While this year’s iPhone lineup is pretty much locked in by now — we’re expecting some cool new internal features in mostly the same designs as last year — we’ve already heard news suggesting that 2020 is going to be a more exciting year for the iPhone, with Apple expected to unveil new designs and at least a couple of 5G-capable iPhones, along with other possible features like in-display Touch ID.
Now, according to analysts at JP Morgan, it looks like Apple may also be planning another departure from its traditional model lineup. In a report by CNBC, Samik Chatterjee, an analyst at J.P. Morgan, suggested that Apple is planning on launching four iPhone models next year, which will not only include 5G technology and OLED displays, but also start breaking into more virtual reality features.
Our expectations include all three Sep-2020 iPhones (5.4″/6.1″/6.7″ screen sizes) will adopt OLED displays and 5G baseband modems (with support for mmWave frequencies), and at least two of the three models adopting world facing 3D Sensing (Time of Flight) driving industry leading AR/VR capabilities which can be leveraged by custom built applications (including games).Samik Chatterjee, J.P. Morgan analyst, via CNBC
We’ve already heard several reports this year that Apple is planning to go all-in on OLED displays starting next year, dropping the “Liquid Retina” LCD display developed for the iPhone XR out of its lineup entirely, and in fact it’s not surprising considering that Apple is so behind on OLED orders from its suppliers that its considering a switch to them in its iPads and MacBooks as well.
Apple’s 2020 iPhones
Chatterjee’s prediction of the 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch screen sizes also lines up with earlier reports we’ve heard, suggesting that Apple is trying to get its premium smaller iPhone closer to the size of the iPhone SE. It seems likely that the 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch iPhones will still be the two premium, flagship models, which may still be the only ones to feature 5G in 2020, and according to Chatterjee will also receive “world facing 3D sensing” camera technology for AR and VR applications — something we’ve been hearing reports about for a couple of years.
By contrast, the 6.1-inch iPhone would most likely be the direct successor to Apple’s current lower-cost iPhone XR, although it would gain an OLED display if all of these predictions come true. Chatterjee, however, predicts that this model will also include a 5G modem, contradicting an earlier report by the usually reliable Ming-Chi Kuo.
The fourth model, however, is more of a mystery, although the analyst’s note that Apple is going after “a much more ‘value’ category than it has been used to with its recent launches” suggests an even lower-end iPhone, which would place the 6.1-inch iPhone XR successor in more of a mid-tier category. This new model could be tied to a predicted resurrection of the iPhone SE that we’ve been hearing about, or it could be something completely different.
Could the iPhone XE be Apple’s Fifth Column?
There are scattered reports we’ve heard about Apple working on something called an iPhone XE, which would seem to be the logical device to come as a direct replacement for the iPhone SE; its predicted to feature a 4.8-inch display with a Face ID style bezel-less design, which would actually bring it in at almost the same physical size as the iPhone SE, which uses a four-inch display but of course had the standard bezels to accommodate the home button.
The “X” designation would definitely seem to suggest that it would adopt the same form factor as all of the other iPhone X-series devices, but that also doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to incorporate Face ID, and we’ve heard numerous reports that Apple is still working on in-display Touch ID, with suggestions that it’s planning to use the technology to produce a lower-cost iPhone for China, however even if Apple is producing such a device with the more cost-conscious Chinese market in mind, it seems more plausible for Apple to still make it available for sale worldwide, and not just in China.