The successors to the iPhone X are still about a year away, but rumors are already surfacing about what Apple’s 2018 lineup could look like.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who is typically a reliable source for Apple’s future plans, has unleashed a fresh set of rumors concerning Apple’s stable of iPhones next year.
Citing sources within Cupertino’s supply chain in the Far East, Kuo made several early forecasts about the 2018 lineup in a research note distributed to investors Monday.
iPhone X Plus
According to Kuo, Apple will release two iPhone devices with OLED displays and stainless steel cases next year. While Kuo didn’t exactly specify what a second “iPhone X” device could entail, there have been previous rumors that suggest Apple could launch an iPhone X Plus in 2018.
A late August report by The Korea Herald and a September story by The Investor, both of which also cited supply industry sources, corroborates Apple’s plans for two OLED devices — one with a 5.85-inch display, and one with a massive 6.46-inch display.
The latter device, of course, could end up being an iPhone X Plus: a device that applies the iPhone X’s edge-to-edge, bezel-free design to a larger form factor.
New Steel Band Design
In addition to adding another OLED-equipped device, Kuo forecasted that Apple could be on the verge of changing the stainless steel frame to improve the quality of data transmission.
The iPhone X uses four parts for the stainless steel band that wraps around its chassis. Next year’s OLED iPhones, on the other hand, could shift to a design that uses even more parts.
Presumably, this could result in a new visual design for the product — but Kuo predicts that its main purpose is to give a bump to the antenna band’s transmission quality.
Of course, it’s still pretty early for there to be much more than tentative predictions about next year’s iPhones. But we can still get an idea of where Apple’s devices could be headed.
In a previous research note published on Oct. 31, Kuo said that Apple was unlikely to add its TrueDepth Camera system to its iPhone’s rear-facing camera next year — citing the lack of an established AR ecosystems, as well as shipment stability issues that could result from the trickier production requirements that two TrueDepth Cameras could present.
Despite that, Kuo expects Apple to use its new Face ID authentication system across all of its iPhones next year, depending on the consumer response to the platform. Additionally, Kuo says Apple is also likely to add Face ID to its iPad Pro lineup in 2018. Unsurprisingly, Apple will also introduce upgraded technology and other specification improvements to next year’s lineup of devices.