Apple's 3 New 2019 iPhones Look to Cameras and Cost-Cutting, Report Says

Will that be enough to keep Apple fans hooked?

Apple is planning three new iPhones in 2019 including another more budget friendly iPhone XR successor, according to a new Wall Street Journal report. The paper says that Apple is looking to make upgrades to camera features in particular, with a plan to introduce at least one model with a triple-rear camera, and is also considering eliminating some features like the force-touch module to bring down costs.

It’s a very similar plan to the playbook that Apple followed in 2018, a little surprising given that it’s been something of an off-year. For Apple, 2019 kicked off with a rare downgrade on its revenue projections citing lagging China sales and the fact that more consumers were opting for battery replacements — as opposed to getting a new iPhone entirely — than the company expected.

iPhones aren’t known for their cameras, and many of Apple’s rivals have used this fact to differentiate themselves. LG’s ThinQ, which rolled out last October, has five cameras, three in the back and two in the front. The Samsung’s Galaxy A9 has four rear cameras. Google’s Pixel 3 uses A.I. to let you take pictures in the dark. The XS and XS Max are both dual rear, and while they also boast some cool A.I.-powered image editing features like “Selfie Mode,” none of them are as impressive as the Pixel’s night sight.

google pixel night sight vs iphone xs camera
Apple will have a hard time making its cameras a competitive advantage, as this XS-Pixel 3 side-by-side shows. 

Will This Be Enough to Keep iPhone Fans in the Ecosystem?

As the above side-by-side shows, Apple will have a hard time making its cameras a competitive advantage. Retailers in China in particular are already said to be slashing prices, CNBC reports, with many consumers saying that the new iPhones aren’t worth the hefty price-tags. People just have too many options now.

It’s possible that Apple is simply managing expectations here. As one pundit put it in the WSJ story, products that make us “emotional.” That’s a high bar for a twelfth generation device to reach; it makes sense that Apple would want consumers to chill a bit.

There may also be an industry trend at play, too. Not too long ago, the September iPhone events, held right after Labor Day, could reasonably be said to be the biggest tech event of the year. But as we approach the 2020s, it’s starting to look like the more exciting innovations are happening elsewhere like wearables. That’s the talking point that Tim Cook’s been dropping in TV appearances. With the end of the smartphone age approaching, Apple may be ready for AirPods and the Apple Watch to start driving the conversation.

Apple is also getting closer to launching its next game-changer. By 2020, the company is expected to roll out a pair of augmented reality glasses which are said to be “revolutionary.” At the end of last year, Apple poached a top Tesla designer known for working on automotive U.I. for a product that’s expected some time around 2023. And earlier this year, a series of patents emerged that suggested the company is trying to figure out how to embed its sensors and OLEDs into fabrics, presumably to make some kind of smart clothing or furniture.

With all that going on, who cares about some lame old iPhones?