With Apple preparing its iPhone 11 release, even the next generation branding has yet to be settled. It is possible that Apple will release three iPhone devices in 2018, while if the Californian corporation sticks to two handsets then it is already believed that the larger phablet-sized phone could be named the iPhone X Plus. This device could then take its place in the Apple portfolio alongside iPhone 11 releases.
But what can we expect from Apple devices later this year? Well, the first question and principle that Apple must tackle with its smartphones in 2018 is the question of whether to deliver something big, or stick to affordable upgrades to the successful iPhone X. Early rumors have suggested that the iPhone 11 could be a major step forward over the iPhone X, and that this is underlined by Apple scrapping its premium smartphone after only 12 months.
However, in mitigation it should be stated that the iPhone X was already pretty expensive for a smartphone at an entry-level price of $999, and Apple would be somewhat brave to increase the pricing of the iPhone 11 or iPhone X Plus further still. Any four-figure sum for a smartphone would be too much for some consumers, and even though Apple enjoys unprecedented brand loyalty this would definitely test the resolve of Apple fans.
Apple could also include the ‘S series’ nomenclature that has been utilized in previous generations to indicate a mid-range device. This will obviously depend on its intentions for the iPhone 11 and iPhone X Plus, but it could see branding of iPhone XS and XS Plus used instead.
One of the very early rumors related to the next generation iPhone is that it will be significantly larger than the existing range. This would be a real boon for consumers, as the iPhone X already featured the largest smartphone screen ever to be included in an Apple product. But Bloomberg has suggested that the iPhone 11 will feature a 6.5-inch OLED model, which is sure to get tongues wagging.
Meanwhile, there will also be a 6-inch LCD version, as Apple looks to satisfy the zeitgeist for ever larger mobile screens. Apparently, it will still be necessary for Apple to produce some LCD variants in 2018, owing to supply issues related to OLED components. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has already confirmed this rumor.
It has also been tentatively suggested recently that the next generation iPhone X Plus could be cheaper than previous Apple releases. This would obviously be extremely attractive to consumers, but must be filed under ‘unlikely’ for the time being. It is far more probable that Apple will either freeze prices, or try to restrain the iPhone 11 generation to a small increase over the iPhone X.
However, the aforementioned Kuo has predicted in his writings that a 6.1-inch LCD model will cost between $649 and $749 later this year. Certainly, it can be said with some authority that Apple has never previously followed a policy of producing affordable kit; witness the price tag for its HomePod speaker, for example.
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Another suggestion is that the iPhone 11 generation will feature Face ID in all models, with Apple migrating its TrueDepth camera system to all three phones coming in 2018. This has been reported in several Chinese publications, including the Economic Daily News.
This would enable Apple to deploy facial recognition technology across all three models of its two 2018 series, meaning that the days of the fingerprint sensor could be numbered. If this were the case, it would obviously sound the death knell for the established Touch ID system.
However, other whispers suggest that the fingerprint scanner could be saved after all, with Apple including a virtual unit in its next-generation mobiles. Both Samsung and Apple have been trying to logistically solve the problem of embedding this technology within the display for quite some time, and it could be Apple that actually delivers this innovation first.
Indeed, the technology has now been implemented in the Vivo X20 Plus UD. This smartphone appeared on the Chinese market in January, with its new Clear ID system.
iOS 12 will also form a critical part of the Apple product portfolio for 2018, and it is believed that this key software release will particularly focus on system performance over innovative new features. Rumors from close to the Apple supply chain suggest that code quality will be prioritized over new features, meaning that the next iPhone release will benefit from slick performance.
Considering that the iPhone 11 and iPhone X Plus generation may benefit from larger displays, it has also been suggested that Apple could bump up the resolution of the devices once more. Considering that the iPhone X already featured quad HD, this would almost certainly mean that a 4K resolution iPhone appeared in 2018.
However, this is another rumor that can probably be considered unlikely. Samsung has produced quad HD mobiles for quite some time, yet it has decided against introducing a 4K smartphone as of yet. This suggests that Apple will freeze the screen resolution of its largest mobile this year, even if the iPhone 11 / iPhone X Plus does feature a 6.5-inch display.
One thing that hasn’t changed, at least according to the rumor mill, is Apple’s intentions for the release date of its 2018 smartphones. With the company having established a release schedule in Q3, we can once more expect the iPhone 11 to appear in September. However, if Apple does indeed decide to release three separate devices this year, we could see another staggered release, meaning that the premium model is made available in October.