Apple’s rumored 2018 iPhone lineup.
AT A GLANCE
Apple is rumored to be introducing three iPhones in 2018: Two OLED models measuring in at 5.8 and 6.5 inches and a 6.1-inch lower-cost LCD model. All three will feature Face ID and edge-to-edge displays.
- Three iPhones expected, two OLED and one LCD
- OLED iPhones will be 5.8 and 6.5 inches
- LCD iPhone will feature 6.1-inch display and lower price tag
- All iPhones to feature Face ID and edge-to-edge display
- A12 Processors
- Faster LTE
Coming in 2018: Apple’s Three iPhone Lineup
We started hearing rumors about the iPhones we can expect to see in 2018 before the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus had even launched, and based on those rumors, 2018 is shaping up to be an exciting year for iPhone advancements. In 2018, Apple is planning to continue on with its three iPhone lineup, introducing three new iPhones. The first is said to be a second-generation version of the iPhone X, with the same 5.8-inch OLED display, while the second can be thought of as an “iPhone X Plus” with a larger 6.5-inch OLED display. Along with these two OLED iPhones, which will undoubtedly be just as expensive as the current iPhone X, Apple is planning to introduce a new, more affordable 6.1-inch iPhone with an LCD display. This device could possibly use a Full Active LCD display, which would offer improved technology over the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus display. All three of the new iPhones will feature an edge-to-edge screen with the same nearly non-existent bezels of the iPhone X, and all will be equipped with a TrueDepth camera system that supports Face ID. That means 2018 will mark the official end of the Home button and the Touch ID fingerprint sensor in Apple’s flagship iPhone lineup. While the 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch OLED iPhones in 2018 will be outfitted with all the bells and whistles of the iPhone X, Apple is going to cut some features from the rumored 6.1-inch model to keep costs low. That device will have an aluminum frame instead of a stainless steel frame, it may not come equipped with wireless charging, it will have a single lens-rear camera, and the display may not support 3D Touch.
By eliminating these features, Apple is expected to be able to sell the device for $700 to $800, putting it on par with the more affordable iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. We don’t know what the OLED iPhones will be priced at, but $999 for the next-generation 5.8-inch model is a solid guess, as is $1,099 for the 6.5-inch model, though analysts have suggested those prices could be $100 lower. Comparatively, the rumored 5.8 and 6.5-inch OLED iPhones are expected to continue to offer dual-lens rear cameras and they may include 4GB RAM. The larger model will, of course, support a larger battery for longer battery life, and at least one iPhone coming in 2018 is also expected to offer dual-SIM functionality. Apple’s 2018 iPhone lineup could come in multiple colors, with the OLED devices available in Silver, Space Gray, and Gold, while the 6.1-inch iPhone could be available in colors that include grey, white, blue, red, and orange.
In addition to Face ID and a TrueDepth camera system, all three new iPhones are likely to include an upgraded A12 processor, improved LTE chips from Intel that will support a faster LTE connection, and a USB-C to Lightning cable for faster charging speeds. With the launch of a second-generation 5.8-inch iPhone X and a larger 6.5-inch “iPhone X Plus,” rumors suggest Apple may flat out discontinue the current iPhone X rather than lowering its price tag and selling it as a lower-cost older-generation device. iPhone X manufacturing would cease with the launch of the new devices, and it would effectively be retired. This is not unheard of, as Apple did the same thing with the iPhone 5 when the iPhone 5s and 5c launched in 2013.
2018 iPhone Naming
At this point in time, we have no idea what Apple is going to call the three iPhones coming in 2018, so for now, we’re going to refer to them as the “2018 iPhones.” In 2017, we had the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone X (pronounced 10), skipping the iPhone 9 entirely. Based on 2017’s naming scheme, all 2018 iPhone names seem a little unusual. Apple could for example, introduce the iPhone Xs and the iPhone Xs Plus, which would be similar in naming convention to previous years for second-year updates, but 2018, with the introduction of the larger 6.5-inch OLED iPhone, will mark a major update year so the name doesn’t quite fit. Apple could move on to iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Plus, or iPhone XI and iPhone XI Plus, but even in that situation, it’s not clear what the company will call the planned 6.1-inch LCD iPhone. It could be named the iPhone 9, but again, that’s confusing next to a potential iPhone 11. Here’s Apple’s past naming:
- 2007 – iPhone
- 2008 – iPhone 3G
- 2009 – iPhone 3GS
- 2010 – iPhone 4 (new design)
- 2011 – iPhone 4s
- 2012 – iPhone 5 (new design)
- 2013 – iPhone 5s
- 2014 – iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus (new design)
- 2015 – iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus
- 2016 – iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
- 2017 – iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X (new design)
2018 could mark the year that the iPhone gets an entirely new naming scheme, but we won’t know for sure what Apple’s plans are until we start hearing additional rumors about the new devices.
5.8 and 6.5-Inch OLED iPhones
Japanese site Mac Otakara has said that the upcoming 6.5-inch iPhone will be similar in size to the 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus, something that’s possible because the new 6.5-inch smartphone will feature minimal bezels and no Home button, allowing it to have a much larger display while not greatly increasing its physical size over the iPhone 8 Plus. Though most rumors have suggested both the 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch iPhones coming in 2018 will use dual-lens rear cameras, a report from The Korea Herald says the 6.5-inch iPhone will use a triple-lens camera setup, which is actually something that’s been rumored for the 2019 iPhone lineup. With no other rumors pointing towards three lenses for 2018, it’s not clear if this rumor is correct. The next-generation 5.8-inch iPhone will reportedly be the same size as the current-generation model, but with a larger rear camera to accommodate a bigger camera sensor. The new 5.8-inch iPhone could also be cheaper to manufacture according to DigiTimes, which means it could perhaps be sold at a lower price point. Component costs could be up to 10 percent lower.
Current rumors suggest Apple will continue to use a two-cell L-shaped design for the batteries in the 5.8 and 6.5-inch iPhones coming in 2018.
Battery life in the 5.8-inch model should be similar to battery life in the current iPhone X, while the larger 6.5-inch iPhone, which has more space, will feature up to 25 percent more battery capacity, somewhere around 3300 to 3400 mAh.
Like Apple’s other plus-sized iPhones, the larger 6.5-inch OLED iPhone will adopt an iPad-style landscape mode that displays additional information in stock apps like Calendar and Contacts when viewed in landscape orientation. Many of Apple’s native apps have already been updated with support for the new landscape view, which was not offered in the 5.8-inch iPhone X.
6.1-Inch iPhone With LCD Display
OLED displays traditionally offer sharper contrast and brighter colors than standard LCD panels, so should Apple use Full Active LCDs from Japan Display for the 6.1-inch iPhone, it could have a display almost on par with the OLED iPhones. Japan Display’s Full Active LCDs are six inch displays with a resolution of 2,160 x 1,080 and an 18:9 aspect ratio, which doesn’t quite match up with Kuo’s pixels per inch prediction, but Japan Display could be making custom panels for Apple. Full Active LCDs require much less bezel space around the edge of the screen, allowing for an edge-to-edge display, which is an important tidbit because rumors suggest all 2018 iPhones, 6.1-inch LCD iPhone included, will feature the same edge-to-edge design that Apple introduced in the iPhone X. That means no Home button and no Touch ID support, with Apple instead relying on Face ID across its entire 2018 iPhone lineup.
Front glass panels said to be from the three iPhones coming in 2018 leaked in July, showing the size difference between the upcoming iPhones. There’s a 5.8-inch OLED panel, a 6.1-inch LCD panel (for the low-cost iPhone) and a 6.5-inch LCD panel. All three feature slim side bezels and a notch at the top to house a TrueDepth camera system. While none have thick bezels, the 6.1-inch iPhone’s bezel is slightly thicker because it will use an LCD display rather than an OLED display. A display assembly and digitizer said to be for the larger 6.5-inch “iPhone X Plus” leaked in February, giving us our first potential glimpse at a 2018 iPhone component. The display appears to be larger than the display of the iPhone X, and the relative size of the notch is different than on the iPhone X. A flex cable at the bottom of the part includes a number that’s similar to the format used by Apple, so it’s certainly possible this is a legitimate leak. It also allegedly comes from LG Display in Vietnam, and LG Display is rumored to be a supplier for the larger OLED iPhone coming in 2018.
Leaked Schematics and Renders
Leaked schematics sourced from a case maker have suggested the “iPhone X Plus” will measure in at 77.41mm wide, 157.53mm tall, and 7.68mm thick, while the second-generation iPhone X will feature the same dimensions as the current version at 70.9mm wide, 143.6mm tall, and 7.7mm thick. Renderings have also been created from the schematics to show what all three iPhones will look like when next to each other. In the image below, the 6.5-inch iPhone is on the right, the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone is in the middle, and the 5.8-inch iPhone is on the left. Alleged schematics of the upcoming 6.1-inch iPhone have also been shared. According to these schematics, the 6.1-inch iPhone measures in at 75.72mm wide, 150.91mm tall, and 8.32mm thick. As has been rumored, the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone features a single-lens camera, a departure from the dual-lens camera in the two OLED iPhones. The single lens camera, as outlined above, is to keep costs low. In the rendering below, the size difference between the iPhones in the 2018 lineup is depicted, with the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone in the middle. Noted leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer has also shared renders and a video of what the lower-cost iPhone might look like, featuring a 6.1-inch LCD display with an edge-to-edge screen and a notch for a TrueDepth camera system, a glass back, a single-lens rear camera, and an aluminum frame.
MacRumors obtained dummy models representing the 6.5-inch OLED “iPhone X Plus” and the low-cost 6.1-inch LCD iPhone, giving us a look at the devices that we can expect to see in September. The iPhone X Plus is larger in size than the current iPhone X and otherwise looks similar in design to the existing flagship device. The 6.1-inch LCD device is shown with a single-lens camera and a smaller body, all of which is in line with rumors.
Comparatively, the iPhone X Plus is similar in size to the iPhone 8 Plus, which is a good reference suggesting how large the 6.5-inch device will be. The 6.1-inch LCD iPhone is a bigger than the iPhone X and smaller than the 6.5-inch iPhone. The second-generation 5.8-inch iPhone that’s expected will be identical to the current iPhone X.
Face ID and TrueDepth Camera System
It looks like 2018 will be the year that Apple transitions all of its smartphones to Face ID, with rumors suggesting all 2018 iPhone models will feature an edge-to-edge display and a front-facing TrueDepth camera module with support for Face ID. Face ID would then officially replace Touch ID as Apple’s biometric security method of choice across all devices, not just Apple’s top-of-the-line flagship smartphone. That’s in line with rumors that have suggested Face ID integration in other devices like the iPad Pro.
A12 Processor, RAM, and Storage
The Geekbench benchmark also listed the device in question with 4GB RAM, which is in line with rumors from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that have suggested the 2018 OLED iPhones will have 4GB RAM, up from 3GB in the iPhone X. The 6.1-inch LCD iPhone is expected to continue to offer 3GB RAM. While the veracity of the benchmark can’t be confirmed because it’s not impossible to fake these results, early benchmarks do sometimes pop up in the months ahead of a new device’s release because there are prototype iPhones being tested by Apple employees who may have opted to run the Geekbench 4 app.
TrendForce, a Taiwanese analyst firm, has suggested Apple could offer up to 512GB of storage in the two OLED iPhones that are in the works.
USB-C Power Adapter and Lightning Cable
Apple’s 2018 iPhones could ship with an 18W USB-C power adapter and a USB-C to Lighting cable to facilitate fast charging functionality without the need to purchase additional accessories. This rumor comes from unverified supply chain sources so it should be taken with a grain of salt, but it makes some sense given Apple’s transition to USB-C and the existence of USB-C fast charging in the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus. Images said to feature an engineering prototype of the U.S. version of Apple’s upcoming U.S. version of the 18W charger surfaced in June. It offers a compact body in the style of Apple’s existing 5-watt charger with a pair of prongs on one side and a USB-C port on the other end.
Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter
2018 iPhones may not feature a Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter in the box, something that’s been offered alongside the iPhone since Apple eliminated the headphone jack in the 2016 iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The prediction comes from Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis, and was further supported by “confirmation” from Cirrus Logic, the adapter’s supplier, who reportedly said that the dongle won’t be bundled with the 2018 iPhones.
Apple Pencil Support?
Taiwanese analyst site TrendForce believes Apple may add Apple Pencil support to the new iPhones, but no other rumors have suggested this is the case. Taiwanese site Economic Daily News has also suggested the two OLED iPhones Apple is planning to release in 2018 will include support for the Apple Pencil, with the information coming from “industry insiders.” Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said Apple is working on iPhones Apple Pencil support, but he does not expect it to be introduced in 2019.
Production, Pricing, and Release Date
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes 2018 will bring a “super cycle,” as Apple will have worked out all TrueDepth camera manufacturing problems by then and models unveiled in 2018 will be available for a longer period than those released in 2017. Kuo also believes that when Apple introduces the new iPhones in September of 2018, the current iPhone X will be discontinued. Apple, he says, will stop selling the device entirely, retiring it after a year of availability rather than offering it as a lower-cost device as Apple traditionally does with older iPhone models.
Beyond 2018 Rumors
In 2019 and beyond, Apple is said to be aiming to offer all of its iPhones with OLED displays, and to reach that goal, as previously mentioned, Apple is working with several OLED suppliers. Apple is mulling a partnership with Japan Display, and the company has purchased equipment to build its own OLED panel research and development site in Taiwan. Apple is also said to be pushing LG Display to build out its OLED display production facilities. While some rumors have suggested Apple is planning to switch to all OLED displays in its 2019 iPhone lineup, while others cast doubt on those plans, instead suggesting Apple will continue to use some LCDs.
Rear Camera Upgrades
Future iPhones could include 3D depth sensing technology for the rear-facing camera, with Apple rumored to be planning to introduce the feature in its 2019 iPhones, and iPhones in 2019 and beyond could also adopt an upgraded TrueDepth camera system. That upgraded system will reportedly consume more power, requiring Apple to introduce larger-capacity batteries in 2019 and 2020. Taiwan’s Economic Daily News, for example, suggests 2019 iPhones will feature a triple-lens rear-facing camera system that offers “more advanced” sensing than the iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera system, with two sensors able to capture images of a single object from different angles and then triangulate the distance between the object being photographed and the iPhone. Support for stereoscopic imaging would allow the camera sensors to capture details of a single object from multiple angles, using a triangulation method to calculate the distance between the iPhone and the object. Rumors have suggested the triple-lens rear camera coming to one or more iPhones in 2019 will offer 12 megapixels, will offer improved photographic capabilities, including better low-light performance. Rear 3D sensing features could be used for augmented reality apps, and the three lens setup could also allow for optical 3x zoom for the first time.
Front-Facing TrueDepth Camera System
Apple may also be able to introduce iPhones with a smaller notch for the TrueDepth camera system, with rumors suggesting Apple may be able to combine the front-facing camera and Face ID sensors into a single face recognition module in future iPhones. According to an unnamed industry source that spoke to Korean news site ET News, starting in 2019, Apple will introduce an iPhone design that will eliminate the notch that houses the TrueDepth camera. It’s not yet clear how Apple will incorporate TrueDepth hardware into a device without a notch, but the report speculates Apple might drill holes into the display itself or use a multi-layer Black matrix display.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes iPhones coming in 2019 will introduce “marked innovations,” and he suspects we’ll start hearing details on the upcoming models in September or October of 2018. Kuo says that in 2019, LCD iPhones will continue to outpace models with OLED displays, and he’s previously suggested that Apple Pencil support for the iPhone is a possibility. Apple is also said to be considering an Apple Pencil-style stylus that’s compatible with the iPhone, which would ship alongside a future iPhone. Apple is rumored to be aiming for a 2019 launch for the device and its accessory. Both of these rumors come from Korean site The Investor, which is not a site we’ve come to know as reliable, so it’s not clear how accurate this information is at this point in time.
Intel and Apple may be teaming up to work on 5G hardware, with a rumor from Fast Companysuggesting Apple could be planning to use Intel chips exclusively when 5G technology begins rolling out. 5G technology is still a few years off, with carriers planning to begin rolling out fifth-generation mobile networks by 2020. In the future, Apple designers want to “remove most of the external ports and buttons on the iPhone, including the charger” according to Apple sources that spoke to Bloomberg. Apple considered eliminating the Lightning port in the iPhone X, and could potentially remove it in a later version of the iPhone when wireless charging speeds improve. As for the more outlandish, Apple is said to be developing an iPhone with a foldable display alongside LG Display, with panel production for an iPhone with a folding display set to kick off in 2020. For future iPhones, Apple is said to be working on touchless gesture controls and curved screens, features that could launch within three years.