If history is a guide, we’re a little under a year away from the 2018 iPhone announcement. Even then, we’re already getting a glimpse of what next year’s iPhone lineup could look like.
For a while now, supply chain and industry rumors seemed to hint that Apple is planning on releasing two OLED-based devices next year. Presumably, they’ll share design similarities to the current top-tier iPhone X flagship, with an edge-to-edge display and no Home button. Essentially, an “iPhone X” and “iPhone X Plus.” These two devices are rumored to sport 5.85- and 6.46-inch OLED displays, respectively.
There were also rumors that Apple was working on an OLED-equipped device with a smaller form factor, possibly an iPhone with a 5.28-inch display. But recent reports suggest that Apple has scrapped those plans, and is now opting to release a larger device with a 6-inch LCD display — presumably to meet the increasing demand for larger, “phablet-style” handsets.
2018 iPhone Lineup
The 2018 lineup might look like this:
- “iPhone X” with a 5.85-inch display
- “iPhone X Plus” with a massive 6.46-inch display
- “iPhone” an entry-level, LCD display-equipped with a display around 6 inches
Of course, it is still incredibly early in the 2018 iPhone development process. We only know so much about next year’s lineup of devices because, as The Korea Herald points out, work on 2018’s lineup of devices has started “earlier than usual.”
iPhone 9? iPhone XI?
Now, the iPhone X and iPhone 8 lineup of 2017 creates an interesting moniker problem for Apple. Would the lower-range, incremental iPhones be dubbed iPhone 9? Similarly, another question is whether the direct successor to the iPhone X will be called something like the iPhone XI (iPhone 11). The truth of the matter is that, at this point, we’re not sure — but Ashraf Eassa, of The Motley Fool, has an interesting theory.
According to Eassa, Apple could have deliberately styled the iPhone X’s moniker so it could continue to use the brand for successive handsets. Basically, next year’s 2018 iPhone X would still be called the iPhone X (possibly with a switch to pronouncing it “X” rather than “10”). Additionally, Eassa adds that the iPhone 8 will be the last LCD-style iPhone to be numbered. He theorizes that future iterations of the iPhone lineup would just be called “iPhone.”
There’s certainly a precedent for that, too. This year’s entry-level iPad was dubbed, simply, “iPad.” Similarly, each year’s new lineup of iPad Pro devices are just called “iPad Pro.” It’s also similar to how Apple handles new iterations of its MacBook Pro and Apple TV devices. Indeed, the iPhone has long been the outlier as far as how they’ve been named.
Due to that, it certainly looks plausible that 2017 will be the last year for numbered monikers. Future Apple handsets would either just be called “iPhone” or “iPhone X.”
As always, it’s important to take these rumors with a grain of salt — especially since the devices are about a year away. Any information we have about the 2018 iPhones is subject to change, including how many new handsets Apple will release.