What to Expect from Apple’s Next Phone


It hasn’t been that long since Apple took the wraps off the iPhone X, but it’s clear that the release of this $999 phone has opened a new chapter in Apple’s smartphone story. The smartphone ditches the physical home button and Touch ID, opting instead for a revamped design with an OLED screen that covers nearly its entire front. Add that to the inclusion of a new Face ID face scanner and wireless charging, and it’s perhaps no surprise this new iPhone is so popular.

Apple's 2017 iPhone lineup figures to change next year. (Credit: Tom's Guide)Apple’s 2017 iPhone lineup figures to change next year. (Credit: Tom’s Guide)But now that the iPhone X is on store shelves, the rumor mill is turning its attention to the 2018 slate of iPhones, including possible follow-ups. And if the reports are accurate, there’s a good chance Apple will take what it’s delivered in the iPhone X and expand it to more of its phones next year.

Here’s a look at all the latest rumors surrounding the 2018 slate of iPhones.

When Can We Expect Apple to Update Its iPhone Lineup?

Considering this year’s iPhone releases are still fresh in the memory, and that Apple continues to ramp up iPhone X production to meet demand, it’s a safe bet Apple’s not planning any big announcements in the first half of 2018. Apple typically holds off on major iPhone updates until September, and there’s no reason to believe it will deviate from that pattern.

MORE: How to Use the iPhone X – A Guide to New (or Improved) Features

One possible exception: apart from a boost in capacity, Apple hasn’t updated the iPhone SE since that phone arrived in March 2016, so a new version could be in the works for early 2018. However, given that the SE is Apple’s effort to offer a midrange phone, you’re unlikely to see iPhone X features trickling into that lower-priced model.

What Will Apple Call Its 2018 Phones?

That’s up in the air, too. It’s unclear if the iPhone X moniker is a one-off that Apple used to mark the 10th anniversary of its smartphone lineup or that all future phones featuring the new design will be part of the X family. That’s something we expect to become more clear as we get deeper into 2018.

What Features Can We Expect in the Next iPhone?

Bring On the Augmented Reality: Apple has made it clear that it’s committed to augmented reality, and there are now reports that the company will double down on the technology in the coming years.Bloomberg reports that Apple plans to deliver new laser sensors in a future iPhone X that will be capable of mapping the 3D environment around a person and using that information to inform augmented reality applications.

MORE: Best AR Apps for iOS (So Far)

However, that same report also targets that feature for 2019 iPhones. The 2018 version will get small improvements to its sensors in a step toward a bigger and better augmented reality experience.

The Same Design Concept: Apple’s slate of 2017 iPhones are decidedly different. There are two devices — the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus — that come with a traditional iPhone design, and the iPhone X has the company’s next-generation look and feel.

According to a report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, however, Apple is planning to ditch the old-school design in 2018 and will instead opt for an iPhone X-like design across all its handsets next year. That means the controversial notch will be coming to all the handsets.

So will OLED panels. Apple made the switch to OLED for the iPhone X while still using LCD screens on the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, in part to differentiate the phones but also because OLED panels were in short supply. As early as this past summer though, news outlets were already reporting that all of Apple’s phones would feature OLED screens by 2018.

Screen Size Talk: According to Kuo, Apple is planning two OLED-based iPhone models next year. And although one of those will be the second-generation version of its 5.8-inch iPhone X, a second model would deliver a massive 6.5-inch screen.

Contradicting supply chain reports that Apple is committed to OLED from here on out, some rumors suggest a third iPhone model in 2018 that would sport a 6.1-inch LCD screen.

The Fate of Touch ID:Apple’s Face ID will certainly be a part of the 2018 iPhone line, but Touch ID might make a comeback, too.

In a note to investors in September, Kuo said that Apple is still working on a Touch ID fingerprint sensor that could be baked into its smartphone display. The feature, which Apple couldn’t get to work this year, would allow you to decide whether you want to use Face ID or Touch ID to authenticate yourself, make purchases, and access software.

However, Kuo seems to be hedging, saying that if users really like what they find in Face ID, Apple will ditch its Touch ID plans.

More to Come

It’s early days still for 2018 iPhone rumors, which is not surprising since the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X still have that new smartphone smell. Expect to hear about the next iPhones’ specs, features and whether that $1,000 price tag is also here to stay as 2017 draws to a close and 2018 begins. We’ll regularly update this article with any information that emerges as to what Apple has planned for its future iPhones.

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