It’s almost that time of year — time for Apple to reveal its latest and greatest iPhones. Typically, Apple (AAPL) announces its new handsets during either the first or second week of September. Which means you can expect new announcements sometime soon.
Most years, Apple debuts two phones, like in 2016, when it revealed the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. However, the tech giant went off script last year, when it announced 3 phones — including the iPhone X, which Apple debuted to mark the 10th anniversary of the iPhone.
The X brought some of the biggest updates to the iPhone line in years, including a new design, enhanced biometric technology and inventive interface. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus saw largely incremental changes like new processors and wireless charging.
For 2018, the rumors point to Apple releasing three new iPhones again. And if the rumors are correct, the phones will ape the edge-to-edge screen design of the X. One of those could even sport three rear cameras and Apple Pencil stylus support. Word on the street is the Apple Watch will also see design changes like a larger display area and bigger battery. Those would be the first major updates to the timepiece since it debuted in 2015.
Here’s what you can expect when CEO Tim Cook and company take the stage in September.
What’s in a name?
Over the past several years Apple’s naming strategy has been easy to follow. We had the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4s, the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5s and so on. But the company threw all of that out the window when it skipped the iPhone 9 and jumped from the 7 to the 8 and X, meaning 10.
The going theories range from Apple naming the next iPhones the iPhone X2, or iPhone X Plus, or iPhone 9. But the only thing that’s certain is we just don’t know. I find it hard to believe that Apple would name a phone the X2 — it would read the iPhone Ten Two, which doesn’t make any sense.
The X Plus is plausible, but you have to remember that the only reason Apple named its phone the X to begin with was that it was the 10th anniversary of the iPhone’s initial release. Then there are those suggesting Apple will instead unveil the iPhone 11. Either way, the next iPhone will definitely be called an iPhone.
Three sizes. Collect ’em all!
Apple offers its iPhones in three distinct sizes. There’s the 4.7-inch iPhone 8, the 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus and the 5.8-inch iPhone X. But, since the iPhone X has an edge-to-edge display, it’s a smaller device than the Plus despite having a larger screen.
For 2018, the company is expected to dramatically increase the size of its handsets, while making edge-to-edge displays ubiquitous across its line. Out go the 4.7-inch iPhone 8 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus. In come a 5.8-inch handset, a 6.1-inch model and a 6.5-inch behemoth.
According to Bloomberg, the 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch iPhones will be Apple’s top-of-the-line handsets and feature the same kind of high-contrast OLED displays as the iPhone X. The 6.1-inch model will be the least expensive of the three and feature a less colorful, but cheaper, LCD panel. All three phones, however, are expected to include Apple’s FaceID facial recognition technology, as the increased size of their screens will eliminate the space needed for the traditional TouchID fingerprint reader.
The iPhone X and 8 Plus already pack dual-lens cameras, but why stop at just two, right? According to MacRumors, citing Taiwan’s Economic Daily News, the 6.5-inch iPhone will have three camera lenses. That third lens could pack a 5x zoom, though it’s unclear if that would be a fully optical zoom or digital.
Optical zoom allows for clearer shots, since it uses the actual lens to zoom in on a subject. Digital zoom uses software to enhance a shot, making for a more distorted image.
Bloomberg, however, reports that the 6.5-inch will have a two-lens camera, rather than three. Either way we’ll find out soon.
Faster charging? Yes please!
Apple’s iPhone chargers haven’t evolved much over the years, which is a shame when you consider that nearly every mainstream Android smartphone manufacturer offers some kind of fast charging technology.
That could change with the next iPhone, which, according to Tom’s Guide, could get a fast charger that uses a USB C cable. The report comes via a post on the Japanese blog Macotakara, which features what it claims is an image of the power brick for Apple’s upcoming smartphones.
Hopefully, we’ll also finally get a release date for Apple’s wireless AirPower charger, which will allow you to wirelessly charge your iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods on a single charging mat.
What’s it going to cost me?
Apple’s iPhone X proved that people are willing to pay $1,000 for a smartphone if it means getting sleek new features. And if the rumors are true, the tech giant could test just how much more customers are willing to pay with its next handset.
According to Gene Munster of Loup Ventures, the 6.5-inch iPhone could cost as much as $1,200 in its base model form. That’s one heck of a starting price for a smartphone. The 5.8-inch iPhone could clock in at $1,000, while the cheaper 6.1-inch handset could cost about $700.
Based on how consumers responded to the iPhone X, there’s definitely interest in high-priced iPhones, but whether the public is willing to pony up any more than that is still up in the air.
In addition to new iPhones, Apple could also show off an updated version of its Apple Watch. According to Bloomberg, this new Apple Watch could include a larger display, while retaining the same footprint. To do that, Apple will reportedly use an edge-to-edge style screen for its smartwatch. The Watch’s bezels are already incredibly narrow, so it will be interesting to see how much Apple can push them to the limit.
Fast Company, meanwhile, says that Apple will do away with the physical button on the side of the Watch and replace it with one that uses the Taptic Engine, which already powers the Watch’s Force Touch display. By using the Taptic Engine, Apple will be able to simulate a button press without having to use a real button, which could save internal space that could be used for a larger battery.
We’ll have more about Apple’s upcoming releases in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
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