Updated 09/05/18: 9to5Mac has what it claims are leaked official Apple images of the OLED iPhones (the 5.8 and 6.5-inch models). What's more, it says that the OLED models will be called the iPhone Xs (5.8 inch) and iPhone Xs Max (6.5 inch).
Now that we’re well into 2018, rumors about the next iPhone have started to pile up. We’ll keep track of everything that’s being said and analyze what seems feasible in this article so you can keep up with the latest iPhone gossip.
iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max images and named leaked
9to5Mac has gotten its hands on what it says is a leaked official Apple image of the new high-end iPhones. The 5.8 and 6.5 inch models look similar to the current iPhone X, but with a glossy gold band around the sides (gold is a reported new color for the phones, in addition to the current black and white versions).
The site says that it is sure the phones will be named the iPhone Xs, which seems like a bad idea. You either call it the "iPhone Ten S" (iPhone Tennis) or the "iPhone Ex S" (iPhone Excess).
In a separate story, the site claims that Apple has decided to drop the "Plus" moniker from the larger model, and will instead go with "Max" to differentiate it from its smaller sibling.
Plausible? The rendering looks legit and seems entirely plausible. I can't say we're fans of the iPhone Xs name here, but it does seem like something Apple would do. iPhone Xs Max, though? Sure, it could happen, but we hope not!
No Apple Pencil support, 6.1-inch model slightly delayed
This rumor was reported on August 27, 2018.
A new investor note by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo adds several new details to already-reported rumors about the upcoming iPhones.
First, he claims that, contrary to a report by Trendforce earlier this month, Apple will not offer Apple Pencil support on the OLED-equipped iPhones this year, because the experience isn't good enough.
He believes the iPhones will go up for preorder on September 14 and be available on September 21, but the less expensive 6.1-inch LCD-based model will come "slightly later due to its production schedule."
The OLED-based models are to have 4GB of RAM (up from 3GB in the iPhone X) and the LCD model will have 3GB.
The larger 6.5-inch OLED model is projected to have a 3,300-3,400 mAh battery, while the 5.8-inch model will have a 2,700-2,800 mAh battery and the LCD model a 2,600-2,700 mAh battery. For comparison, the current iPhone X has a 2716 mAh battery.
Plausible? Nothing we see here contradicts the most reliable previous rumors, and everything seems well within the limits of what we expect. The rumor of Apple Pencil support coming to iPhone always seemed sketchy, so we're not surprised to hear that contradicted. The most interesting new detail here is that the 6.1-inch LCD model, expected to be Apple's biggest seller due to it's combination of price and features, is going to release after the OLED models (though we don't know by how much).
Bloomberg: New names, new colors, new cameras
In what has become an annual tradition, Bloomberg News has chimed in with his well-sourced prediction of what will happen at Apple's September iPhone event. While there aren't a ton of new details about the devices, he confirms much of what we knew about the new phones:
- There will be three new models, with the 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch being OLED, and the 6.1-inch model sticking to LCD like the iPhone 8.
- The 6.1-inch model will have an aluminum frame versus the stainless steel one on the iPhone X, and come in an array of colors.
- All three phones will be equipped with Apple's TrueDepth camera and Face ID unlocking system.
- Some international models will have dual-SIM slots.
- Apple will likely call the new phones iPhone Xs and may dump the "Plus" moniker on the largest model.
- The processing speeds and camera will be the biggest improvements over last year's iPhone X.
- The 6.5-inch model will have "the ability to view content side-by-side in apps like Mail and Calendar."
Plausible? Absolutely. There isn't much here we don't already know from prior rumors and Bloomberg News is generally extremely accurate, especially when reporting a rumor this close to an event.
German carriers say iPhone pre-orders to begin on September 14
This rumor was reported on August 20, 2018.
German site Macerkopf has information sourced from German carriers that Apple and carriers will begin taking preorders for the new iPhones on September 14. This gives us a good hint as to when the new models will be announced, as preorders typically begin just a few days after the announcement event.
Plausible? Definitely. For the last several years, the new iPhones have been announced on the first or second Tuesday or Wednesday of September. We have long suspected that this year's event will happen on Tuesday, September 11, though the association with that date may lead Apple hold the event on September 12 instead.
Either way, it makes perfect sense for iPhone preorders to begin a few days later, on Friday at midnight, as they typically do.
More efficient wireless charging with copper coils
This rumor was reported on August 20, 2018.
China Times has a report that claims, according to their supply chain sources, that at least one of the new iPhone models introduced this year will feature wireless charging coil made of copper.
The iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X support wireless charging up to 7.5 watts using the Qi charging standard. They feature ferrite polymer composite (FPC) coils—a thin membrane composed of a plastic-metal hybrid. It's inexpensive and thin, but offers more resistance than a pure copper coil.
A copper coil would be a tiny bit thicker, but copper offers lower electrical resistance. That means more efficient wireless charging with less heat.
Plausible? Apple's always trying to make its phones thinner, so a slightly thicker charging coil seems like something it wouldn't pursue. However, the difference in thickness could be only a fraction of a millimeter, and there may be enough room in the new phones for it. The Qi standard is flexible, with a maximum charge rate of 15 watts, but charging at that speed would generate too much heat with the current coils. A copper coil would let Apple charge wirelessly at a faster rate while generating the same heat as current iPhones. Or, Apple may stick to a 7.5-watt limit, relying on the copper coil to keep things cool and reliable.
Apple to supercharge OLED models with Pencil support and 512GB
This rumor was reported on August 14, 2018.
Industry analyst Trendforce is easing into the 2018 iPhone rumor waters with a new report. As spotted by 9to5Mac, Trendforce offers two new predictions for the high-end 5.8- and 6.5-inch OLED models. First, it believes that they will come in three storage tiers now, topping off at 512GB rather than 256GB. Samsung's recently launched Galaxy Note 9 also includes at 512GB option. However, while Samsung's phone also comes with an additional 2GB of RAM, Trendforce says Apple will stick with 4GB of RAM for all capacities of the OLED phones.
In addition to the capacity bump, Trendforce also predicts that Apple will bring Pencil support to the iPhone for the first time. Apple's $99 stylus has thus far been limited to the iPad and iPad Pro, so bringing it to the iPhone would represent a shift in Apple's strategy.
Plausible? Apple often changes iPhone storage options based on the price and volume availability of flash memory chips. With the iPhone 8 and X, it doubled the low-end capacity over 2017's iPhones from 32GB to 64GB and eliminated the 128GB option, so a higher-priced 512GB model in 2018 seems perfectly plausible. Demand likely wouldn't be too high, but the extra space will be worth the higher price to power users since the iPhone doesn't have expandable storage like Android phones.
Pencil support is equally intriguing. It seems logical that Apple would add support for its stylus, but it likely wouldn't keep it current design. As things stand, the Apple Pencil is specifically designed for use on the iPad's significantly larger screen, so Apple would need to produce a new model with a smaller tip and form factor.
Dual-SIM iPhones on the way
The fifth beta of iOS 12 went out to developers on July 30 and it only took one day for the tipsters at 9to5Mac to spot an intriguing bit of code that points to dual-SIM enabled hardware on the way.
In part of the system responsible for generating diagnostic reports, there are references to "secondSimStatus" and "secondSimTrayStatus." Elsewhere, another component has an "isDualSimDevice" reference.
Plausible? There have been rumors of dual-SIM iPhones in the works for years. In many countries where smartphone use is growing the fastest, it's a lot cheaper to have one SIM with a pay-as-you-go talk plan and other data-only SIM. Some customers won't consider a phone that doesn't have that capability.
Perhaps having two modem vendors with different capabilities has made this challenging in the past, and the change is being enabled by the switch to a single modem vendor? Or maybe Apple has never wanted to give up the space for two SIM slots, but a move to eSIM would let them have a primary internal eSIM and a secondary SIM in a tray? Either way, this rumor looks pretty likely. It's hard to think that this code references anything else.
What we don't know is exactly which iPhone model(s) may get dual-SIM support. It could be only for a future iPhone SE replacement, for example, or it may be available on higher-end iPhones but only in certain countries where dual SIMs are popular.
6.1-inch LCD iPhone may launch after the OLED models
This rumor was reported on July 25, 2018.
A new report from Barron’s cites an analysis from Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty in expecting relatively weak September iPhone sales compared to most years. The reason? While the 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch high-end iPhones with OLED screens are expected to launch in September as usual, the 6.1-inch LCD model may suffer a small delay.
Huberty’s report says, “uspected issues with LED backlight leakage” are to blame for the small delay. Apple is trying to give the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone the same curve-hugging, super-slim bezel design as the OLED models (only with a very slightly thicker bezel). That’s creates big technical challenges with the location fo the display controller and backlight leakage around the edges.
This is actually an improvement, according to Huberty. According to her report, suppliers originally expected a six week delay on that model, forcing it to launch in November, perhaps even later than the iPhone X did last year.
Plausible? A small delay for one product in Apple’s lineup isn’t unheard of, and creating an iPhone X-like form factor with an LCD screen is a big challenge for a company as famously fussy about display quality as Apple. Still, when you start predicting iPhone release dates, anything can happen.
All three front glass panels leaked
This rumor was reported on July 17, 2018.
As we count the days to the new iPhone’s expected September unveiling, Twitter user Ben Geskin has seemingly spilled the beans for all to see. A new photo reportedly shows off the front panel for all three iPhones, letting you easily see the size difference between the 5.8-inch, 6.1-inch, and 6.5-inch models. Of note, the rumored LCD model has slightly thicker bezels all around, but all three feature the same iPhone X-inspired design, with no home button and a camera notch at the top of the screen.
Plausible? We’ve been hearing for a while now that the 2018 iPhone will come in three sizes, and this leak certainly fits that narrative. It makes sense for Apple to go all-in on the design introduced with the iPhone X as quickly as possible as iOS shifts to a more gesture-based navigation without a home button. Previous rumors have pegged the 6.1-inch middle model as the cheapest of the lot, and if true, we expect it to sell as fast as Apple can make it, and maybe even faster.
New iPhone to come in bold new colors
With just a couple months to go until the new iPhones are unveiled, Ming-Chi Kuo is providing some new details on the upcoming models. While confirming the pricing of a $700 LCD low-end model and a $999 6.5-inch flagship, he also spills some details on the different versions that will release. For one, the 6.5-inch iPhone will be available in gold (a color that’s available on the iPhone 8 but not the iPhone X). But it’s the 6.1-inch model that’s most interesting: According to Kuo, it will come in five colors: grey, white, blue, red and orange. The current iPhone 8 comes in just three colors: space grey, silver, and gold, so this would represent quite a change.