The world of smartphones is fast moving and while the iPhone 8 is yet to reach its first birthday, Apple is almost certainly gearing up to release its successor within the next couple of months. What will such a smartphone be called? We’re doubling down on the iPhone 9.
As for what it’ll look, feel and perform like, we’re in luck; we’ve just been treated to a pretty comprehensive set of leaks from respected analysts TrendForce. If their latest report is anything to go by, the iPhone 9 will be debuting at a conspicuously low price point, something which suggests Apple has learnt its lesson from the near-quadruple-figured iPhone X. Trendforce suggests we’ll be seeing the iPhone 9 crop up for just $699 (which will likely mean £699 in the UK).
As for internal specs, TrendForce has posited options of 64GB and 256GB for the iPhone 9 (with the iPhone 11 set to have a 512GB storage option), and 3GB of RAM.
It also reckons the iPhone 11 will come with Apple Pencil compatibility, although this handy feature does not, reportedly, apply to the iPhone 11’s lower spec younger sibling, the iPhone 9.
Meanwhile, the past six years have seen Apple consistently announce (and subsequently release) a new iPhone or two at the company’s back-slappy keynote in September. So, if Apple doesn’t use the autumn keynote to announce the iPhone 9 or iPhone 11 or iPhone SE 2 – or perhaps even all three – we’d be pretty darn shocked.
While we predict the iPhone 11 will debut as successor to top-of-the-range iPhone X, we reckon the iPhone 9 will manifest as its more affordable sibling, culling some of the former’s high-quality specs in order to keep the price down. Respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted to MacRumours that this might mean doing away with 3D Touch in order to lower costs, making it the first iPhone since the iPhone SE to do so.
iPhone 9: Everything you need to know
iPhone 9 release date: When will you be able to buy one?
Apple is a company of habit and luckily for us, that makes predicting release dates a pretty straightforward task. Besides the budget iPhone SE line of iPhones, Apple’s flagship devices have always been announced in September. We certainly don’t expect the iPhone 9 to be any different.
Using previous iPhone release schedules as a guide, we could see the iPhone 9 announced on 11 September 2018. If Apple does decide to release both an iPhone 9 and an iPhone 11, then this date would be very fitting.
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Judging by Apple’s previous launches, the iPhone 9 is likely going to be available for preorder on 14 September, before the device officially goes on sale on 21 September.
Whether the phone will actually be called the iPhone 9, however, remains to be seen – since the iPhone X or “ten”, as it’s supposted to be said, already exists, it’s not clear how Apple will stop things from getting overly confusing when its next generation of phones is announced.
iPhone 9 design and features: All-screen iPhones?
Back in January, the ever-reliable KGI Securities analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that Apple would be rejigging its iPhone line-up. Instead of having a long, laundry list of iPhones, he said that there would (only) be three.
The iPhone 9 is said to be the cheapest of the three, with an aluminium construction and a 6.1in LCD screen. A bigger screen would be a huge upgrade on the iPhone 8 if true, as it currently only has a 4.7in display. This lines up with other rumours that suggest all the iPhones released in 2018 will be bezel-less like last year’s iPhone X.
According to the research note, the iPhone 9 will have a typical Retina display with a pixel density of 330ppi. There won’t be a dual-camera arrangement on the back like the iPhone X, but instead it will stick to the standard single rear camera currently available on the iPhone 8.
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The other two new devices, the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Plus, will reportedly take the place of the iPhone X, above the iPhone 9 in Apple’s smartphone line-up. However, Kuo’s note suggests the iPhone 11 will have a smaller 5.5in OLED display, despite being more expensive than the iPhone 9.
There’s no mention of the iPhone SE 2, which is rumoured to launch this year, too.
The iPhone 9 will follow the iPhone X’s suit and have an all-screen design, according to almost every rumour we’ve seen so far. Yes, that means we’re expecting to see notches all round on the iPhone 9, iPhone 11 and – according to other rumours – the iPhone SE 2, too. This comes from the Wall Street Journal, which reports that Apple is looking into an advanced type of LCD screen called Full Active LCD, made by Japanese company Japan Display.
Indeed, the next iPhone instalment from Apple isn’t going to be a low-spec budget handset; quite the opposite, if reports of minimised bezels and Full Active LCD tech are anything to go by. Japanese website Macotakara revealed that the iPhone 9 will come equipped with the radical display technology, meaning it will be able to sport even thinner bezels than the second generation iPhone X.
This feat is facilitated by Apple partner Japan Pixels, which dubs its technology “Japan Pixel Eyes”. It will mean, as 9to5Mac apprehends, that the bezels will be able to slim down to a miniscule 0.5mm, compared to the current iPhone X’s 1mm bezels. The major caveat, however, according to Macotakara, is that the mass manufacturing of Full Active LCDs is unreliable. If the iPhone 9 depends on such tech, it could push the launch date back a few weeks or even months. Watch this space for updates on what Apple decides to do next.
Full Active LCD displays allow screen bezels to be narrowed down to an super-skinny 0.5mm. That’s thinner than the iPhone X’s 1mm bezels. The Essential Phone has a Full Active LCD if you want to see it in action.
This does also mean that the iPhone 9 will likely ditch Touch ID altogether, replacing the popular security method with Face ID according to Bloomberg. This move would make the iPhone 8 the last iPhone with Touch ID.
And it appears that, in the buildup to Apple’s September keynote, the leaks and rumours are abounding. In fact, it appears key Apple supplier Lumentum Holdings might just have tipped us off as to the major overhaul the iPhone 9 design will see next month, venture capital firm Loup Ventures has discovered.
The company, which has history as a key Apple partner, has inadvertently given us a major insight into what to expect from the iPhone 9, namely a new, bezel-less design with Face ID. The company reported its latest quarterly earnings, and with it some telling hints; it reported substantial growth in its AR and 3D-sensing business, both of which are instrumental in the iPhone X’s Face ID.
In addition, Lumentum Holdings has reported that its volume orders will increase “significantly” from the very telling date of September 2018. We reckon that’s got more than a little to do with the new crop of iPhones expected to surface then, all of which we reckon will benefit from a new bezel-less design with Face ID.
If you’re a little wary of this speculation, knowing, as you may well do, that the next generation of iPads are expected to feature Face ID, you should hold your horses. While the 2018 iPad Pros are expected to come equipped with Face ID, this output alone won’t likely account for Lumentum’s forecast. Indeed, as Apple itself points out, iPhones outsell iPads four to one. We’ve got our money on the next generation iPhones as the reason behind the predicted spike.
iPhone 9 camera: What camera will it have?
As for the camera, we’re not expecting to see the iPhone 9’s snapper to receive much of an update. Instead, it could adopt the Samsung Galaxy S9’s dual-aperture system, making for a single-lens setup that’s much more capable at shooting excellent quality pictures in all sorts of lighting conditions.
You may have heard whispers of a triple-lens camera coming to an iPhone near you, and while this may be true – it won’t be on the iPhone 9. According to the report from Economic Daily News, via MacRumours, the Huawei P20 Pro-like system is only going to be available on the iPhone 11, which makes sense – seeing as it’s going to be mighty expensive.
Meanwhile, the latest rumour to hit the scene is that the iPhone 9 will come, controversially, with a single-lens camera. A purported image of the iPhone 9 surfaced on Slashleaks recently, revealing a bare-looking rear screen adorned by a single, unifying lens.
However, spectators have been questioning the veracity of the alleged leak; concept designer Ben Geskin announced to Twitter than the iPhone 9 leak was falsified, purportedly pointing out evidence of Photoshop tinkering in an accompanying picture.
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What will the iPhone 9 look like, how much will it cost and will it even be called the iPhone 9? Read on to find out everything we know so far about the iPhone 9.
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iPhone 9 price: How much will it cost?
The iPhone 9 is expected to cost around the same price as the iPhone 8, starting at around £699 for the basic 64GB model. This rumour comes from the same research note delivered by Kuo, who says that the cheaper iPhone of the three from the rejigged line-up will cost the same as last year’s entry-level iPhone.
A fresh report from Kuo suggests that the iPhone 9 could possibly be even cheaper, costing as little as $550 – that’s about £400.
iPhone 9 specs: What’s it made of?
As for specs, we’ve had few confirmations regarding the iPhone 9’s specifications – at least from Apple itself. Chipset giant Qualcomm has spilled the beans however, confirming that it will not be making the modem chips for the 2018 line of iPhones. Instead, the job falls to rival chipmaker Intel.
Qualcomm’s financial chief George Davis was noted by CNBC as saying that the company believes “Apple intends to solely use our competitor’s modems rather than our modems in its next iPhone release”. As for incumbent smartphones by the company, Qualcomm looks set to continue its reign: “We will continue to provide modems for Apple legacy devices,” clarified Davis.
iPhone 9 cancellations: An end to the iPhone SE and iPhone X?
There’s a spanner in the works, however; BlueFin Research Partners report through Barron’s that the arrival of the iPhone 9 heralds a new age for Apple, insofar as the company is rumoured to be cancelling the iPhone X and iPhone SE when its new iPhones launch this September. Apple fans are getting angsty, with news that previous generations of iPhone won’t be available as cheaper upgrade options. The company hasn’t confirmed the move yet, but if it goes ahead with the plan, it’ll mean Apple effectively removing itself from the midrange smartphone market.
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