An upgraded and more battery-intensive TrueDepth Camera will likely hit iPhones in 2019, which could result in a need for larger batteries, according to one analyst.
Well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities recently said that the adoption of the TrueDepth Camera in the iPhone X — as well as next year’s iPhones and iPads — will lead to a demand for higher-capacity batteries. Presumably, because the TrueDepth system and Face ID use more power than a traditional front-facing camera.
In a research note distributed to clients this week, Kuo added that, for 2019’s iPhones, Apple is likely to implement an upgraded TrueDepth system with enhanced 3D-sensing and augmented reality capabilities beyond the current iPhone X’s version. This upgraded system will consume even more power, and will further necessitate larger-capacity batteries.
According to Kuo, Apple already has the technology to develop larger-capacity batteries without significantly changing an iPhone’s relative shape or size. Much of that is due to the latest battery tech and new semiconductor manufacturing processes, as well as the smaller size of newer internal components. All of this will create the “required space for larger batteries,” Kuo wrote.
Not surprisingly, KGI Securities believes that Apple will use these technologies to continually increase iPhone battery capacities through 2019 and 2020. That’s pretty routine for the company, and could result in iPhones that are the same size as current Apple flagships but with even longer battery life.
The research note also doubled-down on KGI’s predictions that Apple will expand the TrueDepth system to the entire iPhone lineup next year. That includes the iPhone X successor, as well as a 6.4-inch iPhone X Plus and a mid-range, 6.1-inch LCD-based model with metal construction. That’s in addition to a report that forecasted Apple adding the TrueDepth Camera — and Face ID — to its 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro tablets next year.
Currently, it sounds like the TrueDepth system will remain relatively unchanged in next year’s iPhone and iPad lineup — with no major outward-facing upgrades expected for the system. At least at this point.
These reports focus on 2019, but Apple is already rumored to be working on incrementally upgrade battery tech for next year’s devices, too. Kuo forecasted in a previous note that the second-generation iPhone X could use a one-cell, L-shaped battery that would provide about 10 percent more capacity than the current two-cell battery design, around 2,900 to 3,00 mAh. While Kuo said the iPhone X Plus is likely to retain the two-cell battery design used in the current iPhone X, its larger size could result in a battery capacity in the 3,300 to 3,400 mAh range.
The trio of 2018 iPhones are likely to be unveiled at Apple’s fall announcement, which will probably take place in the usual September to October timeframe.