Despite bad news about poor iPhone sales and lower Q1 revenue expectations for Apple, rumors about the company’s next generation of smartphones are already swirling in online forums and the press. The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the company is set to release three new phones in the fall, and the new line of phones may help Apple recover from its current sales slump.
It’s worth keeping in mind that their release is still months away. The leaks emerging now are less substantial than they will be later in the year, and many preliminary plans may change in the interim. With that in mind, here’s what’s being whispered about the next generation of iPhones.
The rumored development that seems to be receiving the most hype is the addition of another camera for all three models. The Journal reports that the highest-end iPhone will have three rear-facing cameras, while the mid- and lower-tier models will have two.
The Verge notes that the supplemental camera is likely a move to compete with the latest Android phones like the LG V40, which has two front-facing and three rear-facing cameras. The V40’s triple-threat camera system allows for more versatile photography options, including different angles, wider views, and telephoto shots.
3D Depth Sensor
Bloomberg reported last month that Apple is in talks to potentially incorporate Sony’s 3D sensors into the iPhone’s cameras.
The sensors take advantage of a technique called “time of flight,” in which a device emits laser pulses and times how long they take to bounce back. This technology would allow the phones to improve facial recognition, measure depth for nighttime pictures, and render augmented reality images that can better interact with the actual world.
MacRumors has maintained since May that there’s a chance that all three of the 2019 iPhone models will have an OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display in Apple’s gradual shift away from LCD (liquid-crystal display).
The Journal reported on Friday that two of the new models will have OLED, while one will have LCD. While LCD is less expensive, the OLED is supposed to have better contrast.
The iPhone XR, 7, and 8 all have LCD, whereas the Xs and Xs Max have OLED.
MacRumors reports that “serial phone leaker” Steve Hemmerstoffer posted supposed renderings of one of the devices on Digit on Sunday.
The triple-camera system radically changes the look of the rear of the phone, with a large square protrusion on the upper left-hand side. However, Hemmerstoffer added that this was a “freakingly early leak” and that there’s ample time for the design to change.
A Korean site called The Investor is reporting that Apple is developing a “digital pen” for the new iPhones. This would seem to jibe with rumors that iPhones will soon support the Apple Pencil, which is currently an accessory for iPads. MacRumors notes, however, that The Investor “does not have an established track record for accuracy.”
Will it be enough?
Even with the new bells and whistles, it’s unclear whether this new line of phones will actually help to boost Apple’s sales figures. The company has been blaming its anticipated underperformance in Q1 on weak demand in China.
Experts note that Chinese hardware makers have been quicker to add new features to their phones and sell them at a lower cost than Apple. Some of the rumored additions to Apple’s 2019 phones, such as across-the-board OLED displays, will in fact likely raise prices.
Analysts also note that smartphones from different companies have generally become more uniform in functionality, with no clear innovations that separate one device maker from the rest in a saturated market, and that consumers are generally holding on to their phones for longer periods of time.