Another year, another iPhone. Possibly two or three, in fact. The rumour mill never stops grinding when it comes to Apple’s next coveted smartphone.
Here, we take a look at the rumours, leaks and speculation about this year’s new iPhone, as well as what features we’d like to see in the new iPhone for 2018.
When is the new iPhone coming out?
iPhone 2018 release date: September 2018
The new iPhone for 2018 will almost certainly be announced in September 2018. Apple announces all its flagship iPhones in September and there is no reason to suggest that will change.
September 2017 saw Apple announce the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X. The big follow up will be scheduled for exactly 12 months later.
How much will the new iPhone cost?
We’d expect a new flagship iPhone in 2018 to cost the same as the iPhone X: £999/$999. But, there will be other price points should the company release varying models or sizes of the new handset.
What will the new iPhone be called?
This is hard to say. Ever since the iPhone 4, it was fairly straightforward with either adding an S or going one number up.
Now, with the 8 and X (10) released and no iPhone 9, the 2018 iPhone might be called iPhone 11. Apple is unlikely to use Roman numerals and call it iPhone XI, but you never know. We also don't think Apple will go with iPhone XS in an S upgrade given the last phone with an S was 2016's iPhone 6S.
We are waiting for the day it drops all the numbers and just calls it ‘iPhone’ again. Apple may keep the Plus branding with an iPhone X Plus, though.
Is the iPhone X being discontinued?
There are several reports suggesting that the iPhone X is being discontinued in 2018, with some saying it will never see its first birthday. Remove the hype and what they're actually saying is that when it is replaced in September 2018 the original iPhone X will no longer be on sale at the Apple Store. Probably.
The rumour comes from Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at KGI Securities, via Apple Insider. It stems from the idea that there has been poor demand for the iPhone X, and therefore production will cease in the summer when the factories starts making the 2018 iPhones. However, Kuo suggests Apple will instead create an iPhone X Plus that will offset concerns about the amount of usable screen area.
One of the earliest leaks is an image of cover glass with a digitiser, supposedly manufactured by LG during a trial run of production equipment. Whether it's fake or even relevant to the next iPhone we won't know for sure, but it certainly includes the infamous notch:
Renders showing what a future iPhone X might look like have been published by iDropNews, following theories that there will be a reduced notch and bezels (also shown at the top of this page):
How many new iPhones will there be in 2018?
It’s always hard to say how many iPhones Apple will announce. Usually its September event gives us two (one regular, one Plus), but the introduction of the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X all at the same event was somewhat unexpected until a few weeks before.
And of course, the company has caught us off guard in the past, like with the iPhone 5C at the same time as the 5S, or with the March 2016 unveiling of the iPhone SE.
It would be logical for Apple to make a new size of the iPhone X while upgrading the specs, so perhaps we’ll have an iPhone X Plus. But whether Apple will choose to rename the device is unclear.
Apple may decide to iterate on the iPhone X design in cheaper phones in its range.
Industry insiders are all saying different things: first there would be three, each with the notch design but differing screen sizes at 5.8in, 6.5in and 6.1in. The first two would be OLED models, and the latter LCD. Then we heard the two OLED models would actually be 6.3in and 5.8in, and even more recently we’ve been told to expect four new iPhones: 5.7-5.8in LCD, 6.0-6.1in LCD, 6.0-6.1in OLED and 6.4-6.5in OLED.
What will the design of the iPhone 2018 be?
Apple is likely to iterate on the bold design of the iPhone X. It is highly unlikely that the flagship Apple iPhone for 2018 to revert to Touch ID. We expect a similar design – perhaps in the style of the S updates, though iPhone XS looks odd written down (and means extra small to some eyes).
While the iPhone X is physically smaller than a Plus size iPhone despite the larger screen surface area, there could be a smaller iPhone X design in September.
That’s according to The Investor, reporting that Samsung Display has been charged with making 5.28 and 6.46in displays for the 2018 iPhone line up. This looks to sit alongside the current iPhone X size of 5.8, creating an X mini, X and X Plus.
This is a hazy report though, and came out even before the iPhone X had git the market. However, it could hold water as Apple is likely to keep selling the iPhone 8 range unchanged in September while upgrading the X line.
Nikkei reports that Apple is planning a cheaper LCD display iPhone in 2018, which could be reminiscent of the iPhone X but with cheaper materials and a metal back.
This could mean that Apple wants to get the new design into more hands at more flexible price points, a bit like it did with the iPhone 5C and iPhone SE, the latter of which is particularly successful and affordable (about a quarter of the price of the iPhone X).
Will the new iPhones have any new features?
While rumours are sparse, the latest tech that could see its way into the next iPhone is an under-screen fingerprint sensor. Apple dropped fingerprint sensor tech all together with the iPhone X, instead opting for Face ID camera biometrics.
It works very well, but at CES Chinese manufacturer Vivo showed a demo of one of their phones with an under-the-screen fingerprint reader. It’s nearly as magical as Face ID, and would be a great way for Apple to potentially keep the iPhone X design but keep costs down by not including the Face ID set up.
Then again, this fingerprint tech may even make its way into the flagship iPhone for 2018, as it would allow Apple to remove the infamous notch altogether – but it is also unlikely that Apple would drop Face ID after one generation.
The report argues that Apple may be tactically sourcing LCD panels for iPhones as at present it relies on Samsung to make all its OLED displays for the iPhone X. Allowing Samsung to see designs for all of its phones would be sharing too much with its rival.
Patently Apple also reported, as you'd expect, an Apple patent on a redesigned Lightning connector. This supposedly would allow for a resealable connection to allow for more robust waterproofing.
What we would like to see in the new iPhone for 2018
Aside from the rumours, there’s a few things we’d personally like to see in the next iPhone.
It’d be great to see some changes for iOS 12. Surely, surely Apple will one day let users customise their home screens a bit more. The iPhone X design does give the familiar grid of apps a new lease of life, and the widget view is always improving but it can't be your home screen.
iOS customisation is nothing compared to Android, where everyone’s tastes are different and can be expressed.
Apple is unlikely to want to do this though – any copying of Android is not only a lawsuit waiting to happen, but an admission that their rival was right. And Apple is a stubborn company in this regard (and likely so are it's users, who are used to iOS grid).
We’d also like to be able to choose the default browser and map apps to be something other than Safari and Apple Maps as this seems user hostile. Oh, and Apple, please put the camera settings in the actual camera app. It’s nuts that they are buried in the settings menu!
Aside from this, losing the camera bump if possible and perhaps adding some slick new colour options would be on our list.
For now, we sit and wait for the dubious leaks to build. We’ll add the legit ones to this article.