A prominent industry analyst with a strong track record in discerning Apple’s iPhone production plans says that the company will introduce two new versions of the full-screen iPhones.
According to a note to his clients that’s currently being circulated to the media, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities is predicting that Apple will introduce a 6.5-inch version of the iPhone X with a higher resolution OLED screen. He’s also saying that the company will introduce a 6.1-inch version with an LCD screen.
The current version with a 5.8-inch OLED screen would continue, probably as an S model, according to Kuo’s assessment, meaning it would become the iPhone Xs. However, whether Apple decides to stay with that naming convention remains to be seen.
Likewise, it’s not clear whether the 6.5-inch iPhone would be would be called an iPhone X Plus or something else. It’s worth noting that the iPad Mini has a screen size of 7.9 inches, so the larger iPhone is starting to encroach on iPad territory.
That new, larger version of the iPhone X, whatever it’s going to be called, will become the new top end phone for Apple and probably for the rest of the industry. The new OLED screen will be at the high end for phone size and it will have a screen resolution of 480–500 pixels per inch, versus the existing iPhone X which has a resolution of 458 PPI. At the other end of the iPhone X spectrum, the LCD version will have a screen resolution of 320 to 330 PPI, which is similar to the resolution on the iPhone 8.
The lower resolution version of the iPhone X is designed to cost less as a way to appeal to the lower end of the market. Of course Apple is expected to continue selling its older models just as it does now including the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 6S line.
However, Apple apparently doesn’t need those low end models as badly as some predicted. Ming-Chi Kuo estimates Apple will sell 25 to 27 million iPhone X units in the final calendar quarter of 2017 and will increase production of the iPhone X by 35 percent to 45 percent in the first quarter of 2018, according to his report to clients.
A number of analysts had predicted that Apple would be hampered by supply chain problems, especially with the Face ID hardware that requires great precision and which has had a high rate of rejects. However, Ming-Chi Kuo, who has very close ties to Apple’s supply chains, sees things differently.
He’s predicting that the suppliers will gear up to meet the current demand quickly deliver components supplies the new iPhone versions on time, meaning that they’ll be available soon after the September 2018 introduction, unlike the iPhone X which required a month and a half wait after Apple introduced it.
Perhaps equally interesting are reports from other analysts that are saying that about 60 percent of iPhone X orders are for the more expensive 256 gigabyte version. The demand for high-end iPhones is also apparently translating to the iPhone 8, where the larger and more expensive iPhone 8 Plus is selling in larger numbers than the iPhone 7 Plus last year at the same time. Sales numbers for the iPhone 8, on the other hand are below those of the iPhone 7 last year.
All of the new iPhones being introduced in 2018 will support Face ID, which means that they will have the notch at the top where the phone’s infrared projectors and sensors live. The Touch ID will continue in the older versions of iPhones which apparently will remain on the market as has been the case in past years.
One thing that’s not clear is the price for the new 6.5-inch iPhone. The current iPhone X starts at $999. If the iPhone X follows the current practice, then the 6.5-inch model would cost $100 more, making the starting price $1,099. But because there’s only one model of the iPhone X with two different memory variations, the traditional price difference may not apply.
The higher resolution screen is going to be expensive and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the difference between those two phones moving to $150 or even $200. This is taking the iPhone into the same price category as the iPad Pro, meaning that on one side the new iPhone impinging on the market space held by iPad Mini in terms of size and the iPad Pro in terms of price. Should we start thinking of the new device as taking the place of the Mini? Are we perhaps seeing the iPhone Pro in the making?
While calling this new phone the iPhone Pro, while also giving it physical properties similar to the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, which is expected to be announced in August 2018, might be pushing things, it seems to be the direction the mobile industry is taking. The Note 9 is expected to have a screen that’s only slightly smaller than the new iPhone. However it will cost less and have a stylus.
Of course there are rumors that the Note 9 will have a fingerprint reader under the glass display. That’s something Apple hasn’t figured out yet.
But whatever it’s called, it’s clear that a new battle of the phablets is on for next year, with Apple and Samsung as the main contenders.