For months, we’ve been hearing that Apple will release three new iPhone models this September. A credible report confirms this news, and provides some additional details.
“Apple plans to launch three new phones soon that keep the edge-to-edge screen design of last year’s flagship, according to people familiar with the matter,” Bloomberg reports. “The devices will boast a wider range of prices, features and sizes to increase their appeal, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing unannounced products.”
As you may know, Apple currently sells three new iPhones, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which are physically almost identical to the previous three iPhone generations, and the iPhone X, which is a controversial new design with a notch and no home button.
For 2018, Apple is taking its iPhone X design and applying it to all three new iPhones. This is interesting, given that the iPhone X has not sold as well as Apple or industry analysts had expected, though Apple has routinely claimed that it is the best-selling iPhone model overall. But it’s also interesting because, as Bloomberg’s sources note, that makes 2018 an “S” year where Apple simply reuses previous designs and makes iterative changes. And Apple is apparently “planning more significant changes” for 2019.
Indeed, Apple’s goals for the new iPhone range are both incredibly self-serving, even given its faithful audience of customers. It wishes to raise the average selling price of the iPhone, a strategy it began last year with the $1000 iPhone X. And it wishes to push its digital services ever higher. Both of these goals point to one thing: Apple is feeling the pinch in a smartphone market that has flat-lined. And it is doing what it can to keep revenues high as unit sales flatten or show slow growth.
So here’s the strategy for 2018, as outlined by Bloomberg.
Apple will replace the current iPhone X with a new 5.8-inch model that also features an OLED display. Codenamed D32, this handset seems to be physically identical to the current iPhone X, but it will, of course, feature a faster processor and some camera improvements.
At the high-end, Apple will sell a new “Plus” handset that is codenamed D33. It features a 6.5-inch OLED display, making it the biggest iPhone yet, and will retain the basic iPhone X design, with dual cameras and a glass back. Thanks to its size, users will be able to view apps side-by-side, as is currently possible only on iPads.
At the low-end, Apple will sell a less expensive device, codenamed N84, that is likewise less expensive to build. It will look like the iPhone X, Bloomberg claims, but will provide a 6.1-inch LCD display, come in multiple colors, and have aluminum (as opposed to stainless steel) edges.
All three iPhones will ship without a home button, like the iPhone X, and will thus use the same gesture-based navigation system and Face ID-based sign-in capabilities. The two larger iPhones will feature dual-SIM trays, a first for Apple, at least in some locales.
As for the naming, it appears that Apple has predictably run into some issues, given the way it named last year’s models. Bloomberg wasn’t able to learn the final names, but the publication was told that Apple had at one point considered iPhone Xs for the lineup. And had considered dropping the “Plus” name.