While the lineup of iPhones that Apple will debut later this year are expected to follow directly in the footprints of last year’s iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR — they’ll almost certainly be getting a big camera upgrade, but are otherwise expected to retain the same overall format factor and screen sizes — we’re naturally expecting much more from Apple’s 2020 lineup next year, and if recent rumours are true, we’re not going to be disappointed.
We heard reports earlier this year that Apple was planning to go all-in on OLED, which was later confirmed with another report that suggested the company would be changing up the iPhone sizes next year. Now a new report from well-respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is more often right about these things than not, all but confirms this.
According to MacRumors, Kuo shared a research note with Taiwanese media outlets today saying that Apple’s high-end iPhones — which will basically continue the iPhone XS legacy — will come in 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch dimensions, while a lower-end 6.1-inch model will continue to be available, but will gain an OLED screen. This latter model is the logical successor to the iPhone XR, although it would represent the end of the Liquid Retina LCD display that Apple created specifically for that model.
These new dimensions would represent a slight increase from the current iPhone XS Max, pushing it up by about 0.2 inches, while screen on the future version of the iPhone XS would be reduced in size by 0.4 inches.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that Kuo is referring to screen sizes here, and not the actual dimensions of the 2020 iPhone models. We’ve heard nothing about the aspect ratios of the new screens yet, so it’s also possible that the physical dimensions of the iPhone may not change significantly; screen size is measured diagonally from corner to corner, and therefore isn’t always directly correlated to the actual surface area of the screen. For example, the 5.8-inch screen on the 2017 iPhone X was actually slightly smaller than the 5.5-inch screen on the iPhone 8 Plus, as the latter had a lower aspect ratio.
Kuo also reiterates his earlier reports that Apple will indeed be moving to 5G by 2020, but suggests that only the higher-end models will sport 5G modem chips, while the iPhone XR successor will remain an LTE device. Kuo expects Apple to move all of its iPhones to 5G by 2021, and anticipates that the company will have its own 5G modem chips ready between 2022 and 2023.
Qualcomm is naturally expected to be the primary supplier of 5G modem chips for the time being, although Apple is hedging its bets by sourcing some from Samsung as well. The needed RF power amplifiers for 5G radios are expected to come from Broadcom, and Apple will reportedly be designing its own antennas. Not surprisingly, the use of Qualcomm chips will ensure that that the 2020 iPhones will support both of the leading 5G standards — sub-6GHz and mmWave — ensuring maximum compatibility worldwide. Due to antenna requirements however, it’s less clear whether Apple will be producing universally compatible models or may still create multiple versions for use in different countries, as it did for its early LTE models.
Little else is known about the 2020 iPhone lineup at this point, although it’s safe to say that it will be building on the shoulders of the 2019 iPhones that we’re expecting to see debuted in a couple of months, and which will include a triple-lens camera system for the higher-end models while the iPhone XR successor will get a bump up to a dual-lens system, along with two-way wireless charging, indoor navigation, and of course Apple’s even more insanely powerful new A13 chip.