Apple’s iPhone 8 and 8 Plus seem to be a dud from day one. That’s because consumers are more excited about the 10th-anniversary iPhone X (pronounced as ‘iPhone ten’) than the iPhone 8. Now that this year’s iPhones have been unveiled, the attention has started shifting to Apple’s 2018 smartphone lineup. One question that must have popped up in the minds of most Apple fans is: Will the 2018 flagship be called iPhone 11, iPhone 9, or something else?

Apple iPhone 11 or iPhone 9
Image Source: Apple.com (screenshot)

Apple takes a giant leap in naming pattern this year

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are essentially iPhone 7S and 7S Plus. The only way to explain why Apple skipped the “7S” moniker is the marketing strategy. The phones have the same design as last year’s handsets. They offer only minor upgrades. Apple didn’t want to go up against Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 with the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus monikers. Consumers would have perceived the new iPhones as being inferior/older than Samsung’s flagship models.

The anniversary edition phone is called iPhone X, effectively skipping the iPhone 9. The name ‘iPhone ten’ positions the device far above the iPhone 8. It will make people buying the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus feel like they are not getting the latest and greatest iPhone. Of course, the iPhone X is an incredibly beautiful and powerful smartphone. But it will put Apple in a complex situation when deciding the names for the 2018 flagship models. Will Apple bring back the ‘S’ moniker next year?

Apple’s first smartphone introduced in 2007 was called the iPhone. The subsequent models were named iPhone 3G, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6S, and so on. The tech giant has been using the ‘S’ moniker for the smaller upgrades every other year since 2010. Of course, 2017 has turned out to be an exception. It is unclear whether Apple will introduce an ‘S’ model next year.

Neither iPhone 11 nor iPhone 9. Here’s what the 2018 devices could be called

If the successors to the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are called iPhone 8S and 8S Plus, they will be perceived as being inferior to the iPhone X, which would be around a year old by then. Even if the next year’s models are called the iPhone 9 and 9 Plus, the naming would suggest no upgrade over the ‘iPhone ten.’ There will also be a successor to the iPhone X. What would that be called – iPhone 11 or iPhone XS?

Apple may already have a solution to the next year’s naming conundrum. Just like the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro, the 2018 iPhones could simply be called iPhone, iPhone Air, and iPhone Pro. The tech giant could also refer to them as 4.7-inch iPhone, 5.5-inch iPhone, and 5.8-inch iPhone – or whatever the screen size the 2018 iPhones will be available in.

All the 2018 iPhones to have OLED screens

The Cupertino company starts planning new iPhones years before officially unveiling them. It narrows down the focus, adds new features or drops obsolete ones as the phones move closer to the release. Apple has already been working on the 2018 smartphones. Months before the iPhone 8 and iPhone X were announced, Japanese blog Nikkei reported that Apple would unveil three new iPhones in 2018 and all of them would sport OLED screens.

The current iPhone X is facing production issues related to the OLED panels. But Apple is expected to bring in another OLED supplier, most likely LG Display, by next year. Nikkei says Apple will not be able to shift all the iPhones to OLED if suppliers fail to ramp up production in time. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will continue to sell until at least 2019. It means LCD-based iPhones will still be around for at least a couple of years.

Will Face ID be added to all the future iPhones?

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told investors earlier this week that if the Face ID on the iPhone X gets a good consumer response, the company could add the technology to all its 2018 smartphones. The analyst said Apple was still struggling with the under-display fingerprint sensor technology. The front-facing TrueDepth camera can have “many innovative applications,” and Face ID is just one of them.

Apple is facing implementation issues with the under-display Touch ID because the 3D Touch module makes the display panel thicker. It affects the scan-through and accuracy of the in-display fingerprint scanner. Even if Apple adds Face ID to all its 2018 smartphones including the iPhone 11 (or whatever Apple calls it), the company will continue to develop the under-display Touch ID.

Rumors about the in-display fingerprint scanner have been doing rounds for the past several months. The technology was rumored to appear in the 10th-anniversary iPhone, but it was dropped due to implementation issues. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 were also rumored to feature an in-display fingerprint sensor. But the Korean company dropped the idea because of implementation and security issues. Samsung is expected to add the feature to the Galaxy Note 9 that will debut in the second half of 2018.

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