- Apple will likely add 5G support to its 2020 flagship iPhones, according to early reports and rumors.
- Other than 5G connectivity, the phones are said to feature a more advanced 3D camera and other benefits that will arrive on the 2019 models.
- The addition of 5G could boost demand for Apple's new iPhones as customers are upgrading their smartphones less often.
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Apple only just launched the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, but that hasn't stopped us from speculating about what the company may be planning for next year.
The biggest upgrade coming next year will likely be the introduction of 5G network support. Such an addition could be critical to driving upgrades at a time when smartphone owners are holding onto their devices for longer periods of time and Apple's iPhone revenue has been falling.
But adding 5G to the iPhone could give consumers more incentive to upgrade, according to TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note from April, which was obtained by 9to5Mac, Kuo predicted that Apple would ship between 70 and 75 million flagship iPhones in 2020, compared to his estimates for this fall of 65 million to 70 million.
Here's a look at everything we know about the 5G-enabled iPhone Apple is expected to release in 2020.
All three new iPhones launching in 2020 could support 5G.
Apple is expected to bring 5G support to all three of its new iPhones in 2020, according to Kuo, who has a notable track record when it comes to making predictions about future Apple products. He originally said that only two of Apple's 2020 smartphones would be compatible with 5G networks, but revised his outlook in a more recent report, according to MacRumors. Kuo believes Apple could have changed its strategy to better compete with cheaper Android phones that support 5G.
It will likely include 5G chips from Qualcomm and Samsung.
Qualcomm and Samsung will supply the 5G chips for Apple's new iPhones in 2020, according to that April note from Kuo, which doesn't come as much of a surprise considering Apple and Qualcomm recently settled their long-running legal dispute. Apple also purchased Intel's smartphone modem business in a deal valued at $1 billion in July, a move that will likely help the iPhone maker develop its own modems down the line.
It may have Apple's Touch ID fingerprint sensor built into its screen.
Apple did away with Touch ID on its latest flagships in favor of Face ID, but there's a chance the company could bring its fingerprint scanning technology back next year. Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis believes Apple could integrate Touch ID directly into the iPhone's screen next year, as he wrote in a note obtained by MacRumors.
That could help the 2020 iPhone more directly compete with rivals like Samsung's Galaxy S10, which already boasts in-screen fingerprint recognition.
Next year's iPhone will reportedly have an upgraded 3D camera for augmented reality.
Other than 5G connectivity and a potential in-screen fingerprint sensor, another headlining feature in next year's iPhone is expected to be its camera. Apple is planning to outfit next year's iPhone with a more powerful, rear-facing, 3D camera to enable better augmented-reality performance, according to Bloomberg.
The new camera would be powered by a laser scanner, unlike the dot projection technology Apple currently uses for Face ID in the iPhone X family's front-facing camera. In addition to boosting the iPhone's augmented reality functionality, the new 3D camera could be used to take photos with greater depth, the report says.
It's unclear whether this 3D sensor will be available on all of Apple's 2020 iPhones. A recently reported note from Kuo suggests that only two of the company's new smartphones will have a 3D camera system with a time-of-flight sensor, according to MacRumors.
Apple may cut the 5.8-inch size from the 2020 lineup.
Apple will reportedly shake up the iPhone's design yet again in 2020.
The company is expected to release two new 5G-enabled iPhones in 2020, likely to be successors to the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. But the new smaller-sized iPhone will have a 5.4-inch screen instead of a 5.8-inch display, which would make it noticeably smaller than the current iPhone XS. That's according to Kuo's latest predictions, which MacRumors and 9to5Mac recently reported.
The larger-sized iPhone is expected to get even bigger next year with a new screen that's 6.7 inches, compared to the iPhone XS Max's 6.5-inch screen. Apple will also likely release a new 6.1-inch iPhone in 2020 that will be a follow-up to the iPhone XR, but that phone will not support 5G, according to Kuo.
This new size for Apple's iPhone XS sequel would make it smaller than today's version but still larger than the iPhone 8. That could make it a compelling choice for those who want a phone that's more compact than the iPhone XS but need a screen that's bigger than the iPhone 8's 4.7-inch display. Plus, since the iPhone 8 will be three years old by then, there's a good chance Apple won't be selling it anymore, leaving virtually no option for those who want a smaller iPhone. As such, the smaller new iPhone XS could fill that hole in Apple's lineup.
Apple may take some design inspiration from the iPhone 4.
Apple's iPhone redesign in 2020 could include bringing back the metal frame that was present on the iPhone 4, Kuo wrote in a note obtained by MacRumors. The analyst also says Apple will be changing the iPhone's design "significantly" next year.
We can probably expect it to have all the new features introduced in this year's iPhone too.
Apple's 2020 iPhones will likely inherit the new features found on the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro. That means there's a good chance they'll have the iPhone 11 Pro's triple-camera system and night mode among other features.