Well, folks, 2019 is here and although we’ve got months of waiting before the next generation of iPhones hits us — there are already rumors about them floating about the Web. Never too early for those if your device is hot enough, we guess.
As every year, we expect the iPhone XI (or however Apple decides to call it this time around) to be announced in September. But, already, we have some juicy tidbits of information about them. Let’s gather it all up!
In 2017, Apple launched the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus with a design very, very similar to what we have been getting for the past 4 years. Alongside those two, the company also announced the iPhone X — the first fresh look with radical new changes. Then, in 2018, we saw another trio of new iPhones. This time, all three have the “new” design language and they are the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max.
According to rumors and analysts, Apple intends to stick to the triple phone plan this year as well. We have no idea what they are going to be named, but the rumor mill currently calls them iPhone XI, iPhone XI Max, and iPhone XIR — the respective successors to the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.
The iPhone 6 - iPhone 8 era showed us that Apple isn’t super-interested in changing its device design all too often. Similarly to its computer and tablet lines, it’s confident that its designs can stand the test of time over periods of 4 years or more. And early reports do say that we won’t be seeing a major change in how the 2019 iPhones are going to look.
Earlier in the year, there was some hope for a smaller notch — when a major Apple supplier announced that it has found a way to implement an RGB sensor and an IR proximity sensor under the active pixels of a smartphone’s display, this led to speculation that Apple might shrink the size of the monobrow at the top of the iPhone XI’s screen. However, as the months rolled by and more and more stuff leaked, it's starting to look like we won't see much of a change to the iPhone's front.
Other hopeful reports stated that Cupertino is not only interested in hiding the notch sensors behind the display — allegedly, Apple was also dabbling in under-the-glass fingerprint scanner technology. However, we haven't heard much about that since and, knowing Apple, we believe it's safe to say the company will prefer to stick only to Face ID going forward. Especially since in-display-fingerprint tech isn't quite there yet.
As far as display sizes go — we've no reason to believe there will be a change anything in that department. In fact, analysts report that the company is planning to keep the same combo — 5.8-inch OLED, 6.1-inch LCD, and 6.5-inch OLED screens on the iPhone XI, iPhone XIR, and iPhone XI Max, respectively. However, there's one interesting tidbit — the XR line might also switch to the OLED technology, which means it might get the higher resolution, super-deep blacks, and thinner bezels of its more expensive siblings. Now that would be something, but we feel it might be wishful thinking. We'll keep our ear to the ground for that one.
What about the camera lump?
We have been getting a steady streams of camera-related leaks recently. Allegedly, the iPhone XI and iPhone XI Max will get a third lens on their camera modules.
The Internet was not all too pleased about the appearance of that and there was a bit of a panic online. Soon after, rumors of another prototype, with a horizontally-alligned camera at the top center of the device’s back surfaced. However, it appears as if the latter has been scrapped, since all of the leaks lately keep showing us the square-shaped bump.
What will the third camera be for? There was a lot of speculation, but it comes down to this — it will either be a ToF camera or one with a super-wide-angle lens. According to the latest leaked information, the latter is much more probable. So, expect the iPhone XI to have a camera trio like the one on the Galaxy S10, LG V50, and Huawei Mate 20 — wide-angle, telephoto, and super-wide-angle.
However, we may actually get both. Some rumors have said that Apple is working on a concealed camera on the back, covering the lens with a paint which is see-through on the camera's side. Leaksters have speculated that this may be used to cover up the super-wide-angle lens, but we are not sure that makes much sense. Wide-angle cameras usually have smaller sensors and need all the light they can get. Covering it with paint, no matter how see-through it is, would hinder its operation. We are much more inclined to believe that there might be a ToF camera back there, hidden behind a thin layer of see-through paint, doing its silent work to help out with Augmented Reality features and apps.
This is, of course, highly speculative, but it sounds like a very Apple thing to do.
The iPhone XIR will also get a slight camera upgrade. While 2018's iPhone XR only had a single camera on the back, reports say that its 2019 iteration will add a telephoto partner for it, giving it the same setup as the current iPhone XS models.
All the colors of the rainbow
The iPhone XR was definitely the most colorful iPhone we've seen since the plastic iPhone 5c of days gone. And it was certainly a selling point for it — there were some awesome vibrant paintjobs to pick from and the customers enjoyed them to the fullest. It seems the iPhone XIR will repeat that with a set of unique colors of its own. While we don't know the exact lineup, a bunch of glass shards were discovered, believed to be leftovers from testing lines of the 2019 iPhones. Here are the paints we expect:
They are not as vibrant as the colors we got on the iPhone XR, but still certainly pretty. We are notably missing the Product RED choice here, so maybe that's not the full lineup.
As far as the iPhone XI goes, we have no information on their color schemes right now. Apple does like to add one new color to its flagship phone every year, just so we can get something fresh that makes that model different from previous ones. So, we do expect a new paintjob, but we have no idea what it would be.
Connectivity - USB Type-C?
The fact that Apple finally caved in and gave the iPad Pro of 2018 a USB Type-C connector, instead of its proprietary Lightning port, was kind of surprising. Apple loves to keep everything close to the chest, with a tightly-enclosed ecosystem and its own hardware and software solutions for everything.
However, when it comes to putting the “Pro” in iPad Pro, Cupertino silently admitted that the new USB Type-C is the better port to go with.
Now, some speculate (hope) that we might see USB Type-C connectors on the upcoming iPhones as well. We are not convinced this will happen, though.
The Lightning port is still a great source of revenue for Apple due to the fact that any company that wants to make an accessory for the iPhone needs to pay a license to use the connector’s protocols. And there are a ton of accessories.
The iPad Pro might have gotten USB Type-C due to Apple wanting to make it appear more like a hybrid laptop and less like a portable media player. The iPhone doesn’t sit anywhere near that category and we wager it will keep its proprietary Lightning connector.
Water can't stop me!
iPhones have been water-resistant ever since the launch of the iPhone 7 and that's pretty cool. However, it's still pretty hard to use them if the display is wet — capacitive technology and water don't mesh well. Allegedly, Apple is working on a patented "underwater mode", which would allow the phone to read finger taps even if fully submerged under water. That's certainly interesting and we would be curious to learn more about it, should it turn out to be true.
So long, 3D Touch, we knew thee well
We have been hearing rumors that Apple intends to kill 3D Touch ever since before the iPhone XS launched. We already have the iPhone XR, which doesn't have the pressure-sensing technology. Instead, Apple is replacing the 3D Touch gestures across the interface with a simple long press (*ahem*, sorry, it's called "Haptic Touch"). The latter isn't spread throughout iOS yet, but Cupertino has confirmed that it will be adding more and more Haptic Touch functions with coming iOS updates.
In other words, it's entirely possible that Apple might be prepping for a future where its phones won't have 3D Touch. The sheer amount of reports from analysts and leaksters make us believe that the company is definitely, definitely considering it.
Why? Well, building displays with pressure-sensitive sensors underneath the glass is a pretty expensive and not a very easy process. On the flipside, 3D Touch never really picked up as an essential feature — most users even forget they have it. Yeah, we think it sucks that 3D Touch might be gone, but the majority has spoken. Or so we are led to believe.
We still hope that Apple might — at the very very least — keep 3D Touch on the super-expensive iPhone Max line. It's definitely a nifty and satisfying feature to use, it is still unique and exclusive to the iPhones, makes the keyboard cursor super-precise (as opposed to the mockup of that feature that the iPhone XR has) and it has proven itself useful for shooter games. Alas, we are at the mercy of Cupertino here.
iPhone XI price and release date
Every year, Apple announces its new iPhones at a special September keynote event. While we have no official confirmation for this year yet, there’s no reason to believe 2019 would be different. So, expect the new iPhones to be announced around mid-September (12th-19th) and launch a week after that.
And the price? One would hope that the recent slowdown in iPhone sales might give Apple a good indication that maybe it went a bit overboard with the pricing of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. On the other hand, Cupertino is not one to backpedal on decisions easily. Really, we expect no major change in pricing — $750 for the iPhone XR (2019), $1000 for the iPhone XI, and $1100 for the iPhone XI Max. But hey, fingers crossed that if Apple does remove 3D Touch on the expensive models, it would at least pass the savings on to the consumers.