Apple’s annual iPhone releases typically come in two flavors. There are the groundbreaking years, and then there are “S” years that only see routine and incremental upgrades. Just think of the iPhone 6s' release compared to the iPhone X.
It’s hard to say whether 2018 was one or the other, but it’s looking like 2019 will be a similarly unclear year for Apple’s flagship product. But that just means that there are a slew of major updates on the table for 2020. And when we say major, we mean it. Continue reading to learn 5 ways 2020 will be an insane year for iPhones.
The era of the foldable smartphone is here. This week, Samsung debuted its appropriately named Galaxy Fold device that can transform from a smartphone to a tablet on the fly. While none of Apple’s current devices are foldable, the company may not be far behind.
Just head of the Galaxy Fold’s debut, an Apple patent application blueprinting a foldable iPhone was published. This isn’t the first time Apple has patented some type of foldable display tech — the company has had a long interested in the area. And while patents don’t come with a release timeline, at least one report suggests that a foldable iPhone could launch next year.
For better or worse, Apple is typically slower to adopt new cellular technologies than its competitors. While the hype around 5G is strong for 2019, Apple stands out as one of the only major smartphone OEMs said to be holding off on adopting the next-generation tech until 2020.
5G is largely expected to revolutionize the way we interact with technology and the internet, but it’s probably not going to change the world this year — or anytime soon. So while Apple’s decision to wait until 2020 to debut a 5G iPhone could backfire, it may also just be “right on time” so to speak.
3D Laser Cameras
Apple is rumored to be developing an advanced laser-powered, rear-facing camera system with depth-sensing capabilities. Think of it like a longer-range TrueDepth camera, just on the opposite side. The system is expected to significantly boost augmented reality experiences and overall camera quality.
What has been less clear is the laser camera’s release date. Back in 2017, Bloomberg reported that the system could debut on an iPhone in 2019. But a more recent Bloomberg story indicates that the release timeline has now shifted to 2020. Interestingly, that report also hints that the 3D camera could be added to Apple’s iPad Pro lineup in 2020, too.
5nm Chip Process
A smartphone chip’s fabrication process plays a big role in how those chips perform. Currently, most flagship smartphone chips — like the A12 Bionic or the Snapdragon 855 — are made used a 7nm fabrication process. But chipmakers are always looking to shrink their die size, and Apple supplier TSMC is no different.
TSMC recently confirmed that it would have 5nm chips ready in time for Apple’s 2020 iPhones. The miniaturized fabrication process should result in chips with improved performance, battery life and thermal management. And that could bode well for Apple and its customers, since the company’s A-series chips are already the fastest on the market.
All-OLED & USB-C
Most modern flagships sport OLED displays and USB-C, but Apple is still keeping LCD displays and its Lightning connector around. Despite older rumors to the contrary, this year’s iPhone XR successor may also be LCD-based. And the entire 2019 iPhone lineup could also retain Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector.
The rumors aren’t unanimous about Apple ditching LCD or Lightning this year. Many reports hint that Apple will switch to an all-OLED iPhone lineup by 2020. Similarly, Apple has already laid the groundwork for a switch to USB-C with its Mac and iPad lineups. And there are reports that Apple is currently testing USB-C iPhones. If it doesn’t switch this year, there's a strong case that it may by 2020.