What’s in store for the new iPhone in 2019? We won’t officially know until the fall (most likely in September), but until then, you can bet that the rumor mill will be fully operational. This page will keep track of what’s being rumored as new features of the 2019 iPhones, and we’ll provide some analysis and whether or not a rumor seems feasible.
The latest: LCD iPhone XR to stay, gain dual camera
While Tim Cook himself has all but admitted the iPhone XR isn’t selling nearly as well as he hoped it would, it seems like Apple isn’t ready to give up on it just yet. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple will be sticking with the three-model lineup in 2019, with the LCD iPhone XR once again anchoring the low end. The publication says an all-OLED family could be in store for 2020. However, there will be one notable improvement: the XR will reportedly be receiving a dual-camera setup to match the one in the iPhone XS, while the XS Max receives the new triple-camera array.
Plausible: Definitely. The iPhone XR is one of the best phones Apple has ever made, and it would be crazy to outright kill it after just one cycle. In addition to the extra camera, Apple likely has some other refinements, but the question we have is: How will Apple differentiate it between the XS? The camera setup was by far the biggest difference between the two models, so if Apple takes away that advantage, what benefit do buyers have to spend an extra $250 (or whatever it costs next year) on the XS?
The current iPhone XS has a rear dual-camera setup. Could the 2019 iPhone use three cameras? That’s what was rumored last April. though there wasn’t much detail as to how the three-camera system would work.
Digit’s report says that the three 2019 iPhones (that they are calling the “iPhone XI”) will have three rear cameras, two that are in alignment with each other, and another that’s off to the side. Digit speculates that the offset camera could be a 3D camera, based on a Bloomberg report that said that Apple was interested in Sony’s production of next-generation 3D sensors.
Plausible? With the smartphone market becoming more competitive than it’s ever been (insert obligatory mention of Apple’s first quarter 2019 earning guidance readjustment and its iPhone sales slowdown here), the iPhone needs some fancy new features to spur sales. New camera implementations would certainly be attractive.
The problem is, based on the renders, the three-camera system on the back of the new iPhone isn’t very attractive at all. Not only does it looks very un-Apple like, it seems to take up a lot of physical space, and Apple has pointed out in the past how precious the space is on the iPhone. The Digit report and Hemmerstoffer (via Twitter) do stress that the design could change before the September release. A three-camera system seems like a certainty, but hopefully Apple will come up with a more elegant design.
The notch on the iPhone screen not only serves a functional purpose, but it also gave the iPhone a look that was instantly recognizable (at least until other companies copied it). But if the rumors are accurate, don’t expect the notch to be a longtime characteristic of the iPhone.
AMS, a sensor manufacturer, announced that it has created a new optical sensor that can “accurately measure the intensity of ambient light from behind an OLED screen.” According to Reuters, Apple uses AMS optical sensors for 3D facial recognition in the iPhone, so it’s not that far of a reach to think that Apple would want to use AMS’s new TCS3701 Color and Proximity Sensor in the next iPhone. This could result in a much smaller notch, or perhaps no notch at all.
Plausible? Apple and AMS have an established relationship (Reuters says that Apple accounts for 45 percent of AMS’s business), and rumors that Apple has been looking to shrink or eliminate the notch have been out for a while.
But the ambient light and proximity sensors are two of the smallest parts of the TrueDepth module that constitutes the iPhone’s notch. Far larger are the traditional front camera, the infrared front camera, the speaker, and the infrared dot emitter. In order to make the notch noticeably smaller, Apple would need to combine or eliminate some of those elements. Given their current placement, simply moving the proximity sensor and ambient light sensor underneath the OLED display, as per this rumor, wouldn’t do much at all.