iPhone 2019: Price, Release Date, and Features for Apple's Camera-Centric Phones

What does Apple have up its sleeve?

Danny Paez

Last year’s iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR set a new bar for Apple’s computational power. The XS Max also featured the biggest screen ever featured on an iPhone, and the entire lineup embraced a new pricing strategy. This year, Apple is expected to reuse a lot of the 2018 game plan, while refining some of its iconic smartphone’s headlining features.

2018 was not kind to the iPhone. Apple began leaning into its ballooning service business to make up for slowing phone sales.

Still, the iPhone remains the most popular smartphone in the United States by far. As of the fourth quarter of 2018, Apple had boxed out nearly half of the US mobile market share, according to a February report by industry research firm Counterpoint. Around the world, Apple is a close second to Samsung, which offers a wider range of devices and price points. To win over customers in 2019, Apple is looking to bring big improvements to the iPhone’s camera array.

What does Apple have in store for 2019?

Unsplash / Nikolay Tarashchenko

The current iPhones are barely seven months old and we’ve already got a good idea of what their successors will look like. Here’s what Apple’s got in store for 2019.

iPhone 2019: The Lineup

Three is Apple’s magic number for the iPhone. Last year, the company released the mid-priced iPhone XS, the premium XS Max, and the more affordable iPhone XR. This year’s lineup is expected to follow the three-phone formula.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted Apple’s next-generation handsets will come in identical variants as this year’s: two 6.5 and 5.8-inch OLED models and a 6.1-inch LCD model.

Leaked chart shows Ming-Chi Kuo's estimates for next year's iPhone trio.


iPhone 2019: Price

We could see a marginal price hike on 2019’s higher-end variant like last year. Currently, the iPhone XS goes for $999, while the XS Max and XR start at $1,099 and $749, respectively. Apple will likely rehash this pricing strategy, with the potential for some minor changes.

Ever since the launch of the iPhone X, Apple has priced at least one iPhone at $999, so it seems like that won’t change this year in order to provide consumers a premium smartphone just under $1,000.

But the company has made it a habit of upping the price of its most expensive phone every year. So could the successor of the XS Max cost more than $1,100? Precedent says, yes. Seeing as iPhone sales have began to slow down, however, this could be the year the company doesn’t continue pushing higher prices.

As for the cheapest of the bunch, there’s a slim chance the follow-up to the XR gets cheaper. It Kuo’s chart is accurate, it’ll once again come with an LCD display instead of an OLED. The screens have become industry standard for premium phones and make LCDs seem outdated in a side-by-side comparison.

The price of Apple's upcoming phones could be similar to what we saw for the iPhones XS, XS Max, and XR.

Flickr / TheBetterDay

Samsung’s recently released Galaxy S10 models were priced exactly the same as Apple’s 2018 lineup, and the cheapest $749 S10e comes with an OLED screen. Apple could try to play ball and slightly reduce the upcoming XR’s price, but nothing is set in stone yet.

iPhone 2019: Release Date

Just like every year, September is the month to look out for. Apple has held an iPhone event in mid-to-late September since the release of the iPhone 5 in 2012.

Last year’s event was hosted on September 12, and the most recent iPhones hit shelves on September 21. Expect a very similar series of events this time around with potentially a week or two of discrepancy, barring any major company announcements.

Unsplash / Dennis Cortés

iPhone 2019: Name

The names of the 2019 phones still remain a mystery, and we likely won’t have any answers until September. Apple has been famously tight-lipped around its model names, even though the XS Max’s name was leaked a week before its launch in 2018.

Since last year’s models continued the roman numeral monickers that the iPhone X started, the bloggosphere has surmised it could be called the iPhone XI. But that would mean the cheaper version may be called the iPhone XIR, which is a bit of an eye-sore.

It’s possible that Apple reverts back to its numerical naming conventions and rolls with the iPhone 11. But that could mess with the brand continuity between the XS and the “11.”

Right now the field is split between these two options. Which side do you stand on? What should they call the new iPhone? Email me your suggestion.

iPhone 2019: Early First Looks

There have been a number of alleged renders of the 2019 iPhone floating around the internet. But it’s important to take these with a grain of salt since we’re so early in the Apple smartphone cycle.

Two of the most reliable leaks have come courtesy of mobile leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer — known by his online moniker OnLeaks — and each depicted camera and notch changes.

“Tuesday and January 7’s renders are said to be official prototype,” he predicted in January on Twitter, adding “that Apple is deciding between during the early production stages.”

The first showed a bizarre, square camera arrangement on the phone’s back panel. The other was much sleeker and placed the rear flash around one of the rear lens to save space and a slightly smaller notch. But a more recent leak has provided evidence that Apple might go with the first design.

Steve Hemmerstoffer / OnLeaks

An image of an alleged iPhone 2019 hardware, originally shared on Twitter by the account laobaiTD matches almost perfectly with the square design leaked by Hemmerstoffer. There’s mounting evidence that a big square camera bulge could be a defining feature of 2019’s iPhones.

iPhone 2019: Possible Features and Improvements

There are two features that may be included in the 2019 iPhones. Two others seem less likely. Here they are:

  • Triple-Lens Rear Camera: All of the leaked renders we’ve seen have three rear cameras, which would be a first for Apple. A Wall Street Journal report in January added further evidence that premium versions of the 2019 iPhone could claim three cameras. This would serve to improve overall image quality and potentially enable new augmented reality features.
  • Improved TrueDepth Camera: The 2019 trio is expected to get a massively improved, 12-megapixel front-facing camera up from the 7MP sensor in this year’s iPhones, according to Kuo. his should drastically improve the graininess that is typically seen in selfies today. The new camera is also expected to be masked by “black lens-coating technologies,” making the notch appear like a uniform black bar.
  • Upgraded FaceID Sensor: Kuo also predicted that Apple is working on improving its FaceID sensors in the upcoming iPhone models. This should decrease the amount of failed unlocks users experience when they try to access their phone in dark rooms. It could also lead to a slightly small notch.
  • Portable Wireless Charger Mode: The new iPhones might try to make up for the AirPower’s cancellation by acting as portable wireless chargers themselves. Kuo predicted that users might be able to place their Apple Watch on the back of the new iPhones to charge, just like the Galaxy S10’s feature. On March 23, Japan-based tech blog Macotakara reported Apple’s Chinese suppliers confirmed this feature.
  • Apple Pencil Support: Finally, the Korean tech site The Investor wonders if Apple’s iPhone could gain support of the company’s stylus, Apple Pencil, which is now only available for the iPad. The site doesn’t have a proven track record for accuracy, so take this one with a grain of salt.

Apple will likely upgrade its A12 to an A13 chip in the 2019 iPhones.


iPhone 2019: Full Camera Layouts

In an April 18 note, Kuo stated that all of Apple’s lenses will be exclusively supplied by Sony and laid out exactly what cameras consumer should expect baked into each of the 2019 models. Based on the note here’s what to expect for each member of the trio:

5.8-inch and 6.5-inch, iPhone XS and XS Max successors:

  • Three rear cameras, up from two lenses.
  • These will consist of a 12MP telephoto lens, 12MP wide-angle lens, and brand-new 12MP “super-wide-angle lens.”
  • A single 12MP front-facing, TrueDepth sensor, up from 7MP.

6.1-inch, iPhone XR successor:

  • Two rear cameras, up from single lens.
  • These will consist of a 12MP telephoto lens and a 12MP wide-angle lens.
  • A single 12MP front-facing, TrueDepth sensor, up from 7MP.

iPhone 2019: Specs

The only specific under-the-hood change that we know will likely happen is the introduction of the “A13” chipset. The Taiwanese manufacturer TSMC is expected to remain the sole supplier of Apple’s chipset, which is anticipated to ship with the next-gen iPhones, according to a report in the electrical engineering-focused trade publication EE Times.

Last year, Apple introduced the seven-nanometer, A12 Bionic chip capable of performing 5 trillion operations a second. The company has systematically updated its phone chips every year to enable snappier performance, AR features, and A.I.-enabled photo editing. Expect many of these updates in September.

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