iPhone 9 — or iPhone XI or X2, or whatever Apple ends up calling the 2018 iPhone — is widely expected to come next fall. But with iPhone 8 and iPhone X both on the market now, there are several ways Apple could go for the next generation. This article is continuously updated to include the latest news and rumors so you can be among the first to find out. Bookmark it, save it, share it, and check back often!
July 17, 2018: Front panels of 2018 iPhones supposedly leaked
Leaker Ben Geskin has tweeted out photos of a set of supposed iPhone front display panels for this year's new models. The panels are supposedly for the new version of the 5.8-inch iPhone X, as well as the rumored 6.1-inch LCD iPhone and 6.5-inch iPhone X Plus.
July 5, 2018: Next-gen iPhone rumored to come in silver, space gray, gold, red, blue, orange, gray, and white — oh, my!
Ming-Chi Kuo isn't back with new Apple rumors. Dude never left. He simply switched companies.
From Economic Daily News, Google translated:
[Ming-Chi Kuo] pointed out that for the three new iPhones, the 6.5-inch OLED version will not exceed the iPhone X due to the expected price, and it has a larger screen and dual card dual standby function. The color of the case may be black, white or gold. There are three options, so the demand in the high-end market is estimated to be better than the iPhone X.
6.1 LCD LCD version, expected to have full-screen design, Face ID, dual card dual standby and other functions, and the chassis color may have gray, white, blue, red, orange and other five options, and the price will be less than 700 US dollars Therefore, it is expected to drive the market's replacement needs more than the iPhone 8 and 8s.
When Apple chose not to price drop iPhone 5 and, instead, replace it with iPhone 5c, it when full-on rainbow with the color options. Now that Apple is reportedly choosing not to price drop the iPhone X, it might be doing the same thing with the 6.1 replacement.
Nothing is official, though, until we see it on stage.
What will the next iPhone be called?
Up until this year, Apple's naming pattern had been consistent: iPhone [Number] followed by iPhone [Number + s].
- iPhone: 2007
- iPhone 3G: 2008
- iPhone 3GS: 2009
- iPhone 4: 2010
- iPhone 4s: 2011
- iPhone 5: 2012
- iPhone 5s: 2013
- iPhone 6: 2014
- iPhone 6s: 2015
- iPhone 7: 2016
But 2017 changed everything. Instead of iPhone 7s, we got:
- iPhone 8
- iPhone X (iPhone "Ten")
So, what follows iPhone 8 and iPhone X? Will it be iPhone 9 and iPhone X2? Just iPhone 9 or iPhone X2? Something else entirely?
Apple can name the next iPhone anything it wants. iPhone 9. iPhone X2. iPhone Edition. iPhone Pro. iPhone Mother of Dragons. It's purely a marketing decision.
For the sake of simplicity, iPhone 9 will be used in our rumor roundup until we hear otherwise.
Will there be an iPhone 9 Plus or an iPhone 9 SE?
Quite possibly. The advantage of iPhone X is that it puts a bigger-than-iPhone-Plus display into a roughly the same size casing as a regular iPhone. That leaves open two possibilities:
- iPhone 9 Plus: Same size as iPhone 8 Plus but with an even bigger, 6-inch (ish) display.
- iPhone 9 SE: Same size as iPhone SE but with an iPhone 8-like 4.7-inch (ish) display.
When will the iPhone 9 be released?
Since the iPhone 5, Apple has announced every flagship iPhone during a special event held the first or second Tuesday or Wednesday of September.
- iPhone 5: September 12, 2012
- iPhone 5s: September 10, 2013
- iPhone 6: September 9, 2014
- iPhone 6s: September 9, 2015
- iPhone 7: September 7, 2016
- iPhone 8: September 12, 2017
- iPhone X: September 12, 2017
Likewise, since the iPhone 5, Apple has shipped every flagship iPhone the second Friday following the event, with the exception of the iPhone 6s in 2015, which shipped the third Friday following the event, and iPhone X, which shipped on November 3:
- iPhone 5: September 21, 2012
- iPhone 5S: September 20, 2013
- iPhone 6: September 19, 2014
- iPhone 6s: September 25, 2015
- iPhone 7: September 16, 2016
- iPhone 8: September 22, 2017
- iPhone X: November 3, 2017
Past patterns are the best indicator of future events, but they aren't perfect. Apple can and will throw curveballs whenever the company's logistics or strategy demands. So, be aware of the dates but don't be bound to them.
What can we expect in the iPhone 9 design?
Now that Apple has debuted an all-new design language with iPhone X, it's possible the company will stick with it for at least another generation. That was the pattern with iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s, and iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. With iPhone 6 through iPhone 8, Apple changed materials and manufacturing processes but stuck with the same design language for four years.
- iPhone 3G: 2008 — Plastic shell.
- iPhone 4: 2010 — Antenna band and glass back.
- iPhone 5: 2012 — 16:9 aspect ratio, chamfered edges.
- iPhone 6: 2014 — Bigger screens, rounded edges.
- iPhone X: 2017 — Edge-to-edge display.
There's always a possibility Apple will iterate more quickly following iPhone X, but it's likely what we'll see with iPhone 9 is multiple sizes of the same design.
Will touch ID make a comeback?
With iPhone X, Apple deleted the Home button and Touch ID along with it. Instead, we got Face ID. It's always possible Apple will bring Touch ID back, implementing it below the OLED display.
What colors will the iPhone 9 be offered in?
So far Apple has saved the new iPhone finishes for the years absent big redesigns, save for 2017's iPhone 7 Project RED special edition.
- iPhone 5s: 2013 — Gold.
- iPhone 6s: 2015 — Rose gold.
- iPhone 7: 2016 — Black and jet black.
- iPhone 7: 2017 — (Product) RED.
- iPhone 8: 2018 — "New" gold.
Here again, Apple can do anything the company wants, any time the company wants, including introducing new colors at any time.
Apple Watch Series 2 being released in white ceramics sent the internet atwitter with thoughts of iPhone 9 being made out of the same material. Tougher than stainless steel, it still remains to be seen if it would hold up in a device as big as an iPhone or iPhone Plus.
Notably, Greg Koenig of Luma Labs thinks it unlikely, writing on Atomic Delights:
More bluntly, not only is Apple not using any new ceramics manufacturing technology in the new Watch Edition, they are not even utilizing the primary patent the original Quora article pins most of its extrapolations on - that patent described a vacuum liquid slurry casting process for ceramics. The Edition watch uses a very common pressed powder forming method.
In short, not only does the ceramic Watch quash any hopes of a ceramic iPhone, I think it actually indicates that Apple isn't chasing down ceramics for iPhone production any time on the horizon.
What specs will the iPhone 9 have?
Since Apple introduced the company's first branded system-on-a-chip (SoC) in 2010, every new iPhone has come with a new A-series chipset. If Apple sticks to that pattern, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus will ship with Apple A11 processors. New SoC typically take advantage of better processes that let them be faster and more powerful but also more energy efficient.
Apple has also been adding coprocessors to handle motion voice activation, fusion cores, and neural engines. A12 will continue to push Apple silicon forward. That inclues a second generation custom GPU as well.
What about an iPad Pro-style Smart Connector?
Apple typically introduces a technology in one device and then rolls it out across the lineup. Retina was like that with iPhone 4 and Touch ID with iPhone 5s. The Smart Connector, which debuted with the iPad Pro in the fall of 2015, attaches via a magnet and runs power, data, and ground directly from the device. It currently powers Apple's Smart Keyboard and a similar keyboard from Logitech, with more expected to follow.
Apple could certainly engineer a Smart Connector for iPhone 9, but what it would be used for is a more interesting question. Apple made a smaller Smart Keyboard for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, but would the company make an even smaller one for iPhone 8 Plus? For iPhone 8 standard?
What about the display? Will we get ProMotion?
With iPhone 8 and iPhone X, Apple brought TrueTone to iPhone. It makes sure the color temperature of the display matches the ambient color temperature. That way, whites don't look yellow or blue — they look white. Like paper.
What iPhone 8 and iPhone X didn't get was ProMotion.
Introduced with the 2017 iPads Pro, ProMotion allows dynamic refresh so the display can ramp up to support Apple Pencil and impossibly smooth scrolling, and ramp down to conserve power.
Like TrueTone, once you see it, you want it everywhere. Including the next-generation iPhone.
Will the iPhone 9 be waterproof?
iPhone 7, iPhone 8, and iPad X are water resistant but not waterproof. Rated IP67, they can survive accidental splashes, dunks, and floods, but isn't rated as highly as some competing phones from Samsung and others.
Although swimming with an iPhone may not be on everyone's wish-list, those whose jobs or pastimes expose them to the elements, and even those who want to do underwater photography at shallow depths would be thrilled by IP68.
Will the iPhone 9 have distance charging?
iPhone 8 and iPhone X introduced inductive charging to iPhone. It uses the Qi-standard, though, and currently requires the iPhone to be placed in direct physical contact with the charging pad.
There have been rumors for a while that suggest Apple is also working on resonant inductive coupling, which would let devices charge even at a distance. (The greater the distance, the lower the efficiency.) So, instead of having to put the iPhone in direct contact with the charging pad, you can simply put it down anywhere nearby the power station.
It would make charging even more convenient and less error-prone. If Apple can nail it.
Okay, what do we know for sure?
Only that nothing is confirmed until an Apple executive holds an iPhone 9 up on stage!