Apple fans the world over are excited to see what the company has in store for its iPhone line this fall, but before the iPhone 12 makes its way to store shelves, a much cheaper smartphone is expected to be unveiled. Over the past few months, rumors of an iPhone SE 2 (or iPhone 9, as some reports have called it) have been spreading like wildfire. We have seen renders, specifications, and even an early preorder campaign for the unannounced phone, but according to the Taiwanese publication DigiTimes, an official unveiling might finally be in sight.
Citing industry sources, DigiTimes reports that the iPhone 9 has entered its “final phase of verification” in China. Here is the blurb from the report, which is all that we have to go on at the time of writing:
Apple will soon introduce a new LCD iPhone series, dubbed tentatively SE2, which has recently entered the final phase of verification at an assembly plant in Zhengzhou, China, according to industry sources.
The iPhone 9 was expected to be unveiled during Apple’s semi-annual spring event, which has taken place in March of every year since 2018. That might still end up being the case, but with nearly every major conference and gathering in the tech industry and beyond being postponed or canceled on account of the coronavirus outbreak, it seems highly possible that Apple will follow suit and avoid sticking dozens of people in a room together.
That said, if production of the iPhone 9 is indeed wrapping up, Apple may instead announce the phone via a press release, as it did for a variety of new devices in 2017. It might not be quite as compelling as a press conference, but there’s no point in waiting around if the product is nearly ready to ship to consumers.
Rumors suggest the iPhone 9 will have a similar design to that of the iPhone 8, with a 4.7-inch LCD display and a Home button with Touch ID. Internally, the CPU will be upgraded to the same A13 that can be found in the iPhone 11 series, while the RAM will be increased to 3GB. Prices are expected to start at $399.
First Apple product with miniLED backlighting will be iPad Pro in Q4 – Kuo
Following Monday’s miniLED report, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has a follow-up report out today stating that the first Apple product to use the technology will be a new iPad Pro in Q4 of this year.
Today’s report doesn’t get any more specific than that, but Kuo has previously predicted that the first model to get the improved backlighting system would be the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Kuo at the time thought this would be launched in Q1 2021, but better-than-expected progress has accelerated that timescale …
It had been expected that Apple would gradually transition iPads and MacBooks to OLED screens. Apple first debuted OLED in the Apple Watch before adopting it for flagship iPhones. All four of this year’s iPhone 12 models are expected to have OLED screens.
However, Kuo said a year ago that Apple now appeared to be favoring continuing to use IPS-LCD screens for its larger products, but with miniLED backlighting to improve the quality. By using very many more smaller LEDs for backlighting, it provides greater control over small sections of the screen. This offers many of the same benefits as OLED: higher contrast ratio, increased brightness, deeper blacks, and better power efficiency.
But an LCD screen with miniLED backlighting is actually better than OLED in a couple of respects: it’s less prone to burn-in and has a longer life.
MiniLED technology is expensive, but Monday’s report said that Apple was bringing on board a second supplier, and using competition between them to drive down costs. Kuo thus expected miniLED screens to make it into 30-40% of iPads and 20-30% of MacBooks at some point next year.
MiniLED iPad Pro in Q4
Today’s report says that the first miniLED display will likely be in an iPad Pro. In the context of the earlier report, the smart money would be on a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro in Q4, with the 11-inch one lagging somewhat behind. Apple may also see a staggered launch as a way of boosting sales of the more expensive larger model.
Kuo also expands on his earlier prediction of Apple negotiating lower prices. He now expects Apple’s miniLED chip costs to fall by 50% in 2021 and a further 35% in 2022. He says that miniLED has already progressed from the ‘technology development’ stage to ‘economy of scale.’
The analyst says the results of price competition have already been seen in the miniLED television market, with costs falling dramatically as a result. Kuo expects a combination of lower production costs, economies of scale and Chinese government subsidies to continue to drive down the cost to Apple.
The first HarmonyOS-powered phone from Huawei to arrive in 2021
Huawei’s HarmonyOS was unveiled last year during the Huawei Developer Conference and there’s a report claiming that this year’s conference on September 10 will bring the HarmonyOS 2.0. Interestingly, the rumor cites Richard Yu himself, the company’s CEO. And the first phone with the in-house operating system will launch as early as next year.
A smartphone running the said OS already exists and will likely hit the market next year along with a number of new devices including PCs, tablets, smart wearables and other IoT products. In fact, the first smartwatch running HarmonyOS is expected to make a debut until the end of this year.
iPhone XR will reportedly be replaced by iPhone 12s in Q2 2021
Previously, conflicting information had emerged about iPhone XR’s future. We now seemingly know when it will be discontinued and which phone will replace it.
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