Apple will hold its annual September hardware event today in the Steve Jobs Theatre at its UFO-like headquarters in Cupertino, California where the company is widely-tipped to unveil three new iPhone handsets.
The successors to the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are believed to be branded iPhone Pro and iPhone Pro Max. Meanwhile, the iPhone XR will be superseded by the iPhone 11, which will have some snazzy new colours, a telephoto lens to enable 2x optical zoom, and a new chipset.
- Every iPhone that Apple currently sells, ranked
- iPhone 11 Pro: this is your best look yet at the iPhone XS follow-up
Both of these updates will be pretty minor, sources claim. Apple will include some nifty new features on the Pro variant – the ability to charge wireless accessories – like AirPods 2 – from the back of the handset, an ultra-wide camera, improved Face ID sensor that works in any orientation (like the latest iPad Pro), bigger battery and new A13 system-on-a-chip.
If the reports are accurate, the iPhone 11 Pro series sounds like the sort of upgrades you'd expect from a more minor "S" annual refresh, which is exactly what the iPhone XS and XS Max were. Apple is seemingly giving its industrial designs a much longer shelf-life than we've been previously accustomed to – with the next major overhaul of the iPhone design planned for next year instead of the event tonight.
That fits with the latest report from oft-reliable analyst Ming-Ch Kuo who has sent out an investor note that claims the 2020 iPhone line-up will see a dramatic new hardware design, as well as 5G support, and new "camera function upgrades".
Unfortunately, Kuo doesn't go into any detail about what exactly to expect from the new design, but we've got our fingers crossed that it will resemble the squared-off edges seen on the latest re-imagining of the iPad Pro, which itself is a callback to the appearance of the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S.
Kuo has previously reported the 2020 iPhone line-up will include a rear-facing Time of Flight (ToF) sensor that will enhance image quality, better artificial bokeh-style blur behind the subject of photos, and offer new augmented reality features. This could enable some Face ID-like features, including more accurate masking of digital elements to faces and real-world elements, from the rear-mounted camera.
According to the prominent analyst, the 2020 iPhone line-up will also bring some new screen sizes – 5.4-inches for the smaller iPhone and and 6.7-inches for the biggest handset, replacing the 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch iPhone XS and XS Max. Both of these new smartphones will offer 5G compatibility, Kuo claims.
Other sources point to the 2020 refresh of the iPhone supporting both Face ID and Touch ID to offer more choice to users when securing their handset and authenticating contactless payments via Apple Pay.
Obviously, there's quite a wait until we see what Apple has been cooking up for its 2020 iPhone line-up, so maybe take this with a healthy pinch of salt. What is sure is that next year's iPhone models will be the first not designed by Sir Jony Ive. T3 will have all the latest rumours for you over the next year, as well as extensive coverage of the iPhone 11 launch this evening. Stay tuned.
- Best smartphones available right now
- New iPhone 11 leaks and news: release date, price, camera, specs