JUST A DAY after the first images of alleged iPhone X Plus parts surfaced online, Bloomberg is reporting that Apple's "biggest smartphone yet" will make its debut this year.
Mark Gurman, notorious for legitimate Apple leaks, reports that the iPhone X Plus will see an official launch later this year and will be just one of three new iPhones in 2018.
According to Gurman, the so-called iPhone X Plus will arrive alongside "an upgraded handset the same size as the current iPhone X and a less expensive model with some of the flagship phone's key features."
The iPhone X Plus, codenamed 'D33', sounds like it will be the most interesting of the three, with its 6.5in OLED display set to fit into a device with the same physical footprint as the iPhone 8 Plus thanks to its lack of physical home button and edge-to-edge display.
It's OLED display will pack a 1242x2688 display, according to the report, making it "about as sharp" as the 5.8in screen on the original iPhone X.
The iPhone X Plus, along with the 5.8in iPhone X successor - codenamed 'D22' - could be made available in a gold colour option for the first time, the report claims. Bloomberg notes that Apple tried to develop a gold version of the current iPhone X handset, but abandoned it because of "production problems".
All three incoming models, including the more-affordable LCD-equipped model, will pack Apple's next-generation A12 processor, the report adds, alongside iOS 12 and a built-in Face ID sensor.
There's no word as to when the smartphones will be making their debut, but it's likely Apple will hold its launch event in September.
26/2/18: A leak alleged to have come from an LG display production facility in Vietnam has given us our first glimpse of Apple's iPhone X Plus.
A pair of images posted on MacX forums show what appears to be an iPhone X-shaped pane of glass. It's clearly bigger than the panel found on the current-gen iPhone X, and looks like it could have a smaller notch too - matching up with earlier rumours that claimed that Apple will downsize the notch on future iPhone X models.
Although unclear whether the leak is legit, MacRumours notes that the flex cable looks authentic, as does the part number printed on it.
Also adding weight to the leak is the fact that earlier rumours also claimed that, while Samsung currently uses Samsung as its supplier for OLED displays, it's planning to use LG's OLED facility for its 2018 iPhone models.
16/2/18: Apple will release a 6.1in iPhone this year that will resemble the iPhone X and cost just $699 (around £500) according to KGI.
In a note seen by 9to5Mac, KGI is predicting that Apple's mooted 6.1in iPhone will "use slightly less premium components" than the iPhone X, such as an aluminium frame instead of stainless steel. Despite this, it will reportedly look nearly identical to Apple's notch-equipped flagship.
This all sounds like a winning formula to KGI, which expects the 6.1in LCD-screened model to be Apple's "most popular" 2018 device, and expects it to see total sales of around 100 million units.
In comparison, KGI's Ming-Chi Kuo expects the current iPhone X to ship a total of 62 million units in its lifetime.
Alongside the 6.1in iPhone, Apple is also expected to launch a new and improved iPhone X with souped-up internals and a larger iPhone X Plus with a 6.5in OLED display. While KGI expects the lesser-specced model to retail for $699, pricing for the other two models is not yet known.
5/2/18: Apple will reportedly make Intel its sole supplier of cellular modems for its 2018 iPhones, eliminating its reliance on Qualcomm.
So says KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, naturally, who reports via 9to5Mac that: "Intel will be the exclusive supplier of baseband chip for 2H18 new iPhone models, while Qualcomm may not have a share of the orders at all."
According to Kuo, Intel can meet Apple's technical requirements and offers more competitive prices. The modem which Apple may be using is Intel's XMM 7560 modem which supports 4×4 MIMO technology.
This move comes amid escalating tensions between Apple and Qualcomm. One of the firms' most recent legal squabbles saw the chipmaker accuse Apple of sharing proprietary code with Intel, including confidential information about its chips.
Despite this ongoing hostility between the two firms, Kuo doesn't rule out Qualcomm returning to the supply chain, perhaps as concessions in the patent lawsuit settlement.
He adds that there's also a risk that Intel may not be ready for 5G as quickly as Qualcomm, which may also force Apple's hand.
26/1/18: Apple will launch a single OLED iPhone this year with a 6.5in screen, according to Digitimes, despite earlier speculation that it was also planning a 5.8in successor to the iPhone X.
Digitimes' report, which we'd advise to take with a pinch of salt, claims that Apple plans to abandon the 5.8in OLED iPhone form factor after just one generation, and plans instead to launch just the 6.5in iPhone X Plus later this year.
It notes, however, that Apple has "not yet made the final decision" and notes that the firm has been testing four different iPhone designs for 2018.
Still, it seems pretty confident that Apple'' 2018 lineup will comprise of 5.8in LCD, a 6.1in LCD and the 6.5in OLED phone iPhone models.
Elsewhere in its report, Digitimes also claims that an iPhone SE successor with wireless charging, and no 3D Touch, will make its debut later this year.
19/1/18: A new report from KGI, via 9to5Mac, reaffirms previous speculation that Apple will launch a three-tier iPhone lineup this year, including a 6.1in LCD model with a "similar design to the iPhone X", a sequel to last year's iPhone X and the 6.5in iPhone X Plus.
This comes despite KGI's claims that the iPhone X hasn't sold as well as first thought. The analyst outfit expects Apple to ship 18 million iPhone X units in the current quarter, significantly below other estimates in the 20-30 million range.
With these lacklustre figures in mind, KGI expects the iPhone X to hit end of life status around mid-2018 with sales of 62 million units in total, lower than its previous forecast of 80 million.
30/11/17: Apple is reportedly developing in-house power management chips that could debut in next year's iPhones, according to a report at Nikkei.
The report claims that the chip "would be the most advanced in the industry" and could dramatically extend the battery life of iPhones. Nikkei says that while a timeframe is not yet locked down, Apple is hoping to debut the chips in its 2018 iPhones.
This could be bad news for UK outfit Dialog, which currently designs the power management chips for iPhones. If Apple - which last year accounted for 74 per cent of Dialog's revenue - was to switch to in-house circuitry, it would no longer be required to hand over royalty payments.
The company's stock has already fallen by 15 per cent following Nikkei's report, although neither Apple nor Dialog have commented on the rumours.
Earlier this year, Apple told UK-based Imagination Technologies that it would stop licensing its GPU designs. This news saw the company's stock tumble more than 70 per cent in a single day, and the two firms are now embroiled in a legal battle.
20/11/17: KGI Securities is predicting that Apple's 2018 iPhone line-up will include 'significantly faster' baseband chips, with Intel set to be the main supplier.
KGI says that Intel will provide 70 to 80 per cent of the improved chips, which will pack 4×4 MIMO technology compared to the current 2×2 MIMO chips currently used in Apple smartphones.
The remaining chips are set to come from Qualcomm, according to the research note, despite previous speculation that Apple was set to cut ties with the American chipmaker due to escalating legal tensions between the two firms.
While Qualcomm will still have a hand in next year's iPhones, KGI notes that Apple is working on building its own baseband chips, in a bid to help it reduce costs in the future.
14/11/17: Apple will reportedly release three new iPhones next year and all of them will come with a notched display, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Kuo expects Apple to release three iPhones in 2018, including 5.8in and 6.5in models with OLED displays and a cheaper 6.1in handset with an LCD display, according to a research note seen by MacRumours.
"Two new OLED models target high-end market; new TFT-LCD model aims at low-end & midrange markets," Kuo said.
"The new TFT-LCD model will differ significantly from the OLED models in hardware and design specs (for instance, the PPI will be lower). The primary selling points of the TFT-LCD model may be the innovative user experience of an integrated full-screen design and 3D sensing with a lower price tag (we expect it will likely be US$649-749)."
Kuo goes on to say that all three models will likely come equipped with a full-screen notched design and TrueDepth camera system like that seen on the iPhone X, with all three handsets tipped to dump Touch ID in favour of Apple's new, crackable Face ID system.
Earlier rumours also claimed that next year's iPhone(s) could ship without modem chips from Qualcomm, with Apple said to be testing modem chips from Intel and MediaTek to potentially include in its 2018 hardware line-up. There's also talk of the so-called iPhone 11 packing a Samsung-built A12 chip.
Kuo also suggested that Apple will have a lot more of the 'new' iPhones available at launch when compared to the 80 million iPhone units shipped in the second half of this year.
While Kuo predicts the cheaper LCD model to fetch around $700, there's no word yet as to how much Apple's next-gen OLED models are likely to cost.
We're going to go out on a whim and predict that the new iPhones will probably be announced in September next year. µ
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