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The iPhone X was just recently released into the hands of consumers, but Apple has its sights set on securing displays and parts for next fall’s lineup of devices, fueling speculation about 2018’s iPhone models.
Industry rumors, reported by The Korea Herald in late August, suggest that Apple is planning to release iPhone models with 5.8- and 6.46-inch OLED displays next year, the latter of which may end up being designated the iPhone X Plus. An LCD display iPhone is also rumored to be on the way with a screen at least 6 inches or larger.
Apple’s development work with Samsung Display and other third-party manufacturers on the OLED iPhones reportedly began “earlier than usual”. “The development schedule has been advanced considering diverse factors such as funding, facility investment and production plans,” one source familiar with the proceedings told ET News, according to The Korea Herald. “Work for this year’s iPhone started in April, also earlier than usual.”
Apple was apparently planning to manufacture devices with a smaller form factor for 2018, featuring 5.28- and 6.46-inch screens. However, the report conjectures that Cupertino may have opted for larger screens due to increased consumer demand for “phablet”-type smartphones and also thanks to technological advances that have enabled phone manufacturers to do away with the home button.
In May, The Korea Herald reported, via The Bell, that Samsung is expected to secure an order for 180 million OLED panels from Apple for 2018’s iPhones. Samsung and Apple “have recently signed a non-disclosure agreement on general conditions, including the screen size,” The Bell report quoted industry sources as saying, though clearly that hasn’t prevented leaks and rumors. “Other details such as screen design and functions could be adjusted considering the phone is still under development.”
The iPhone’s last major redesign took place in 2014 with the release of the incredibly popular iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. That particular design was then carried to 2015’s iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, then slightly altered in 2016 for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus with varying camera lenses, revised antenna bands, and removal of the headphone jack.
Based on Apple’s history and iPhone redesigns from the past, it’s expected that the iPhone X Plus will retain the same look as its smaller stablemate. Its design will also likely be carried over to 2019’s iPhone XI and iPhone XI Plus.
However, Ming-Chi Kuo reports that the iPhone X Plus could feature a new steel band design. While it wouldn’t look much different than the current steel band on the iPhone X, a more seamless version using less parts is expected to be used in effort to improve the quality of the antenna band’s data transmission.
The 6.5-inch OLED iPhone X Plus would be equipped with a battery capacity between 3,300 and 3,400 mAh while the 5.8-inch OLED iPhone would have a battery similar to the current iPhone X — with a capacity between 2,700 to 2,800 mAh, Kuo predicted.
Apple’s decision may also have been motivated by a desire to compete against the large display smartphones being manufactured by Samsung. The Galaxy Note 8 “phablet”, for instance, has already been pegged as the Apple iPhone 8 Plus’ primary competitor. A recent DxOMark benchmark camera test, for instance, designated the Samsung phone as the “new joint leader for smartphone image quality alongside Apple’s iPhone 8 Plus.”
But its “Infinity Display” is undoubtedly the most distinctive feature of the Samsung flagship phone. The Galaxy Note 8 is the biggest phone that Samsung currently makes, featuring a 6.3-inch SuperAMOLED display and very thin bezels. It’s advertised as enabling multitasking and cinematic viewing experiences thanks to its 18.5:9 aspect ratio. While these oversized phones have their detractors, they also have enjoyed strong support globally, which may have influenced Apple’s screen size calculations.
If the industry reports are true, Apple’s next 6.46-inch iPhone X Plus would overtake the Galaxy Note 8 and may be put in direct competition with its successor, in spite of the fact that its displays are manufactured by Samsung.
|Galaxy Note 8||6GB||2.3GHz||Dual 12MP, Telephoto|
|iPhone X||3GB||2.4GHz||Dual 12MP, Telephoto|
|iPhone X Plus||6GB*||2.4GHz||Dual 12MP, Telephoto|
Apple’s A11 Bionic chip, which is featured in the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, as well as the upcoming iPhone X, is an absolute powerhouse putting the Note 8 to shame. The iPhone 8 has been declared (via Geekbench 4 scores) to be the world’s fastest smartphone and the iPhone X Plus, featuring the same A11 Bionic chip, will also boast that title.
With that being said, the only area the iPhone X Plus could be lacking is its RAM capacity. The iPhone X Plus would need to pack a massive 6GB of RAM in order to beat out the Galaxy Note 8, which certainly won’t happen. Apple might bump up the iPhone X Plus’ RAM from 3GB to 4GB; and optimized with iOS 11, 4GB of RAM could be enough to outpace the Note 8 during memory intensive tasks – however on paper the Galaxy Note 8 will come out on top with an extra 2GB of RAM.
While many users are looking forward to getting their hands on the iPhone X Plus, the bigger version of Apple’s current flagship iPhone X, there’s no official word on price or a release date at this point in time.
However, market speculators expect iPhone X Plus to be released in fall of 2018 with a starting price of $1,099. If history repeats itself (like Apple has done countless times before), we’re confident that this move to capture Plus-sized users will happen sooner rather than later. Our confidence stems from reports revealing that Apple’s profit margin on Plus-sized models is higher than compared to regular-sized models. In short, the additional $100 price increase from regular options to Plus-sized options are significantly justified when units are produced at scale, with higher returns for Apple. With that being said, a smart move for Apple would be to introduce an iPhone X Plus as early as possible this year.