This year, Apple is said to be planning on launching three new iPhones with a design similar to that of iPhone X. The Cupertino-based company’s plan for new three iPhone release has been detailed multiple times by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in the past, and now Bloomberg has more details about Apple’s plan for 2018 iPhones.
Apple’s current iPhone lineup includes the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus though are iterative updates with a design similar to iPhone 6 launched way back in 2014. The iPhone X, on the other hand, is a radical redesign with edge-to-edge display and improved facial recognition technology. Later this year, Apple plans to make that design standard across all iPhone models.
With the new lineup, Apple plans to also launch its biggest iPhone yet, one that will be larger than existing iPhone 8 Plus, and rival Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8. Bloomberg reports that the 2018 iPhone lineup will also include an updated iPhone X model, and a cheaper version that will serve as replacement to iPhone 8.
Apple’s biggest iPhone is expected to feature a 6.5-inch display, and use the OLED display tech seen on the iPhone X. The device could have dimensions similar to that of iPhone 8 Plus, and yet offer a screen that is an inch larger when measured diagonally. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman notes that this iPhone is codenamed D33, and some prototypes are being tested with a screen resolution of 1242×2688 pixels.
The large-screen model will bring iPhone to the phablet category pioneered by Samsung, but Apple is likely to refrain from using that name. The big iPhone will also include Face ID to unlock the device, and authorize mobile payments. The phablet-sized iPhone is seen driving upgrades among existing customers by analysts. When Apple jumped from 4-inch iPhone to 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models in 2014, the company saw an unprecedented super cycle where most existing customers rushed to Apple store to upgrade.
The large screen iPhone X is expected to become a hit primarily with business customers who need extra screen real estate for handling spreadsheets, and do multitasking on the go. It is not clear whether this big iPhone will also affect the sales of lower end iPad models. Apart from the big iPhone, Apple is also working on an upgrade for the existing 5.8-inch iPhone X, and it is internally dubbed as D32. Both the phones are expected to use Apple’s more powerful A12 SoC, and run updated operating system called iOS 12. The iPhone maker is also considering adding a Gold color option since it is popular in the Asian and Middle Eastern markets.
The report reiterates Kuo’s claim that Apple is building a cheaper version of iPhone X that will use standard LCD panel, feature an edge-to-edge display design, and offer Face ID instead of a fingerprint sensor. It will also use an aluminum casing instead of stainless steel found on iPhone X models to keep the cost under control. It will have glass back like the iPhone 8 to support wireless charging. Gurman is not saying how big display would be on this model, but Kuo expects it to be around 6.1-inches.
The report adds that Apple has started running production tests with suppliers, and will official launch these devices in September. The company is also exploring an option to add dual-SIM connectivity option to the larger iPhone, which is an important feature in Europe and Asian markets. Apple has not made a final decision and might opt for E-SIM technology instead.
In the fourth quarter of 2017, Apple sold 77.3 million iPhone, and announced record profits driven by increase in average selling price of iPhone. However, the sales number were below street estimates of 80.2 million units, and analysts say that consumers are put off by the huge $1,000 entry price for the iPhone X. With the new iPhone lineup, Apple seems to be catering to a wide array of users including those who want latest features and yet don’t want to spend a fortune on the device.