27/6/18: Apple's 6.1in LCD iPhone will arrive in September despite "difficulties" in mass production, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
In a new research note, Kuo - now of TF International Securities after leaving KGI Securities - reiterates his previous predictions that the mid-sized iPhone will be a "popular option" thanks to its iPhone X-a-like features and lower price-tag.
He writes that the 6.1in iPhone will feature an LCD display with an all-screen (read: notch-equipped) design similar to that seen on the iPhone X. Because of the decision to switch to LCD, Kuo claims that mass production is "more difficult" and will unlikely kick off until later this year, but notes that the model will be ready for release in September.
And it'll be cheaper than first thought, too. Kuo says that he expects the LCD iPhone to retail for $600-$700 (around £450-£530), despite previously predicting a $700-$800 starting price.
This price is afforded by the handset's cheaper LCD panel, the removal of 3D Touch and the decision to stick with a single rear camera, Kuo notes, adding that Apple will also release an LCD phone in 2019 - despite earlier speculation of a shift to a full OLED line-up.
New iPhones aren't the only new Apple products to expect this year either, according to Kuo. He notes that the firm will also launch a cheaper MacBook Air, iPad Pro models with Face ID and new Apple Watch models with larger displays.
22/6/18: The largest of Apple's incoming 2018 iPhone trio, the iPhone X Plus, is expected to be the most popular model.
Korean website The Bell reports that the so-called iPhone X Plus, which will allegedly pack a 6.5in OLED display, is likely to be Apple's best-seller, with the firm ordering more screen panels for the plus-sized handset than any other model.
It claims that Apple has ordered 45 million 6.5in panels, compared to around 25 million panels for the 5.8in iPhone X successor, and 30 million 6.04in LCD screens for the new lower-priced flagship.
The Bell notes, however, that these orders could be readjusted "depending on future sales", noting that Apple scaled-back parts orders earlier this year due to lower-than-expected demand for the iPhone X.
19/6/18: Chipmaker Intel has begun production of modem chips for Apple's next-generation iPhones.
Thanks to escalating tensions between Apple and Qualcomm, Intel is expected to supply the majority, if not all of the modem chips for Apple's 2018 iPhone line-up.
Nikkei reports that Intel has started production of the XMM 7560 modem chips, the first that the chipmaker has produced in-house.
"XMM 7560 [modem chips are] now in the process of being deployed… It is in trial and mass production", Intel's VP of Technology, Systems Architecture and Client Group, Asha Keddy, was quoted as saying by Nikkei as saying.
Keddy added that the XMM 7560 modem chip is a milestone for Intel as it is the company's first with CDMA support, which means iPhones equipped with the new Intel modem chips will finally be available on all major carriers.
Built on the 14nm process, the XMM 7560 is also the first modem chip by Intel to offer download speed of up to 1Gbps with support for 35 LTE bands.
The report claims that Intel is also working with Apple to develop the XMM 8000 series of 5G modems which are expected to debut in the iPhone models set to arrive in 2019.
14/6/18: Apple's 2018 iPhones will offer improved fast charging technologies, according to new rumours.
Following recent chatter that the incoming iPhone trio would be the first to ship with a USB-C cable, Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang claims that Apple might team up with new suppliers who can provide higher-powered charging components.
In a research note seen by AppleInsider, Zhang says he expects Apple to upgrade from 5V 2A to 9V 2A and 5V 3A charging circuitry in its upcoming iPhones, thanks to a partnership with a company called Power Integrations who will allegedly replace ON Semiconductor and NXP as the "the main provider for the charging solution for all new iPhone and iPads."
This shift will allow the iPhone to "support more applications, provide a quicker recharge, and better compete with Android OEMs," Zhang said.
12/6/18: Apple's new iPhones will reportedly ship with a Lightning to USB-C cable as Apple prepares to add a USB-C port to its 2019 iDevice lineup.
The unlikely rumour comes via Digitimes, which claims that Apple will bundle 2018 iPhones with a Lightning to USB-C cable and a new 18W charger, enabling users to take advantage of Type-C fast charging without needing to buy additional accessories.
More interestingly, Digitimes claims that Apple will be ditching its proprietary Lightning connection, first introduced in 2012, with USB-C in 2019. The shift, which will see Apple joining the rest of the smartphone world. was allegedly considered for the 2018 iPhones but left too late in the process to implement.
Although such a move seems unlikely, it also makes a lot of sense. Apple has already adopted USB-C in its MacBook devices, and USB Type-C is more robust than the firm's own Lightning connector in terms of bandwidth.
What's more, adopting USB-C would allow Apple device users to use the same cables and charging accessories across all of their devices, albeit bad news for those who have forked out for Lightning headphones or other accessories.
11/6/18: Leaked schematics have given us a closer look at Apple's incoming iPhone X Plus and LCD 'iPhone'.
The schematics were obtained by Forbes from accessory maker Ghostek, and there's a fair chance the latter has access to design information ahead of the handsets' September launch. It'd also provided Forbes with accurate schematics before, most notably ahead of the launch of the Galaxy S9.
First on show is the iPhone X Plus (above) which Forbes claims will come with a 6.5in OLED screen, corroborating earlier rumours. The handset will allegedly measure in at 157x77x78, making it slightly smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus. However, it's expected to boast a steel chassis, which will likely make it weightier than its aluminium-clad, plus-sized predecessor.
The schematics also show what Forbes claims is a triple-lens camera on the rear of the iPhone X Plus, similar to that seen on the Huawei P20 Pro. However, one of the three cutouts is likely a flash, as Apple isn't rumoured to be switching to triple-lens cameras until next year.
Next up is Apple's long-rumoured "affordable" LCD handset (below), which Forbes claims will be called the, er, 'iPhone'.
This will have a 6.1in screen, according to this latest leak, and will measure in at 147.12x71.52 mm - longer and wider than current iPhones with 5.8in displays.
The report notes that the 'iPhone' will come with the same Face ID tech as first seen on the iPhone X, while the iPhone X Plus will boast 'second generation' mug-scanning tech.
7/6/18: Apple's incoming trio of iPhones might be cheaper than expected.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, famed for his accurate Apple forecasts, said in a recent research note (via MacRumours) that pricing for Apple's incoming iPhones could start at just $600 (£465). That will bag you the 6.1in LCD model, according to Kuo.
Apple's 5.8in iPhone 6 successor will cost between "$800-$900" (£600-£670), Kuo claims, which means despite offering similar specs to the current iPhone X, it could be
Unsurprisingly, the rumoured 6.5in OLED iPhone will be the most expensive of Apple's 2018 smartphones, with Kuo predicting a starting price of between $900 and $1,000 (£670-£745).
Kuo said in his research note: "We forecast that Apple will adopt a more aggressive price policy for the following reasons: (1) concern over the negative impact of a higher price in a mature smartphone market on selling momentum, (2) improved cost structure, which is mainly attributed to assembly yield improvements of end product & 3D sensing and cost reduction of components, and (3) increasing users of Face ID benefiting the promotion of the Apple service and ecosystem."
Kuo also believes that Apple will announce and release all three 2018 iPhones in September, including the LCD model which recent reports claimed won't start shipping until November.
4/6/18: Apple's long-rumoured 'affordable' LCD iPhone has reportedly been delayed due to issues with its display.
So says Korean news site The Bell, which reports that the LCD display - which will have a notch cutout akin to the iPhone X' OLED display - is suffering production issues.
Both Japanese firm JDI and LG Display are "struggling to secure yields", with the redesigned screen said to be causing light leakage that can affect the readings of Apple's Face ID-enabling TrueDepth camera.
"There is a problem with the yield of the added process and the light leakage problem due to the application of the notch design, and it is expected that mass production will be possible by the end of the year," an industry analyst told The Bell.
This means that the LCD iPhone, expected to be the cheapest in Apple's upcoming 2018 lineup, will unlikely be released until November.
"Apple will release the three kinds of LCDs in September," an industry source added, noting that "it is predicted that the LCD iPhone will be released and shipped in November."
23/5/18: TSMC has reportedly started production on the processors set to debut inside this year's lineup of new iPhones.
So says Bloomberg, which reports that the processor - likely to be called the A12 chip - will use a 7-nanometer (7nm) design that will enable smaller, faster and more efficient processors than the 10nm chips found in current iDevices.
And while specifics details have yet to emerge, TSMC claims on its website that its 7nm processor allows for a 20 per cent improvement in performance and around 40 per cent power reduction.
The Taiwanese chipmaker confirmed to Bloomberg that production had begun, but declined to disclose Apple as its customer.
The report arrives just hours after Samsung announced today that it'll start producing 7nm chips at scale next year. The company has manufactured iPhone chips in the past and shared production with TSMC on the A9 chip in the iPhone 6S, but TSMC has been Apple's exclusive SoC partner ever since.
10/5/18: The iPhone X Plus will feature the same footprint as the iPhone 8 despite packing a larger 6.5in display, according to Macotakara.
The website, citing a "reliable supplier source,", claims that Apple's supersized iPhone X Plus will be the same size as the iPhone 8 Plus - which packs a much smaller 5.5in display - thanks to its dramatically smaller bezels.
However, Macorakara claims that the handset will be slightly thicker (0.2mm) than the iPhone 8 Plus due to a "different implementation" of the rear-facing camera, which means it likely will measure in around the 7.7mm mark.
Seperately, the report claims that Apple's second-gen 5.8in iPhone X will feature a larger camera sensor than the original model, although specifics were not mentioned.
It also notes that the next version of Apple's mobile OS, iOS 12, will bring support for horizontal Face ID unlocking. Currently, Face ID can only recognize you while you hold the phone vertically, but horizontal unlock makes sense for the near tablet-sized iPhone X Plus.
1/5/18: Apple reportedly won't bundle a Lighting to 3.5mm dongle with its 2018 iPhones as the firm looks to eliminate the headphone jack completely.
Ever since Apple decided to drop the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the company has included a Lighting to 3.5mm adaptor in the box.
However, a research note from Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis, seen by AppleInsider, claims that this will stop this year, with the analyst noting "we currently model no dongle this year".
Curtis didn't provide any evidence, but his claims are backed up by earlier reports that Apple wants to lower the cost of its upcoming iPhones, and getting rid of the adaptor would push down the company's expenses.
Such a move, while frustrating, wouldn't be the end of the world, as Apple the adaptor as a standalone accessory for £9, which is cheap by the company's standards.
27/4/18: Apple's upcoming 6.1in might scrap 3D Touch due to 'cost constraints', according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
According to Kuo, the entry-level 6.1in iPhone will use a new technology called 'Cover Glass Sensor' (CGS) that will see the handset's touch control module relocated from the display panel to the actual glass. This CGS glass will reportedly make for a lighter and more shock resistant display, according to the note seen by Chinese site Feng
In addition to the in-glass sensor, Apple will also equip the glass with a 'touch film sensor'. While the purpose of this remains unclear, Kuo notes that it will make the cost of the touch panel 15 per cent more expensive - with Apple set to pay $26 per touch panel, compared to $23 currently.
In order to offset the cost of the new display tech, Kuo claims that Apple will get rid of the 3D Touch functionality on the 6.1in iPhone. However, it'll remain intact on Apple's 5.8in and 6.5in OLED iPhones, Kuo notes.
These might be the last two iPhones to offer the functionality, though, as the research note claims that Apple plans to incorporate the CGS tech into future iPhones, including OLED models starting in 2019, 3D Touch could potentially be removed from all future iPhones.
26/5/18: Intel will supply 70 per cent of LTE chips for Apple's upcoming 2018 iPhones and could soon become the firm's sole supplier, Fast Company reports.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously hinted that Intel might become Apple's sole supplier of LTE modems this year, as tensions between the iPhone maker and Qualcomm escalate.
However, a source with knowledge of Apple's plans told Fast Company that Intel will supply the majority of the firm's modem chips in 2018, noting that this is the first year that the chipmaker is fabricating its own chips using the 14nm process.
"There's also a chance that if Intel can produce enough chips on time and on budget it could get more than the planned 70 per cent," the report notes.
Despite the friction between the two firms, Qualcomm will reportedly provide the remainder of the chips.
However, the firm could soon be kicked to the curb, as Fortune notes that Apple will transition solely to Intel for its 2019 iPhone lineup if all goes to plan this year.
25/4/18: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) has reportedly started production of the A12 processor that will debut inside Apple's next-generation iPhones.
The chip is being produced using TSMC's 7-nanometer (nm) production process, according to Digitimes, making it the first A-series chip to use this process. The A11 Bionic chip used inside the iPhone X and iPhone X was suit on the 10nm process.
The A12 chip - which will reportedly be the first processor based on the 7nm processor, likely followed by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 - looks set to equip Apple's iPhone X2 with a boost in both speed and a better battery life. TSMC claims on its website that its 7nm processor allows for a 20 per cent improvement in performance and around 40 per cent power reduction.
Separately, Digitimes notes that TSMC will be the sole producer of A12 chips, despite rumours that Samsung was competing with the firm for A12 production.
22/3/18: Apple plans to start a trial production run of its 2018 iPhone lineup in the second quarter, Digitimes reports.
The move comes as Apple looks to avoid the manufacturing delays that plagued the original iPhone X, which were said to have been caused by low yield rates on the production of its 3D sensor modules.
Digitimes' source claims that "the trial production will help push ahead the delivery schedules for 2018 iPhone devices so that they will rekindle its smartphone momentum", noting that sales of the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X have all been "lower than expected."
21/3/18: The next-generation iPhone X will cost "much less" than Apple's current £1,000 flagship, according to reports.
Apple is expected to launch three iPhone variants this year - a 6.5in OLED model, a 6.1in LCD model, and a 5.8in OLED model.
According to a new report from Digitimes Research senior analyst Luke Lin, the 5.8in variant of the second-gen iPhone X will be much cheaper to manufacture than the current model, despite its expensive OLED display.
Lin, citing information from Apple's upstream supply chain, claims the new device's manufacturing bill of materials (MBOM) will be more than 10 per cent lower than that for the original iPhone X, which reportedly costs Apple $400 to build.
This cost-saving will be passed along to the customer, claims Lin, who says the 5.85in iPhone X will be the cheapest of Apple's 2018 iPhones.
Interestingly, Lin adds that Apple had previously planned to bring an LCD version of the 5.85in iPhone to market this year, but scrapped the project in mid-February.
27/2/18: 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.
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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