Apple is set to unveil the iPhone X successor, dubbed iPhone XI for now, in just a couple of months. Ahead of the iPhone XI launch, BlueFin Research has told clients that Apple would discontinue the iPhone X and iPhone SE to focus on the next-gen models. The research firm senses massive “pent-up demand” for the upcoming flagship. Demand for the iPhone XI will be so strong that Apple will manufacture 91 million units of 2018 iPhones this year. The tech giant will produce another 92 million units in the first half of 2019, predicts BlueFin Research.
Why are consumers and Wall Street firms so excited about the 2018 flagship iPhones? The rumor mill claims the new models will look almost identical to last year’s iPhone X. Let’s dive into how different the iPhone XI will be from its predecessors to understand consumer excitement for them.
Little difference on the outside
Last year’s iPhone X introduced a revolutionary design that was never seen before on an iPhone. Leaked photos of display panels suggest that the iPhone XI will stick to the iPhone X-like design. Former KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts there will be three models this year, and all of them will carry over the iPhone X design. It means they will have the same bezel-less design and display notch as the 10th-anniversary model.
The back panel will be made of all glass to facilitate wireless charging. There will be a normal-sized iPhone XI with a 5.8-inch OLED panel, a larger iPhone XI Plus with a 6.5-inch OLED screen, and a third model with a 6.1-inch LCD screen. Compared to iPhone X, we could see more color options this year.
A lot of changes on the inside
The upcoming flagship may not look much different from its predecessor on the outside, but it is going to boast some cool hardware upgrades. For instance, the iPhone XI Plus is said to have a pixel density of 480-500ppi compared to the iPhone X’s 458ppi. It means the new flagship will have a much sharper display that would deliver a better viewing experience. All the three models will retain the Face ID and Animoji features from the iPhone X.
According to MySmartPrice, the upcoming models will be powered by Apple’s A12 processor. TSMC has already started producing the next-gen chips based on its 7nm process. The 7nm chips will be up to 20% faster and 40% more energy efficient than 10nm chips like A11 Bionic.
Both the OLED variants will get a higher 4GB RAM compared to 3GB in the iPhone X. The LCD model will have only 3GB RAM, claims Kuo. Since the LCD iPhone will cater to the price-sensitive segment but still have expensive features like Face ID, Apple is said to remove the 3D Touch functionality from the device to keep its costs down. According to Kuo, its pixel density will also be lower than the OLED variants at 320-330ppi.
Ming-Chi Kuo has learned from supply chain sources that the 5.8-inch iPhone XI’s battery will be 10% larger than the iPhone X’s 2716mAh. The iPhone XI Plus is said to pack a huge 3,400mAh battery, representing a 25% increase in capacity compared to iPhone X. The larger packs should enhance the battery life of new models.
The iPhone XI was recently spotted on Geekbench. The listing confirmed that it would pack 4GB RAM. The higher RAM coupled with a faster 2.49GHz hexa-core processor will prove useful when playing games, multitasking, or running intensive editing apps. The test unit scored 4,673 points in single-core and 10,912 points in multi-core tests, higher than the iPhone X’s 4,206 and 10,128 points respectively. The Geekbench listing is based on pre-release hardware, so there is a good chance the final hardware will deliver even better results in benchmark tests.
How about a triple camera on the iPhone XI Plus?
Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that the LCD model would feature only a single camera on the back while the OLED variants would get a dual camera setup. However, the Huawei P20 Pro with its triple rear cameras has changed the dynamics of the smartphone industry. The P20 Pro is currently the world’s best smartphone camera, and rivals are rumored to add triple cameras to their own flagship models to catch up with Huawei.
KB Securities analyst Kim Dong-won recently told clients that at least one variant of 2018 iPhones will get a triple camera setup to take on Huawei’s P20 Pro. It is unclear how Apple will use the third camera. It could be used for enhanced optical zoom and augmented reality. Apple has been particularly bullish on AR.
The upcoming iPhones would also feature an upgraded selfie camera. A recent patent filed by Apple suggests the company wants the front camera to be able to sense depth.
Buy phones better than iPhone X at a lower price
The iPhone X was expensive. Ridiculously expensive, but it was cool. A lot of people turned away from the anniversary iPhone primarily because of its price. So, Apple is going to make the upcoming iPhones a little more affordable. According to Asian publication Economic Daily News, the 5.8-inch iPhone XI would start at $899, down from $999 for the iPhone X. That’s the kind of deal I would want. The iPhone XI will be better than its predecessor in almost every department, and cost $100 less.
The 6.5-inch iPhone XI Plus is said to cost $999, while the LCD variant would be priced between $650 and $850 depending on storage and whether you want the single-SIM or dual-SIM model. Ming-Chi Kuo says the LCD iPhone will be available in both single-SIM and dual-SIM variants, though the dual-SIM model is unlikely to be available in the US due to resistance from wireless carriers.
The upgraded hardware specs and lucrative pricing could be the reasons why BlueFin Research expects massive demand for the upcoming models.