Now that the iPhone X is behind us, consumers, the rumor mill, and analysts have started obsessing themselves over its successor. No one knows for sure what it would be called. For the sake of convenience, the rumor mill refers to it as iPhone XI for now. Based on recent leaks and rumors, folks at iDropNews have come up with an interesting iPhone XI concept that imagines what this year’s flagship iPhone would look like.
iPhone XI concept highlights the flush camera, smaller notch
The iPhone X is a bezel-less phone. The only thing you’d notice on the front panel other than the display is the top ‘notch.’ The iPhone XI concept has made bezels on the sides, top and bottom slimmer than they were on the iPhone X. Designers at iDropNews have also made the notch smaller than before. See for yourself in the image below. The device on the left is the iPhone X and the one on the right is the iPhone XI concept.
It would be incredibly challenging for Apple to reduce the size of the notch as it houses several key components such as the microphone, ear speaker, the TrueDepth camera setup, and the RGB camera sensor. Apple is reportedly working with LG to combine the TrueDepth camera and the RGB sensor into a single camera module to make the notch slimmer. But the technology is expected to debut in 2019 at the earliest.
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The iPhone X users have complained about the protruding rear camera, which Apple might address with the iPhone XI. The concept shows a rear camera setup that is flush with the glass panel. iDropNews says it seems like a “no-brainer” considering Apple’s design aesthetic and minimalist philosophy.
Dual-SIM support and Touch ID
The concept renders depict a dual-SIM tray for increased usability. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted that at least one of the 2018 flagship iPhones would offer dual-SIM support. Though dual-SIM is not popular in the US, it is one of the most important features for consumers in markets like China and India. I have purchased three smartphones in the last couple of years, and all of them had dual-SIM functionality.
The renders imagine that Apple would bring back the much-loved Touch ID fingerprint sensor with the iPhone XI. But it would be implemented in a side power button rather than on a physical home button. Though Face ID is incredibly fast and secure, a large number of iPhone users still prefer the Touch ID.
A dual-directional camera
Internally, the iPhone XI would feature the next-generation A-series processor along with upgraded modems from both Intel and Qualcomm. The new modems would offer 4×4 MIMO support for enhanced LTE transmission. Even more interesting is the “dual-directional” camera that would allow only one set of TrueDepth camera sensors “to be used in both a front-facing and rear-facing manner.” It would require Apple to add a 360-degree or a wide-angle fisheye lens to the camera system. It would allow the iPhone XI to offer augmented reality and Face ID features to both the front and rear cameras.
Apple to discontinue iPhone X this summer due to poor sales
According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple would launch three new iPhones in September this year. One would be the so-called iPhone XI that would have the same form factor as the iPhone X. The second device would be a larger 6.5-inch iPhone X Plus. The third one would sport a 6.1-inch LCD screen, and its price tag would be similar to the current iPhone 8. The other two models would cost upward of $1,000. All three of them are expected to feature the Face ID facial recognition system.
The iPhone X is a powerful and beautifully-designed smartphone, but it isn’t selling well after the holiday shopping season. Most Wall Street analysts expect the iPhone X sales to fall dramatically in the January-March quarter due to its high price. Credit Suisse says Apple would be able to ship only 19 million iPhone X units in the current quarter. The Economic Daily New claims Apple has also reduced orders at suppliers, anticipating weaker than expected demand in the new year.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has told clients that Apple was going to discontinue the iPhone X this summer when the 2018 flagship models enter mass production. It means the iPhone X wouldn’t be available as an affordable alternative to the newest models coming out later this year and in 2019. Kuo predicts Apple would ship 18 million iPhone X units in the current quarter. The anniversary model’s features would roll over to the upcoming iPhones. Kuo did not mention what would happen to the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.