Rumors about the 2019 flagship iPhones have been circulating since even before the iPhone XS and XS Max launch. This year was an ‘S’ upgrade, and fans were expecting Apple would keep the design overhaul for 2019. That’s unlikely to happen, suggests one of the most respected Apple analysts out there. According to TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors), the 2019 iPhones will have the same screen sizes as this year’s models.
2019 flagship iPhones to look like this year’s models
Kuo has sent out a research note about Apple supplier Luxshare Precision’s market share projections from 2017 through 2019. The report includes a chart suggesting that the 2019 flagship iPhones will be available with 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch OLED screens and a 6.1-inch LCD screen. That’s the same lineup as the iPhone XS (5.8-inch OLED screen), XS Max (6.5-inch OLED display), and iPhone XR (6.1-inch LCD panel).
The report indicates that Apple won’t condense the iPhone series or bring new screen sizes next year. Ming-Chi Kuo is well-connected within Apple’s Asian supply chain, and he has a terrific track record predicting Apple’s future moves. Previously, Korean site ETNews had claimed that all three iPhones coming next year could feature an OLED display, which contradicts Kuo’s report.
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Other expected features
Ming-Chi Kuo also predicted that the next year’s iPhones would not make any improvements in water-resistance. It means they will come with the same IP68 rating as the current XS and XS Max and no improvement in depth rating. Quoting Kuo, the Economic Daily News said, “The new iPhone waterproof specifications will remain unchanged next year.”
The cheaper iPhone XR and last year’s iPhone X have an IP67 rating, which allows a phone to remain submerged in up to one meter deep water for 30 minutes. Unless you have purchased the AppleCare+ protection, Apple still doesn’t cover water damage under its warranty, even though the latest iPhones have waterproofing capabilities.
It’s unclear what the 2019 flagship iPhones would be called. Last year, we saw the iPhone X and this year was the ‘S’ cycle. So, next year we could see the iPhone 11 (or XI). But what will the iPhone XR successor be called? Also, keeping the numbering system for a long time would seem almost comical. Can you imagine an iPhone 23 or iPhone 37? Another way is to ditch the numbering scheme and call new models iPhone Pro or Apple iPhone. Or just slap the screen size and year with iPhone, just like it has done with Macs and iPads.
According to Deutsche Securities analyst Jialin Lu, at least one of the 2019 flagship iPhones would feature a triple camera system. The current iPhone XS and XS Max take great pictures, but they failed to beat Huawei’s triple camera P20 Pro in DxOMark’s tests. Apple’s biggest rival Samsung is also expected to adopt the triple camera setup on the Galaxy S10 and Note 10 next year. The Cupertino company would want to at least keep up with rivals, if not beat them.
Among other things, the 2019 flagship iPhones are rumored to run Apple’s next-gen A13 processor built exclusively by Taiwan-based TSMC. The tech giant could also add Apple Pencil support, at least to the giant 6.5-inch OLED model. We also expect the next year’s iPhones to feature a revamped TrueDepth camera system for better security and augmented reality.
iPhone XR to drive sales growth this holiday season
Ming-Chi Kuo told investors in another research note that the iPhone XR would see much better replacement demand than he anticipated earlier. The 6.1-inch iPhone XR would go on pre-orders on Oct.19 and shipments will begin on October 26th. Kuo says its demand will be even better than iPhone 8 last year. As a result, he has revised his iPhone XR shipment estimates for the fourth quarter from 33-35 million units to 36-38 million units.
Overall, the iPhone XR will help Apple ship 75-80 million iPhones during the Oct-Dec quarter. What works in the XR’s favor is a larger display, a longer battery life, dual-SIM support, an iPhone X-like form factor, and a relatively cheaper price tag. Kuo predicts demand for the iPhone XR will be so strong that it would continue to drive sales even in the first quarter of 2019, which is historically a slow quarter.
Traditionally, the iPhone shipments decline 45-50% in January-March quarter compared to the Oct-Dec period. But Kuo estimates the iPhone XR shipments will decline only 25-30% QoQ to 27-30 million units in Jan-March quarter. Consequently, total iPhone shipments in Jan-March of 2019 would be 10% higher than the same quarter of 2018. The iPhone XR has been priced at $749 in the US.