Apple updated the iPhone line and Apple Watch today and below I’ll compare my predictions with reality (or, whatever they’re calling Steve Jobs’ Reality Distortion Field these days). As it turns out my score for iPhone and Watch was close to reality. Below, predictions. Reality in italics.
Rumors vs. Reality
The 2018 iPhone launch signals the rumor season for next year’s iPhone models. Every year at this time the rumors about new iPhones and features become distilled down to the essence of what to expect, and the crazy-assed rumors dissipate into steam.
First, new models, probably three different sizes, each with thin micro-bezels, two with new fangled OLED displays, and one with a nearly perfect LCD display. Say goodbye to Touch ID and hello to Face ID. And the Notch.
Just kidding. Notch remains in the new iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max, and iPhone Xr.
Screen sizes seem to be etched into stone already; 5.8-inch, 6.1-inch, and 6.5-inch.
What are the iPhone names?
Surprise seems to be the name of the game and Apple tends to keep surprises to a minimum, probably with a few well timed and well sourced leaks.
The 5.8-inch iPhone– same size as 2017’s iPhone X– should be called iPhone XS, or iPhone Xs. I’m going with the lower-case ‘s’ because that’s how Apple described previous tock models in the tick-tock series. iPhone Xs.
Lower case ‘s’ it is. iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max. Goodbye Plus.
The 6.5-inch iPhone– not all that far removed in total pixels to a 7.9-inch iPad mini– will be called iPhone Xs Plus. Or, iPhone Xs Max. It just depends upon which rumor you prefer to distill. I like iPhone Xs Max. Think iPhone Excess to the Max. iPhone Plus is old already, and a 6.5-inch display is more Mac than Plus.
The 6.1-inch iPhone– positioned to be the least expensive new iPhone– could be iPhone 9 and nobody would complain. iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus replaced iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, so it makes sense that it, too, would be replaced by another number jump. iPhone 9. That would make next year’s naming convention a major challenge, but let’s save that rumor mongering until next week.
iPhone 9? Or, iPhone XC? Or, iPhone Xc? Both names are on the streets and both make sense from a naming convention.
Missed it. Close is only good with hand grenades and horseshoes. iPhone Xr is the least expensive new iPhone.
What I have yet to read online are the hardware differences between iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max, and the 6.1-inch iPhone 9-ish model, other than the OLED vs. LCD displays. Look for more storage options and higher price tags for the X models.
Storage options are as expected in each model. 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB for iPhone Xr, and 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB for iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max, respectively.
What about iPhone SE?
Yes, it’s aging rapidly and long in the tooth. Yes, SE is not a big seller, so I look for Apple to make a notable change here. New iPhones will have screen sizes of 5.8-inch, 6.1-inch, and 6.5-inch, so what about those of use who prefer an even smaller iPhone display?
Nope, but that doesn’t mean there will not be another small iPhone. Gone is iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are the low end models at $449 and $569, respectively. I can see why Apple would not introduce an ultra low end model at a big show that focused on iPhone Xs models.
Enter a 2018 iPhone SE with the 4.7-inch LCD display that resembles the design form factor of iPhone 7 but without Face ID and Notch. Goodbye, iPhone 7 Plus. That means the entire 2018 iPhone line looks like this.
- iPhone Xs Max – 6.5-inch display, Notch and Face ID, A-12 CPU, $999
- iPhone Xs – 5.8-inch display, Notch and Face ID, A-12 CPU, $899
- iPhone Xc – 6.1-inch LCD display, Notch and Face ID, A-12 CPU, $799
- iPhone 8 – 4.7-inch LCD display, Touch ID, A-11 CPU, $599
- iPhone 8 Plus – 5.5-inch LCD Display, Touch ID, A-11 CPU, $699
- iPhone SE – 4.7-inch LCD display, Touch ID, A-11 CPU, $399
Close, but not close enough. iPhone Xs starts at $999 for 64GB. iPhone Xs Max starts at $1,099. iPhone Xr starts at $749. iPhone 8 comes in at $599 and $699. iPhone 7 comes in at $449 and $569. All of those are with 64GB, so add more money for more storage.
Five iPhone models, each with various colors and storage capacity upgrade options, with the best cameras, CPUs, and displays reserved for the X models; then, last year’s iPhone 8 models mostly intact; and, finally, an upgraded iPhone SE with iPhone 7 form factor and parts.
Wrong. No iPhone SE. Yet. I hoped the low end model would be a revamped iPhone 7 form factor, but it may be that Apple believes iPhone 7 deserves the low end crown.
The rest of my predictions were about iPad Pro and other products, none of which made it to today’s presentation, but that means we could have another show’n tell in October. New iPad Pro models, new Mac models, and maybe new AirPods before the holiday shopping season.