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iPhone XS release date, price and specs: Apple’s 2018 iPhones look set to be most expensive yet

AAPPLE HAS INVITED its mateiest mates in the media to a ‘Gather Round’ event on Wednesday 12 September where it is expected to unveil a bunch of new iPhones and some other overpriced electronic trinkets.

We can expect three new iPhone models, with all of them borrowing the nasty ‘notch’ concept introduced with last year’s iPhone X. The lineup looks set to include the iPhone 9, the 5.8in iPhone XS and the 6.5in iPhone XS Max, which should keep Apple Store tills ringing loudly for another year.

Given that the event is less than two weeks away, that doesn’t give Apple fanbois people much time to save up.

We’ve rounded up everything we know about Apple’s incoming trio of iPhones below, and will update this article as we hear more.

Release date
Apple’s 2018 iPhones normally launch in September with availability for the keenest buyers within about a week.

Apple 'Gather Round' event invite for 12 September

Hence, news of Apple’s ‘Gather Round’ event on 12 September makes it pretty much nailed on as this year’s iPhone launch date.

Price
According to rumours, the iPhone 9 will be the most-affordable in Apple’s 2018 iPhones. Apple guru Ming-Chi Kuo expects the smartphone to retail for $600-$700 (around £450-£530).

However, a note from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, shared by CNBC, suggests that Apple’s 2018 iPhones could be the firm’s most expensive yet. According to the note, the 6.1in  iPhone 9 will be priced at $799 (probably £799), while the 5.8in iPhone XS and 6.5in iPhone XS Max look set to fetch $999 (likely £999) and $1,049 (£1,049), respectively. 

Latest news
7/9/18: Apple’s incoming 6.1in LCD iPhone, tipped to arrive as the iPhone 9, has leaked in a series of images that confirm it’ll be available in three colour options: white, red and blue. In contrast, the iPhone XS and XS Max are expected to launch in white, gold and black variants.

The leaked images, which come courtesy of SlashLeaks, also confirm that the iPhone 9 will pack a dual-SIM tray, confirming rumours that the handset will be made available in a. dual-SIM variant. 

6/9/18: Apple is widely expected to launch two new OLED iPhone models next week – an upgraded 5.8in model set to launch as the iPhone XS and a heftier 6.5in version that’s going to be called the iPhone XS Max, according to 9to5Mac. This backs up an earlier report from Bloomberg, which claimed that Apple planned to drop the ‘Plus’ label from its 2018 iPhones. 

9to5Mac‘s report, which has compiled info from multiple sources, adds that both the iPhone XS and XS Max are likely to include 4GB RAM, up from 3GB in last year’s iPhone X, alongside a new A12 chip and dual-SIM options in some countries. 

3/9/18: A mega-leak courtesy of 9to5Mac has revealed that Apple’s new OLED iPhones will arrive as the ‘iPhone XS’, and will be made available in 5.8in and 6.5in versions. The incoming iPhones, previously referred to as the iPhone 11 and 11 Plus, will also be made available in a new gold colour option (above), according to the leak, and both will be released before the end of September.

30/8/18: Apple’s ‘affordable’ iPhone 9 will be delayed beyond September, according to – who else – Ming-Chi Kuo. In a research note seen by Apple Insider, Kuo claims that while the high-end OLED models will be available to buy next month, the 6.1in LCD model will be made available later in the report.

There is some good news, though, as Kuo expects the device to be powered by the same A12 SoC that will be found in the higher-spec models. The 7nm chip will reportedly offer ’20 to 30 per cent’ performance gains compared to Apple’s A11 chip, and will offer better battery efficiency. 

Contrary to earlier reports, Kuo also predicts that the new iPhone models will not support the Apple Pencil, as the accessory “does not currently offer a good user experience.”

29/8/18: Apple looks set to ditch 3D Touch from all of its 2018 iPhones. That’s according to Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis, via MacRumours, who claims that it’s “widely understood” that 3D Touch will be removed from iPhones with OLED displays in 2019.

This contradicts with earlier rumours from Apple oracle Ming-Chi Kuo, who said that 3D Touch won’t be a feature on the rumoured 6.1in iPhone, and could suggest that all three incoming models won’t feature the haptic screen tech.

28/8/18: Apple’s 2018 iPhones looks set to offer a hefty performance boost, according to Macworld, which has taken a look at what we can expect from TSMC’s incoming 7nm A12 chip. 

Based on TSMC’s own claims, and some educated guessing, Macworld says it expects the A12 processor to offer 20 to 30 per cent performance gains compared to last year’s A11 Bionic CPU, along with a 40 per cent reduction in power consumption. 

It expects the 7nm processor to stick to a six-core design, which will earn it a multi-core performance score of around 13,000 in Geekbench 4. For single-core performance, it’s likely to increase the A11’s 4217 score to around the 5,000 mark. 

21/8/18: Apple’s 2018 iPhones will be available to pre-order in less than a month’s time on 14 September, according to German publication Macerkopf. The website, citing two unnamed German carriers, reports that networks are preparing to start taking pre-orders on 14 September, suggesting that Apple is planning an announcement later that week, likely on 12 September. 

Last year, we saw new iPhones announced on 12 September, pre-orders kicking off on 14 September and then an official release on 22 September.

17/8/18: Taiwanese publication Economic Daily News has backed up reports that Apple’s 2018 OLED iPhones will ship with Apple Pencil report. The site, which got its information from “industry insiders”, claims that the second-gen iPhone X and 6.5in iPhone X Plus will both be compatible with the Apple Pencil, but notes that the 6.1in LCD model won’t be compatible with the stylus. 

15/8/18: Apple’s 2018 iPhones will offer Apple Pencil support and up to 512GB built-in storage, according to research firm TrendForce.

It’s unclear whether these features, similar to those found on Samsung’s newly-launched Galaxy Note 9, will be available on all three incoming iPhones or reserved for Apple’s higher-end OLED models.

These OLED models will, unsurprisingly, be more expensive than the “budget” 6.1in LCD iPhone 9, which Trendforce expects to have a starting price of around $699 to $749. The so-called iPhone X (2018) and iPhone X Plus will have starting prices of $899 to $949 and $999, respectively, according to the research firm.  

The report confirms that the two OLED models are already assembled, while the budget LCD model will begin assembly in mid-September, in line with the smartphones’ rumoured September and October release dates, respectively.

14/8/18: Yet another video showing off Apple’s 2018 iPhones has cropped up on YouTube (below), courtesy of DetroitBORG. The seven-minute video shows off new dummy units obtained by Sonny Dickson, and refers to the incoming devices as the iPhone 9, iPhone X (2018) and iPhone X Plus. The clip doesn’t have many surprises in store, but the “fairly accurate” models show that all three new iPhones will feature a notched design to accommodate Face ID. The ‘cheap’ LCD iPhone 9 will sport a single-lens camera on its rear, while its presumaly more expensive siblings will retain the iPhone X’s dual camera system.

9/8/18: Well-known phone reviewer Marques Brownlee has given us our best look at Apple’s 2018 iPhones yet – although he, presumably accidentally, refers to them as 2019 models.

In a video posted to YouTube (below), Brownlee goes hands-on with dummies of the so-called iPhone X2, iPhone X Plus and iPhone 9, confirming that the notch will be the same size on all of the three models, and that the 6.5in iPhone X Plus will boast a smaller design than Apple’s current iPhone 8 Plus.

He also gives us a good look at the protruding camera lenses on the three iPhones, with the iPhone X2 and X Plus both packing dual camera setups, while the LCD model sticks with a single-lens rear-facing camera. This ‘cheaper’ model will also stick with Apple’s first-gen Face ID tech, according to Browlee, while the duo of iPhone X-branded models will be upgraded to the firm’s second-gen tech. 

7/8/18: We’ve seen plenty of mock-ups of Apple’s incoming iPhones, but thanks to a new leak courtesy of Slashleaks, we may have caught a glimpse at a 6.1in iPhone 9 in the flesh for the first time. 

The image (above), which appears to have been taken in a factory, gives us a somewhat blurry look at the rear of the so-called iPhone 9. If legit, the leak confirms that the 6.1in LCD iPhone will feature a larger camera sensor paired with a repositioned dual LED flash.  

6/8/18: Apple’s rumoured dual-SIM iPhone will be exclusive to China, according to a report from Economic Daily News

The Chinese news outlet, citing a source at Foxconn, reports that the 6.1in LCD iPhone will be the only model to support the functionality, with the handset to be made available in both single and dual-SIM models; the latter which it claims will be made available exclusively in China. 

According to the report, Apple’s made the decision because it’s common for people in China to have more than one mobile phone number, with as many as three to four billion consumers using dual SIM cards.

3/8/18: Apple won’t bundle a Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter with its 2018 iPhones, according to Cohen analyst Matthew D Ramsay.

Cirrus Logic, which makes audio hardware for iDevices, posted its fiscal quarter guidance this week, which Ramsey claims “all but confirms that Apple will not bundle the DAC headset converter ‘dongle’ in its new iPhone models”. 

As per Apple Insider, Ramsay notes that the dongle will continue to ship with older iPhone models, just not with Apple’s incoming iPhone 9, iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Plus. 

1/8/18: Apple’s latest iOS 12 beta has spilt yet more secrets, with references spotted to the 6.5in iPhone X Plus.

Brazilian Apple news site iHelpBR has uncovered evidence in the fifth iOS 12 beta that appears to confirm that the device will feature a screen resolution of 1242×2688 and support for iPad-esque landscape app design. According to the website’s digging, stock apps such as Calendar, Contacts, and Messages are already being optimised for a landscape layout. 

“Apple released the fifth test version of iOS 12 for developers yesterday. To our surprise, when running the new build with the supposed resolution of the iPhone XS Plus, it was possible to view the applications in landscape mode as they are displayed on the larger models,” iHelpBR noted.

31/7/18: Apple released the fifth developer beta of iOS 12 on Monday, which appears to have confirmed that the company is planning a dual-SIM iPhone model to be released this year. 

Spotted by 9to5Mac, a component of the system responsible for the generation of diagnostic reports includes new references to “second SIM status” and a “second SIM tray status”, while another component references a “dual sim device”. This all but confirms that a dual-SIM model will debut this year, although it remains to be seen whether it will make its way to Blighty.

30/7/18: Twitter tipster Benjamin Geskin has shared images of what he claims to be dummy units of the 6.5in iPhone 11 Plus and the 6.1in LCD iPhone 9 (below).

The images, if legit, don’t tell us much we don’t already know, but ‘confirm’ that the LCD iPhone features a single rear camera, while the iPhone 11 Plus uses a dual-camera layout similar to that on the iPhone X, not a triple-lens camera as previously speculated. As expected, they also show the so-called iPhone 9 with larger bezels than its higher-spec sibling. 

26/7/18: Qualcomm, fresh from calling off its NXP merger, has confirmed that Intel will be the sole supplier of modem chips for Apple’s 2018 iPhones.

Confirming an earlier report from Ming-Chi Kuo, Qualcomm’s CFO George Davis said on Wednesday confirmed that: “Apple intends to solely use our competitor’s modems rather than our modems in its next iPhone release. We will continue to provide modems for Apple’s legacy devices.”

Davis didn’t mention Intel by name, but the rival chipmaker is the only other supplier of that component for Apple’s smartphones.

Apple’s decision to ditch Qualcomm likely comes as a result of escalating tensions between the two firms, which have been embroiled in a legal battle for more than a year. 

25/7/18: The cheapest of Apple’s 2018 iPhones, the 6.1in LCD iPhone 9, will be made available in six different colours, according to Macotakara.

Apple guru Ming-Chi Kuo has already had a similar prediction and last month claimed the LCD iPhone would come in gold, grey, white, blue, red and orange colour options. Macotakara, on the other hand, predicts the colours will be white, black, flash yellow, bright orange, electric blue and taupe – all colours of cases that Apple currently flogs. 

There’s no red in Macotakara’s prediction, which makes sense given that this colour is typically reserved for Apple’s (PRODUCT)RED launches.  

This iPhone 5C-esque colour lineup will likely be reserved for the iPhone 9, with rumours claiming that the 5.8in and 6.5in iPhone 11 and 11 Plus will only be made available in three colours: gold, grey and silver.  

19/7/18: Apple’s incoming USB-C fast charger will be exclusive to 2018 iPhones, despite offering backwards compatibility. 

So says Japanese blog Macotakara, which reports that the 18W charger will come with a USB-C to Lightning connection, won’t be available to purchase seperately due to supply constraints. The initial supply will only meet Apple’s needs for 2018 iPhones, so buyers will have to wait until next year to purchase the accessory.

17/7/18: Apple’s entry-level 2018 iPhone won’t feature an edge-to-edge screen on par with the iPhone X, according to leaked glass panels.

Images posted by Twitter tipster Benjamin Geskin (below) has given our first look at glass panels that will allegedly feature Apple’s so-called iPhone 9, iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Plus. 

If legit, the images confirm that low-cost, 6.1in LCD iPhone 9 won’t feature a completely bezel-free display of the 5.8in and 6.5in OLED models, despite Apple’s plan to adopt new backlight-reducing chips order to achieve a full-screen design.

The leak doesn’t give much else away, beyond confirming that all three models will adopt a notched design to facilitate Apple’s Face ID tech. 

13/7/18: Apple will adopt backlight-reducing chips for its upcoming LCD iPhone in order to equip it with a full-screen design.

A report out of Digitimes claims that Apple will “exclusively” use Japanese manufacturer Nichia’s 0.3t LED chips for its 6.1in LCD iPhone, which will equip the device with similar brightness to previous LCD models but also with the same super-thin bezel as the iPhone X. 

“While LTPS-LCD smartphone screens with backlights using 0.4t LED chips have bottom bezels of 4.0-4.5mm, use of 0.3t LED chips can reduce them to 2.0-2.5mm, enhancing LCD screens’ competitiveness against OLED all (bezel-free) screens panels,” the report explains. 

Digitimes notes that while the use of 0.3t LED chips comes with greater technical risk, especially when it comes accuracy and stability, Nichia “successfully started production” in the first half of 2018.

According to earlier rumours, Apple’s LCD iPhone – which is expected to be the cheapest of the firm’s three incoming iPhones with a starting price of $700 – will allegedly be made available in grey, white, blue, red and orange colour options. 

5/17/18: Apple is reportedly planning to introduce as many as five new colour options with its 2018 iPhone line-up.

At least that’s according to a report from renowned analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, seen by 9to5Mac. He claims that the 6.5in OLED iPhone, expected to arrive as the iPhone X Plus, will be offered in black, white and a new gold option.

The ‘entry-level’ 6.1in LCD iPhone will allegedly debut in more out-there grey, white, blue, red and orange flavours, according to Kuo. 

As noted by 9to5Mac, the reference to ‘grey’ and ‘white’ models could be a nod to Apple’s current Space Grey and Silver finishes, while the rumoured red model could arrive as part of Apple’s PRODUCT(RED) lineup – although these typically arrive months after an iPhone has been launched. 

There’s no word yet as to whether the 5.8in iPhone X successor will be offered in any new colour variations. 

In his research note, Kuo is also raising his prediction for iPhone sales. He expects the cheaper, LCD iPhone to account for 55 per cent of sales when the new iPhones launch, and take even more share through 2019. 

He’s clearly expecting a burst of demand, too, and expects that Apple will see significant growth with sales of 70 million iPhones in the fourth quarter. 

4/7/18: Images posted on Chinese blog Chongdiantou claim to show off the USB-C charger that will ship with this year’s iPhones.

The images allegedly give us a glimpse at an “engineering sample” of the 18-watt USB-C charger, which is also expected to be bundled with Apple’s incoming iPads

While the labelling looks different to Apple’s usual style – suggesting this could be a third-party accessory from China – the design of the charger matches up with earlier leaks, which suggested that the 18W accessory would be oval-shaped and offer a USB-C input. 

While the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X all offer support for wireless charging, Apple doesn’t currently offer the accessories to enable it. With third-party accessories, though, USB-C fast chargers can just an iPhone from empty to 50 per cent in less than half an hour. 

3/7/18: The iPhone X Plus has cropped up on Geekbench, confirming that it’ll offer a decent upgrade under the hood. 

The handset, referred to as the ‘iPhone 11,2’ in the Geekbench listing first spotted by BGR, will come equipped with a new six-core CPU (D321AP), 4GB RAM (1GB more than the iPhone X) and Apple’s iOS 12 software, which has a major focus on performance.

The aforementioned CPU will likely be Apple’s homegrown A12 chip, built by TSMC, which is expected to be the industry’s first 7nm chip, which will – in theory, at least – offer more speed and better efficiency than the 10nm chips found in current iDevices.  

That rings true in the Geekbench scores, as the so-called ‘iPhone 11,2’ trounced Apple’s current iPhone X flagship with a single-core score of 4673 and a multi-core score of 10,912.  The iPhone X, for comparison, scored 4206 and 10,123, respectively.

2/7/18: A video showing alleged dummy models of Apple’s 6.1in ‘iPhone 9’ and 6.5in ‘iPhone X Plus’ has surfaced online.

The video (below), sent to 9to5Mac by tipster @shaimizrachi who has shared accurate dummies for iPhones in the past, shows off the duo of incoming devices next to current iPhone models, including the flagship iPhone X.

Cases from accessory maker Sketch are also shown in the video, suggesting that case companies are already started making designs ahead of an official announcement from Apple in September. Probably, at least.

The iPhone 9, as expected, appears to have a single camera on its rear, adding weight to rumours that it’ll be Apple’s entry-level offering this year. Earlier rumours also point to a 6.1in LCD screen, with Apple opting against OLED in order to keep the cost of the handset low. 

The iPhone X Plus appears to be the same size as the iPhone 7 Plus it’s stacked up against, despite packing a larger 6.5in screen. This is because Apple has ditched the large bezels seen on its Plus-sized model in favour of its notch-equipped, iPhone X design.

The audio-less video also appears to show a dual camera setup on the rear of the so-called iPhone X Plus, despite some rumours pointing to a Huawei P20-esque triple-camera setup. 

The video does not show the expected 5.8in OLED model, but Mizrachi has teased that “another surprise” is coming.

29/6/18: Apple has reportedly roped in LG to supply OLED screens for its 2018 iPhones in a bid to lessen its reliance on Samsung.

The South China Morning Post reports that LG Display will initially supply Apple with between 2 and 4 million OLED screens, small fry compared to how many tens of millions of iPhones the firm likely will produce, as it “continues to work on ramping up capacity”. 

However, LG – which is reportedly considering opening a new OLED production factory in the Chinese port city of Guangzhou – has bigger ambitions though, and is reportedly looking to secure all OLED orders for one of Apple’s 2018 iPhones, likely the 6.5in iPhone X Plus. 

Such a move would help Apple to lessen its reliance on Samsung, which is currently the sole supplier of displays for the iPhone X and has been linked to the smartphone’s £1,000 starting price. However, on the other hand, LG’s OLED displays have previously received lacklustre reviews – particularly when it comes to the bork-ridden screen on Google’s Pixel 2 XL

“Securing a second supplier for OLED screens is crucial for Apple as it will allow the company to reduce its reliance on Samsung, which is currently the sole supplier,” said Jerry Kang, a senior principal analyst at IHS Markit. 

“At the same time, it will help accelerate a broad adoption of OLED screens. More suppliers means more volume, and in turn, lower pricing.”

Source : Inquirer

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