iPhone XI: what we want to see
Posted by James Rogerson,Matt Swider on 08 June 2018 12:53 PM
Update: An Apple patent suggests the company is working on a clever camera, capable of effectively depth-sensing with just a single lens.
Apple's iPhone 11 – whether it's called the iPhone XI or iPhone X2 – could launch as soon as September, meaning we may already be halfway to the official release date.
The timing for the new iPhone 2018 shouldn't surprise anyone. Apple's smartphone-focused keynotes routinely take place in early September. That's news for no one.
When will the iPhone X2 launch? What new features will it have? And will it still have a notch? Let's investigate what we expect from Apple's new iPhone in 2018.
Cut to the chase
iPhone XI release date
We have every reason to believe that the iPhone XI will launch in early September or October again, as Apple tends to stick to a schedule with its phone launched. It also has to keep pace with the iPhone upgrade program so everyone renews with them.
More specifically, based on past launches, it will probably be announced one or two weeks into September. Apple’s phones usually arrive in stores a couple of weeks later, so late September is probably when you’ll be able to buy the iPhone X2.
Sure, the iPhone X took longer to ship, but that was rumored to be down to delays in producing components, so unless Apple wishes to artificially hold back the new X - possibly to create demand, chances are the iPhone XI will appear in September 2018.
Indeed, it's rumored that Apple might begin trial production of the iPhone XI in the second quarter of 2018, which is earlier than usual and said to be precisely to prevent the delays we saw last year.
iPhone XI price
Even without the official iPhone XI price, we know it'll cost a lot. After all, Apple priced the iPhone X starting at $999 / £999 / AU$1,579. We could see identical prices.
Apple reportedly managed to reduce the cost of some components by 10% - a saving which could be passed on to buyers. It may also quit bundling a headphone adaptor with its new phones to further reduce costs, some analyst predict.
But we're not holding out for a cheap iPhone XI. Instead, Apple may be planning to release a phone with many of the iPhone X’s features at a lower price, alongside a premium model, according to multiple sources.
We're calling this the iPhone 9 for now, and it may have a cheaper LCD display. It's an intriguing proposition, though early adopters are likely still going to be more interested in the iPhone XI.
iPhone XI video renders
Apple's premium iPhone for 2018 may come in two sizes, and there are already video renders of what the iPhone XI Plus version may look like.
This version in these CAD schematics acquired by MySmartPrice and OnLeaks are said to be based on iPhone with a 6.5-inch screen, while the normal-sized update may get a 5.8-inch OLED display size we saw with the iPhone X.
Everything looks the same, on the outside, down to the dual-lens camera on the back. But we're fully expecting Apple to give the iPhone XI some internal surprises.
iPhone XI news and rumors
There might be not one iPhone XI but two, with several rumors suggesting that Apple has a pair of OLED screen phones in the works.
More recently, noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said similar, claiming that there will be two OLED iPhones with stainless steel frames this year.
He added that Apple probably won’t put a version of the TrueDepth camera used for Face ID and Animoji on the back of the phone. Separately he’s also said that the iPhone XI might support faster mobile data speeds and come with a dual-SIM card slot.
Even more recently we’ve heard another similar screen rumor, with a source saying that Apple will launch OLED phones in 5.8 and 6.3-inch sizes, along with a third 6.1-inch phone which will have an LCD screen and a metal back (rather than glass).
None of the phones are named but the LCD-shod handset will presumably be cheaper and likely follow the design of the iPhone 8.
And Ming-Chi Kuo has since come back with additional details on these phones, claiming that the iPhone XI will come in 5.8 and 6.5-inch sizes, so there's not total agreement on the size just yet.
He added that the 6.5-inch handset will have a pixel density of 480-500 pixels per inch (ppi), while the 5.8-inch one will apparently be 458ppi.
Both phones will apparently have dual-lens cameras, stainless steel frames and 4GB of RAM, and are said to land alongside a cheaper 6.1-inch handset - which might be the iPhone 9.
Kuo also claims the 5.8-inch model may have a roughly 10% larger battery than the iPhone X, while the 6.5-inch model might have a battery of around 3,300/3,400mAh, which would be roughly a 25% size increase.
And he's said separately that Apple will probably exclusively use Intel modems for 2018's models, rather than splitting the order between Intel and Qualcomm.
Elsewhere, we've heard that the iPhone XI Plus could have an iPhone 8 Plus-sized body, despite an inch of extra screen. That's believable since the bezels will probably be a lot smaller, however changes to the camera could mean the phone is 0.2mm thicker, meaning it would be 158.4 x 78.1 x 7.7mm.
The same source claims that the standard iPhone XI will have the same size shell as the iPhone X, except again that it will be slightly thicker, thanks to a larger rear camera sensor and lens, which suggests we might see camera improvements.
The new models might also charge faster, as a separate source claims Apple might pack a fast charger in the box, rather than requiring you to buy one separately.
And the iPhone XI might have an even smarter front-facing camera than the iPhone X, as an Apple patent points to a single-lens camera system that can sense depth as well as a dual-lens one, though this may well not be ready in time for the next iPhone, if it comes at all.
Beyond all that we can assume that the design of the iPhone X2 will be probably be similar to that of the iPhone X, since Apple doesn’t redesign its phones every year. Indeed, the picture below supposedly shows the screen of the larger model, which looks similar to the style of the iPhone X.
It’s also sure to have Face ID, a new chipset (possibly called the A12, but with a new name to follow the A10 Fusion and A11 Bionic), and a dual-lens rear camera – though likely one that’s improved in some way.
What we want to see
While we don’t yet know much about the iPhone XI we have a good idea of what we want from it and the following things top our list.
1. A lower price
Arguably the biggest problem with the iPhone X is simply that it costs so very much. It’s an ambitious, forward-thinking handset packed full of high-end tech, so it was always going to be expensive, but it would be great if Apple could lower the price at least a little for the iPhone XI.
However, let's be realistic: it's not going to happen. Many of the components will likely be similar and it’s possible that the cost of producing them will have dropped by then, but the upgrades to certain elements will mean - at best - price parity to 2017's phone can be achieved.
2. An improved camera
The iPhone X has a great camera, but we didn't find it to deliver the most jaw-dropping snaps, so there are ways in which it could definitely be improved.
Low light performance, while an upgrade on past iPhones, isn’t perfect so we’d like to see that further improved for the iPhone XI. Brighter HDR shots would be appreciated too, and how about a pro mode for people who want more control over their camera?
3. No notch
While the almost bezel-free screen on the iPhone X impresses, we can’t imagine there are too many fans of the notch, so for the iPhone X2 we’d like to see Apple get rid of it and have a truly all-screen front.
That may not be possible, especially with the fancy TrueDepth camera that needs to be included, but if Apple could manage it then the iPhone XI would almost perfect what’s already a very good design.
4. No camera bump
One other tweak to the design that we’d like to see is a rear camera that sits flush with the back of the handset.
Given how thin the iPhone X is it’s no surprise that Apple didn’t manage it on the current model and we wouldn’t hold our breath for it on the iPhone XI either, but it would slightly improve the aesthetics of the phone, as well as making it easier to use when on a desk.
5. In-screen Touch ID
Given that Apple has gone all-in with Face ID on the iPhone X and ditched Touch ID this is probably a long shot, but there are those who prefer a fingerprint scanner, and having one built into the screen would be ideal.
Rumors of such a feature have surrounded both Apple and Samsung handsets for a while now – although it actually looks like Vivo will be first to market.
But that’s no bad thing. It gives Apple time to polish the tech, and the company has always seemed more interested in being the best than the first. Again though, the company is probably going to focus on improving Face ID instead, which is easier to use than Touch ID anyway.
6. Two screen sizes
Although three different size iPhone handsets were released in 2017 the iPhone X only landed in one size, so if you wanted all Apple’s latest technology you had to be alright with a 5.8-inch screen. For the iPhone XI we want some choice.
Fortunately, early rumors suggest that’s exactly what we’ll get, with talk of two OLED handsets being developed in different sizes.
So far it sounds like Apple will be going bigger with one of them, rather than smaller, so fans of the iPhone 8 might still be out of luck, but if you want a truly powerful Apple phablet then 2018 could be your year.
7. Dual front-facing speakers
The iPhone X already has stereo speakers, but one of them fires downwards, whereas for the iPhone X2 we want them both to face forward so the sound comes towards you when watching videos and playing games.
If Apple can also improve the speaker quality then all the better. The iPhone X already impresses in that regard, but the Razer Phone has shown that more is possible.