What’s in store for the new iPhone in 2019? We won’t officially know until the fall (most likely in September), but until then, you can bet that the rumor mill will be fully operational. This page will keep track of what’s being rumored as new features of the 2019 iPhones, and we’ll provide some analysis and whether or not a rumor seems feasible.
Updated 1/30/18: Bloomberg reports that the upcoming iPhone will have a rear three-camera system, and that Apple is working on making the 2020 iPhone rear camera with enhanced 3D support.
The rear three-camera 2019 iPhone rumor continues, this time with a report by Bloomberg. Bloomberg says that Apple is currently testing iPhones with a rear three-camera system that will be found on larger iPhone models.
The third camera will allow a larger field of view, a wider range of zoom, and the ability to capture more pixels. Apple is also working on a new version of Live Photos that are 6 seconds, a boost from the current 3 seconds.
While rumors about the 2019 iPhone are making the rounds, Bloomberg also reports on what we could see in the 2020 iPhone’s rear camera. Apple plans to outfit the new phone with a “more-powerful 3-D camera.” Such a camera would allow Apple to take steps towards implementing more and better augmented reality features, and it would also produce photos with more depth.
The current iPhone has a 3D camera, but it’s the selfie camera used for Face ID. The current 3D camera works at distances between 25 and 50 centimeters; the new rear camera implementation will work at a distance up to 15 feet. Also, the current camera uses dot-projection technology, and the new camera will use a laser scanner.
Bloomberg said that the new 3D camera in the 2020 iPhone camera could lead to an AR headset from Apple.
Plausible? The rear three-camera system rumor started earlier this year, so the Bloomberg report on it makes it seem more than likely that it will happen. The big news from the Bloomberg report is the 3D camera in the 2020 iPhone. The fact that Apple has talked a lot about AR makes this rumor seem plausible. But up to now, the steps that the company has taken toward AR implementation and features seem incremental. This would be a big step.
Rumors of the 2019 iPhone using three cameras started last April, though there wasn’t much detail as to how the three-camera system would work. The rumor got new life earlier this month when a report by Digit featured leaked renders acquired by Steve Hemmerstoffer. The renders show the three rear cameras on the 2019 iPhone in a large square camera bump.
Digit’s report says that the three 2019 iPhones (that they are calling the “iPhone XI”) will have three rear cameras, two that are in alignment with each other, and another that’s off to the side. Digit speculates that the offset camera could be a 3D camera, based on a Bloomberg report that said that Apple was interested in Sony’s production of next-generation 3D sensors.
Digit and Steve Hemmerstoffer
Leaked render of an iPhone with a rear three-camera system.
Steve Hemmerstoffer later released new renders of 2019 iPhone prototypes with a three-camera system. The renders, posted by CompareRaja, show the cameras centered in a horizontal orientation, instead of the vertical lineup in the corner.
CompareRaja and Steve Hemmerstoffer New leaked renders show a horizontal rear three-camera system and a smaller front notch.
CompareRaja says that both sets of renders are “100% legit prototypes” and “nothing is set in stone yet.”
Hemmerstoffer further claims that the rear cameras will be 10 megapixels and 14 megapixels, instead of the current dual 12-megapixel setup. Presumably they will still be one wide-angle and one zoom. Details of the third sensor are unknown—it may be a camera sensor of unknown resolution and zoom or a depth sensor. The front-facing camera will also be upgraded from 7 megapixels to 10.
iPhone XR may get dual-camera system
While Tim Cook himself has all but admitted the iPhone XR isn’t selling nearly as well as he hoped it would, it seems like Apple isn’t ready to give up on it just yet. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple will be sticking with the three-model lineup in 2019, with the LCD iPhone XR once again anchoring the low end. The publication says an all-OLED family could be in store for 2020. However, there will be one notable improvement: the XR will reportedly be receiving a dual-camera setup to match the one in the iPhone XS, while the XS Max receives the new triple-camera array.
Plausible? Definitely. The iPhone XR is one of the best phones Apple has ever made, and it would be crazy to outright kill it after just one cycle. In addition to the extra camera, Apple likely has some other refinements, but the question we have is: How will Apple differentiate it between the XS? The camera setup was by far the biggest difference between the two models, so if Apple takes away that advantage, what benefit do buyers have to spend an extra $250 (or whatever it costs next year) on the XS?
The notch on the iPhone screen not only serves a functional purpose, but it also gave the iPhone a look that was instantly recognizable (at least until other companies copied it). But if the rumors are accurate, don’t expect the notch to be a longtime characteristic of the iPhone.
AMS, a sensor manufacturer, announced that it has created a new optical sensor that can “accurately measure the intensity of ambient light from behind an OLED screen.” According to Reuters, Apple uses AMS optical sensors for 3D facial recognition in the iPhone, so it’s not that far of a reach to think that Apple would want to use AMS’s new TCS3701 Color and Proximity Sensor in the next iPhone. This could result in a much smaller notch, or perhaps no notch at all.
AMS rendering of how its new sensor can eliminate the notch on smartphones.
Plausible? Apple and AMS have an established relationship (Reuters says that Apple accounts for 45 percent of AMS’s business), and rumors that Apple has been looking to shrink or eliminate the notch have been out for a while.
But the ambient light and proximity sensors are two of the smallest parts of the TrueDepth module that constitutes the iPhone’s notch. Far larger are the traditional front camera, the infrared front camera, the speaker, and the infrared dot emitter. In order to make the notch noticeably smaller, Apple would need to combine or eliminate some of those elements. Given their current placement, simply moving the proximity sensor and ambient light sensor underneath the OLED display, as per this rumor, wouldn’t do much at all.