Rumors about Apple’s 2018 iPhone lineup are running rampant ahead of its Annual Meeting of Shareholders on February 1. The one that really stirred the pot? Apple is cancelling the iPhone X! Following that shocker -- and millions of doses of smelling salts -- everyone came to and asked, “What’s taking its place?”
That news was quickly tempered by explanations that Apple is halving production on the iPhone X next quarter due to low demand. It may have undersold, but experts say that with its higher price, Apple is coming out just fine. So, y’know... don’t worry about Apple. Following that clarification – and millions of shrugged shoulders – everyone still asked “What’s taking its place?” because we’re all obsessed with new stuff we can’t have yet.
Due to all the eager prognosticating (and just in time for Groundhog Day), we dug through the rumors ourselves for the most reliable intel. For those in the phone repair biz, it never hurts to see what’s coming around the bend. The majority of this info comes from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who’s known worldwide for his super-accurate Apple-related predictions.
For starters, the iPhone X…
… is not a failure. And it’s not been abandoned. In fact, this year’s three new iPhone models will follow its design lead, with edge-to-edge screens, TrueDepth camera, Face ID, and probably the notch. As far as anyone can tell, Apple is steering clear of 3D Touch and home buttons for the future.
What are the three new models? They don’t have names yet, but here’s the lineup:
- Upgraded iPhone X with 5.8” OLED screen (same size as the original)
- Larger iPhone X with a 6.5” OLED screen
- Cheaper iPhone X with a 6.1” LCD screen
The OLED iPhones are expected to get all the nifty upgrades and continue to have stainless steel frames and back glass for wireless charging. The LCD iPhone will have an aluminum housing and won’t support wireless charging. The OLED iPhones will get the new A12 processor; the LCD iPhone might, might not, depending on Apple’s cost-cutting strategy.
Concerning future iPhone repairs…
… this means more of what the iPhone X introduced:
- Broken glass
- Pricier OLED replacement screens
- Jam-packed logic boards
- Buried components (like the lightning port)
- Retaining the original TrueDepth camera system and Face ID during repair
Seeing as how Apple is determined to move beyond the familiar design last used on the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, it’ll be interesting to see how many users prefer the new, cheaper 6.1” LCD iPhone. It won’t suffer back glass damage, for one, but it will require caution around replacing the Face ID.
And with a plus-sized iPhone X in the new 6.5” iPhone, expect more cracked screens and glass from fumbling hands.
Let’s remember that the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus…
… outsold the iPhone X, so while people had the chance to pounce on the X’s redesign, they stuck with what they know (and can afford). Flagship phones aren’t getting cheaper, but expect users to cling to sub-$1,000 premium models as long as they’re available. That’ll mean more familiar repairs well into the coming years, and none of them messing around with Face ID. Apple’s eyes are clearly on the future though. Users seeking affordable options should stick to older models, probably eventually the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus as a last resort, instead of holding out hope for a bargain-bin iPhone X alternative.
Like say, a new iPhone SE?
Mmm, no, not likely. This rumor, positing an iPhone SE 2 with wireless charging and Face ID, petered out quickly. Apple’s hands are full with new models, new tech, and strong competition, so don’t expect an SE renaissance this year. There’s no sign yet that Apple is ready to enter its “Let’s go back to vinyl!” stage of life and declare the iPhone SE, cool little dude that it is, as the be all and end all of smartphones.
The current SE might get minor spec updates, but there’s no reason to think you need to learn your way around an iPhone SE 2 anytime soon.
Concerns about proprietary repair (with Touch ID and Face ID) still dominate discussion around Apple. The latest rumors tell us to get used to wraparound screens, back glass, and trickier sensor repair, so dig in and keep learning. Make sure you know the ins and outs of every repair so you don’t miss a vital step that might render a phone useless to its owner. These predictions may not all be spot-on, but that’s one thing we can all agree on.