such, Samsung may be supplying a staggering 180-million OLED panels for the iPhone 9. South Korean site, The Bell, indicates that these orders are to guarantee supply for two possible variants of the device. With each variant sporting different size displays. These OLED panels are said to be of the 5.28-inch and 6.46-inch varieties, meaning the iPhone 9 could be radically different.

One additional feature could see the handset have what are called environmental sensors. A recent report by AppleInsider relates to a patent application which Apple submitted explains what these sensors could do. In theory, they would be able to analyze air or liquid around the user and analyze carbon monoxide, oxygen, and temperature levels.

However, the main goal of this possible future iPhone 9 technology is to be able to warn its user if toxic gasses and other substances are in the vicinity.

iPhone 9 futuristic design
Source: USPTO

Design

Earlier this year we reported about an Apple patent, that described a portable device with a flexible OLED display. Now, that may not sound too exciting, but, it also talks about how the display would be housed within two hollow casing. From which the flick of a switch would unfurl the OLED display, locking it into place with slats. Furthermore, the display is retractable, which means it can be recoiled automatically into the hollow casings, again with the flick of a switch.

As for the features, you would generally find on a modern smartphone, such as the speakers and camera lenses. If this patent is referring to an iPhone 9 design, they would be mounted somewhere on the hollow casings. With the speakers being placed as far apart as possible, as would the camera’s to be able to capture stereoscopic images.

Will this patent ultimately lead to an iPhone 9 of this nature? We seriously doubt it, as some of the technologies are not available. So, a 2018 handset looking like this is a no, no.

Price

If nothing drastically changes with Apple’s pricing model, you can expect the iPhone 9 to be somewhat more expensive than the iPhone 8. However, that price could still be more than you’ve ever had to pay for a smartphone so far. Why? Because Goldman Sachs says, the iPhone 8 in its 128GB and 256GB variants could cost between $1,000 and $1,100 USD. Which would make it the most expensive Apple handset so far.

So, if that’s anything to go by, an iPhone 9, with advanced features and tech, could push the price higher.

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