APPLE MAY HAVE just released its iPhone 11 lineup, but renowned analyst Ming Chi-Kuo is already spouting rumours about next years handsets.
According to his latest research note, seen by MacRumours, Apple's 2020 iPhones will sport a "significant" new design complete with metal frame structure reminiscent of the, er, iPhone 4. Additionally, the redesigned chassis will feature "a more complex segmentation design, new trenching and injection moulding procedures, and sapphire or glass cover assembly to protect the trench injection moulding structure," Kuo notes.
"We predict that the new 2H20 iPhone design will change significantly [...] The metal frame and the front and rear 2/2.5D glass are still used, but the metal frame surface will be changed to a similar design to the iPhone 4, replacing the current surface design," the research note reads.
While it might seem bizarre that Apple would recycle the aesthetic of a 10-year old smartphone, particularly one that suffered signal issues caused by its "defective" design, the firm's most recent iPad Pro tablets feature a more blocky, industrial design that's somewhat reminiscent of the iPhone 4.
Kuo also reiterates his earlier predictions that next year's iPhones will be the first to offer 5G support, noting that the inclusion of next-gen connectivity will increase Apple's smartphone shipments to 85 million units in 2020, compared to 75 million new iPhone shipments in 2019.
And if his guesswork is on the money, you can also expect next year's iPhones lineup to comprise 5.4in and 6.7in OLED variants and a 6.1in LCD variant, with the higher-spec models set to boast a rear-facing time-of-flight 3D camera that will support augmented reality
11/9/19: Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects Apple to release three 5G-capable iPhones in 2020.
Kuo originally predicted that just two 5G iPhones would launch next year, in the form of Apple's premium 5.4in and 6.7in handsets. However, in a new research note seen by MacRumours, he claims all three of next year's iPhones will be 5G-ready as Apple looks to better compete with lower-cost 5G Android handsets.
The analyst's change of heart follows Apple's $1bn acquisition of Intel's smartphone modem business, which has seen it scoop up 2,200 of the chipmaker's employees, along with its 5G-related intellectual property, equipment and leases.
Apple's 2020 iPhones will likely still make use of Qualcomm's chips, though. While the company is working on its own modem chips, these are unlikely to be ready until 2021.
According to Kuo, the 5G-ready iPhones will support both mmWave and Sub-6GHz spectrum to meet the requirements of the US market but notes that it's not yet but it is not clear if Apple will launch a lower-cost 5G iPhone that only supports Sub-6GHz.
22/7/19: Apple's looks set to equip next year's iPhones with 120Hz ProMotion displays.
While such high refresh rates are typically reserved for gaming-focused handsets like the Razer Phone 2 and newly-announced RoG Phone 2, tipster Ice Universe claims that Apple's 2020 iPhones will double their current 60Hz refresh rates to 120Hz.
Apple is considering a switchable 60Hz/120Hz refresh rate screen on the iPhone in 2020, and is discussing with Samsung and LG. pic.twitter.com/4aoU303umu— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) July 21, 2019
According to the tweet (above), Apple is "considering a switchable 60Hz/120Hz refresh rate screen on the iPhone in 2020", and is currently in talks with OLED display suppliers Samsung and LG.
If the rumour is legit, Apple's 2020 iPhones won't be its first devices to boast 120Hz screens - the 10.5in and 12.9in iPad Pros have boasted the super-fast refresh rates since 2017, with the tablets boasting LED Retina ProMotion displays.
11/7/19: Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has been at the speculation sauce again and has spat out some rumours about Apple's 2020 iPhones.
Though Android OEMs are ditching the notch in favour of punch-hole cutouts and, er, rotating cameras, it doesn't look like Apple is planning to get rid of the screen cutout any time soon.
Kuo, via Apple Insider, expects next year's iPhones will adopt a smaller front-facing camera lens - and in turn a sized-down TrueDepth camera array - that will allow the firm to shrink the size of the notch.
The camera on the back will also get a re-jig; the analyst says the 2020 rear-facing camera will boast an all-new seven-piece lens system.
Apple could also debut a new iPhone design next year, with Kuo predicting a switch away from the current design, which was first debuted on the iPhone X and continued by the current-gen iPhone XS and XR. There are no details as to how the design will change exactly, though.
Kuo has also spouted some predictions about Apple's 2021 iPhones, which he claims will adopt full-screen fingerprint recognition technology and an under-screen TrueDepth camera.
18/6/19: Apple will release two 5G iPhones in 2020, reckons trustworthy analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
This isn't the first time we've heard this rumour, but Apple's first 5G iPhone was originally slated to use an Intel radio chip. Since, however, Intel has canned its 5G modem biz after Apple and Qualcomm settled their differences.
In a research note seen by 9to5Mac, Kuo says that Apple's first-generation 5G iPhones - 5.4in and 6.7in OLED models - will heavily rely on Qualcomm when they arrive in 2020, though notes that Apple will use its own power amplifier and RF antenna designs.
"We believe that the content of Apple and Qualcomm's previous settlement includes Qualcomm's release of partly 5G baseband chip source code to Apple for Apple's development of own 5G PA/FEM," Kuo says.
The 5G compatibility in the 2020 iPhone would apparently support both leading standards; sub-6GHz and mmWave technology.
They might be more than a year away, but Kuo has some more details on the 2020 iPhones. Along with 5.4in and 6.7in models - which would suggest the XS is getting smaller and the XS Max bigger - Apple will release a "low-end" 6.1in OLED iPhone, ditching the LCD screen currently found on the iPhone XR.
Kuo notes that all new iPhones will support 5G starting in 2021, and believes that Apple will have its own 5G modem ready by 2022 or 2023, which should reduce its dependence on Qualcomm.
17/4/19: Apple is said to be plotting a 4.7in iPhone for 2020 that'll arrive as an upgraded iPhone 8.
So says a report at Economic Daily News, which citing sources from Taiwan-based Fubon Securities Investment Trust claims that Apple's revised iPhone 8 will make its debut in March 2020.
The pint-sized smartphone will reportedly feature the same 4.7in LCD display as the iPhone 8 but will feature souped-up internals including an A13 processor and 128GB of base storage. The device, which could arrive as the iPhone XE, will also retain a single-lens rear camera and a similar design to the iPhone 8, according to the report, complete with a home button and chunky bezels.
This is likely to keep the price of the device low, the EDN suggesting it'll feature an "aggressive" price tag of around $649 (around £500).
4/4/19: Apple will reportedly release three OLED iPhones in 2020 that will feature different screen sizes to its current crop of handsets.
Citing sources in Taiwan's supply chain, Digitimes claims that Apple's 2020 iPhone lineup will comprise of 5.42in, 6.06in and 6.67in models; currently, the iPhone XR, XS and XS Max sport 5.8in, 6.1in and 6.5in screens, respectively.
Further, backing up previous rumours, the report claims that all of next year's iPhones will adopt OLED screen technology, with Apple ridding of the LCD display on its cheapest model.
It notes that Samsung will remain Apple's main OLED panel supplier for Apple next year, adding that the smallest model coming in 2020 will include Samsung or LG touchscreen tech that will allow Apple to make the display thinner than on previous handsets.
"The 5.42in model to be released in 2020 may come with either Samsung Display's Y-Octa or LG Display's TOE touch technology, indicated the sources, noting that both touch solutions promise to trim down the display cost," Digitimes reports.
"Y-Octa is an advanced flexible AMOLED display technology that removes the film substrate and allows the touch circuit to be directly patterned on the film's encapsulation layer, making the display thinner, indicated the sources."
22/2/19: Apple's 2020 iPhones will reportedly ship with a 5-nanometer (5nm) chip manufactured by TSMC.
Digitimes, just weeks after claiming that TSMC will be the sole supplier of 7nm chips for this year's iPhones, reports that the chipmaker "is expected to secure the first 5nm chip orders from Apple for the 2020 iPhones".
Further details are scant, but it looks like Apple could be one of the first to use the 5nm chip, which looks set to advanced AR and AI applications and offer a significant boost to battery life.
23/1/19: Apple will ditch the LCD-equipped iPhone XR next year in favour of a fully OLED lineup, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The shift to OLED will enable "more flexible handset design", the report claims, and means this year's iPhone XR successor will be Apple's final LCD smartphone; hardly surprising given the claims that the firm has been struggling to flog its "budget" iPhone.
Citing people familiar with the production plans, the WSJ reports that Apple LCD's panel supplier, Japan Display, is seeking investor help that will put it on firmer ground before the switch to OLED-only iPhones takes place.
This isn't the first time we've heard chatter about Apple plotting an all-OLED iPhone lineup, but earlier rumours claimed the transition could happen as early as this year.
South Korea's ET News, citing industry sources, previously reported that Apple will debut three new iPhones in 2019, all of which will follow the iPhone X and XS in sporting an OLED display. However, the report noted that if Apple releases a fourth iPhone in 2019, that model will likely stick with an LCD screen.
Further, Bloomberg reported that Apple has been exploring how to go beyond the rectangular glass slab; a move that would only be enabled by more versatile OLED screens.
LCD has fallen out of fashion in the last few years primarily because it requires a standalone backlight component. The pixels of an OLED screen are individually lit, which allows them to be used in devices with more irregular shapes. Apple has also been exploring microLED displays as another LCD alternative.
6/11/18: Does your iPhone XS already bore you? Good news: as sure as night follows day, new iPhones are always just around the corner, and the latest report suggests that the 2020 model will be the first company handset to pack 5G in.
If that news leaves you feeling sad that Apple seems to be dragging its feet, it's probably worth reflecting on the fact that having 5G in your phone in 2019 will likely be an entirely pointless endeavour in future proofing. Like ensuring your new shoes will be great for the office and the first Martian colony.
Yes, a bunch of Android phones will have 5G modems in the next year, but the opportunity to use that speed will be almost pointlessly limited - and that's before you even get into the likely bugginess and huge battery drain that the smartphone vanity plates will have. Those points withstanding, do you really want to give Apple an excuse to raise their prices further?
With that in mind, even 2020 may feel a tad optimistic, but FastCompany reckons that Apple has already planned Intel as its modem supplier. The report suggests that Apple is using Intel's 8160 chip for testing, but hopes that the 10nm 8161 will provide faster speeds and greater efficiency for the finished product.
Indeed, sources report that the current 8060 model is having problems with heat dissipation, which isn't ideal for something that spends much of its life in your pocket, perilously close to your sensitive regions.
As a backup, the report says, Apple will turn to MediaTek. Of course, Qualcomm also has its own X50 modem for 5G, but given the escalating legal battles between the chip giant and Apple, you would imagine that a deal will only be struck there once Hell freezes over. Which, helpfully, may well occur before 5G actually delivers on its promise. µ
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