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iPhone 2018 Rumors: What to Expect from Apple's Next Phone

iPhone 2018 Rumors: What to Expect from Apple's Next Phone

It hasn’t been that long since Apple took the wraps off the iPhone X, but it’s clear that the release of this $999 phone has opened a new chapter in Apple’s smartphone story, with a device that ditches the physical home button and Touch ID. Instead, the iPhone X features an OLED screen that covers nearly its entire front. Wireless charging and facial recognition, which unlocks the phone and enables Animoji, also set the iPhone X apart.
Apple's 2017 iPhone lineup figures to change next year. (Credit: Tom's Guide)
Apple's 2017 iPhone lineup figures to change next year. (Credit: Tom's Guide)
What does Apple do for an encore, especially with sales reportedly not meeting Wall Street expectations? If the reports are accurate, it's likely Apple will use iPhone X feedback to make this year's phones even better.

Here’s a look at all the latest rumors surrounding the 2018 slate of iPhones.
Latest Update: April 18
Three iPhones... But Which Three: It's more ore less expected at this point that Apple is working on three iPhones for the fall. The most common rumor assumed that two of those would be new versions of the iPhone X — including a Plus-sized model— while a third, less expensive version would be called the iPhone 9. However, a new report suggests that Apple is going all-in on the iPhone X, with three models ranging from $799 to $899.
Don't Forget About the iPhone SE: While leading iPhone analysts have suggested Apple will focus solely on the iPhone X in 2018, iPhone SE fans have a new ray of hope, courtesy of some overseas regulatory filings that suggest new Apple phones — possibly an iPhone SE 2 — could appear as soon as May.
When Can We Expect Apple to Update Its iPhone Lineup?
Considering this year’s iPhone releases are still fresh in the memory, it’s a safe bet Apple’s not planning any big announcements in the first half of 2018. Apple typically holds off on major iPhone updates until September, and there’s no reason to believe it will deviate from that pattern.
MORE: How to Use the iPhone X - A Guide to New (or Improved) Features
One possible exception: apart from a boost in capacity, Apple hasn’t updated the iPhone SE since that phone arrived in March 2016, so a new version could arrive before the fall. However, the deeper we get into spring and summer, the less likely an iPhone SE update becomes, especially in light of reports that Apple is putting all its efforts into this fall’s releases, though some fans of Apple's 4-inch phone still hold out hope.
What Will Apple Call Its 2018 Phones?
That’s up in the air, too. It’s unclear if the iPhone X moniker is a one-off that Apple used to mark the 10th anniversary of its smartphone lineup or that all future phones featuring the new design will be part of the X family. That’s something we expect to become more clear as we get deeper into 2018, especially as we find out just how many iPhones Apple has planned for this fall.
How Many iPhones Will We See in 2018?
Evidence is mounting that Apple has three iPhone releases planned for the fall, just like it released the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X in 2017. The difference this year could be that Apple releases all three phones at once; last year, it had to stagger the iPhone X launch, releasing it after the 8 and 8 Plus shipped.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo was the among the first to suggest that Apple would release three new iPhones in 2018, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. It's believed that one of those models will come with a 5.8-inch screen to match the iPhone X, but it'll be flanked by another featuring a 6.1-inch display. The largest of the bunch could deliver a display size of 6.5 inches, according to Kuo.
Bloomberg also picked up on Apple’s three iPhone strategy, reporting that the 6.5-inch device would be a Plus version of the iPhone X, while the 6.1-inch phone would feature an LCD screen and cost less. RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani thinks the 6.1-inch phone will be called the iPhone 9, while forecasting that the other models will be known as the iPhone XS and XS Plus.
A report in Taiwan's Economic Daily News downplays, the possibility of an iPhone 9. Instead, the report claims that all three phones will carry the iPhone X branding. A cheaper version with an LCD display will be called the iPhone SE and start out $799; the iPhone X sequel will cost $899 while a Plus version will cost $999 — that's according to ValueWalk's translation of the Economic Daily News article.
In a subsequent Mac Rumors post, Kuo shared additional details surrounding the rumored 6.1-inch model, including pricing and specifications. He says this variation will be the least expensive of the three new devices, and will incorporate an LCD display instead of an OLED one as found on the others. He also says this iPhone will only utilize a single lens for the rear camera, an aluminum body in place of glass, and lack 3D Touch. Under the hood, the 6.1-inch model could omit the iPhone X's stacked logic board and uniquely-shaped battery for more conventional designs. Kuo estimates this device will cost between $700 and $800, which would make it far less expensive than the $999 iPhone X, but still potentially pricier than the iPhone 8.
What Features Can We Expect in the Next iPhone?
Assuming analysts are right and that three new iPhones are coming in the fall, what kind of features will we find on the new phones? Here’s an overview.
The Same Design Concept: Apple’s slate of 2017 iPhones were decidedly different. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus offered a traditional iPhone design, and the iPhone X has the company’s next-generation look and feel.

According to a report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, however, Apple is planning to ditch the old-school design in 2018 and will instead opt for an iPhone X-like design across all its handsets next year. That means the controversial notch will be coming to all the handsets, though the 6.1-inch model is expected to use LCD and not OLED for its screen.
Three Cameras for the iPhone?: Apple added dual lenses to the back of the iPhone with 2016’s iPhone 7 Plus. According to a report in Taiwan’s Economic Daily News, Apple may add a third lens to the iPhone. The report says that such a phone may not appear this year, with Apple adding the feature in 2019.
Details are sparse on how the triple lens setup would work, other than it would allow the iPhone to feature a 3X optical zoom instead of the 2X zoom featured on current dual-lens iPhones. To get a sense of how triple rear lenses might work, look no further than the P20 Pro from Huawei, which includes that feature. In our testing, the P20 Pro outperformed the iPhone X, excelling in low-light settings and using AI-powered image processing to produce stellar photos.
The Fate of Touch ID: Apple’s Face ID will certainly be a part of the 2018 iPhone line, but Touch ID might make a comeback, too.

In a note to investors in September, Kuo said that Apple is still working on a Touch ID fingerprint sensor that could be baked into its smartphone display. The feature, which Apple couldn’t get to work this year, would allow you to decide whether you want to use Face ID or Touch ID to authenticate yourself, make purchases, and access software.
However, Kuo seems to be hedging, saying that if users really like what they find in Face ID, Apple will ditch its Touch ID plans.

A More Powerful Processor: Longtime Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC) is believed to have gotten the contract to build the processor inside the next line of iPhones. According to a report in BGR, that chip will be known as the A12 and will deliver substantially more power than the A11 Fusion Chip you can find in the iPhone X and iPhone 8 line. It's unclear, however, whether all iPhone models this year will come with the same processor.

Faster LTE Connectivity: Apple has apparently already told its manufacturing partners that it wants to take advantage of improved LTE chips. The move, which was earlier reported on by MacRumors, would mean that your 2018 iPhone would be capable (on paper, at least) of delivering faster connectivity over wireless networks. But exactly how fast is unknown at this point.
LTE connectivity has been an area where the iPhone hasn’t exactly shone: Wireless testing firms have concluded that the performance of LTE modems in the same type iPhone can vary depending on which carrier model you get. And the new Galaxy S9 outperformed the iPhone X in 4G speed testing that we conducted.
Bring On the Augmented Reality: Apple has made it clear that it’s committed to augmented reality, and there are now reports that the company will double down on the technology in the coming years.

Bloomberg reports that Apple plans to deliver new laser sensors in a future iPhone X that will be capable of mapping the 3D environment around a person and using that information to inform augmented reality applications.
MORE: Best AR Apps for iOS (So Far)
However, that same report also targets that feature for 2019 iPhones. The 2018 version will get small improvements to its sensors in a step toward a bigger and better augmented reality experience.
What About the iPhone SE?
It seems that we won't see a successor to the iPhone SE anytime soon. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a pretty solid track record, suggested in a research note that Apple doesn't have the capacity to release one right now.
MORE: An iPhone SE 2 Is Long Overdue: Here's What I Want
"With three new models in the pipeline for the second half of 2018, we believe Apple may have used up its development resources," he wrote. "Also, we think the firm will do all it can to avoid repeating the mistake of a shipment delay for the three new models. As such, we believe Apple is unlikely to have enough spare resources to develop a new iPhone model for launch in 2Q18."
However, if you want to hold out hope Consomac noticed some regulatory filings from the Eurasian Economic Commission that note several new iOS 11-based iPhones are about to hit the market. Typically, those filings show up a month before a product's release, and the Eurasian Economic Commission has previously tipped Apple watchers off to the Air Pods, iPhone 7 and the latest iPad.
Should a new iPhone SE show up, Apple would likely bump up the processor to an A10 Fusion or A11 Bionic CPU. It would likely improve the camera, too. Some reports suggested the phone could adopt wireless charging, but that would likely require a design change from the current model.
Looking Ahead to Future iPhones
Apple is developing technology that could make the iPhone a drastically different device in 2020 than it is today. The company is working on MicroLED displays, which are expected to arrive on the Apple Watch and an unannounced but widely rumored augmented reality headset. That technology, which makes brighter, thinner displays possible, could eventually come to the iPhone. Apple is working on curved displays, perhaps related to the MicroLED development, which would curve inward from the top of the device to the bottom, unlike Samsung's curved displays, which round out at the sides.
According to Bloomberg, Apple is also working on incorporating touchless gestures into a future iPhone, which would allow people to interact with their phones without tapping the display.
More to Come
It’s early days still for 2018 iPhone rumors, which is not surprising since the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X still have that new smartphone smell. Expect to hear about the next iPhones’ specs, features and whether that $1,000 price tag is also here to stay as 2018 continues to unfold. We’ll regularly update this article with any information that emerges as to what Apple has planned for its future iPhones.