Latest iPhone Rumors: Apple Adding the Stuff Samsung Already Has

Is 2019 the year when Apple adds triple rear cams and reverse wireless charging to the iPhone?
Is 2019 the year when Apple adds triple rear cams and reverse wireless charging to the iPhone?
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

If previous years are any indication, we’re still at least four months away from a new crop of iPhones. But that hasn’t stopped leakers and insiders from dropping clues about some of the new features Apple is allegedly working on, which so far, seem to consist of features that the iPhone’s biggest competitors already have.

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According to noted Apple supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, one of the big new improvements on the next iPhone (iPhone 11? iPhone XI? iPhone Xss?) will be the addition of two-way wireless charging, also known as reverse wireless charging or Wireless Powershare as Samsung calls it on the Galaxy S10. The new tech would allow the future iPhones to charge other Qi-compatible wireless devices simply by placing the device on the backside of the handset and would be a notable upgrade Apple’s ecosystem now that the second-gen AirPods come with an optional wireless charging case.

The other major feature seemingly in line for an upgrade is the iPhone’s rear camera module. The Digitimes (via 9to5Mac) reports that Largan Precision, a current supplier of iPhone camera modules, says it’s confident that it will receive a large order for triple rear cam modules later this year. This report adds weight to a Wall Street Journal story that popped up shortly after CES citing sources that said: “Apple plans to introduce some new camera features like a triple rear camera for the highest-end model and a double rear camera for the two other models.”.

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Based on similar setups found in current Samsung, LG, and Huawei phones, I’d expect Apple’s new triple camera setup to consist of a main wide-angle camera, an ultra-wide angle lens for shooting things like landscapes, and a zoom lens similar to the 2x telephoto setup you get on current iPhones.

However, the bigger worry is that if Apple retains the same general design used on the iPhone X and iPhone XS for 2019, this will be the company’s third year running with the same basic layout. That means what was traditionally a two-year update cadence for the iPhone has slowly morphed into a three-year cycle, which isn’t a great look in a market where consumers are already feeling a slowing rate of innovation.

However, based on a report from Digitimes, there may be something worth looking forward to in 2020. Next year, Digitimes claims Apple will shuffle up the sizes of its iPhone lineup to feature 5.42-inch, 6.06-inch, and 6.67-inch screens, with the smallest of the three rumored to feature new tech that allows the screen’s touch sensor to be integrated directly into the display, allowing for an overall thinner device.

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Now that’s not a lot to go on, but for people hoping to get in on the next batch of new look iPhones, it appears 2020 might be the year.

Senior reporter at Gizmodo, formerly Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag. Was an archery instructor and a penguin trainer before that.

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DISCUSSION

To comment on Apple’s apparent move to a 3 year production cycle for the iPhone. How important is it really to overhaul the chassis every two years? I do think the iPhone 7 was a bit of a disappointment as they only added the telephoto camera and virtual home button as the big design changes but, we’re getting to the point where the design can’t get much different.

The despite the lack of a home button the Xs basically has the same form factor and overall design language as the 6.

The major improvements I could see for future phones include having no notch/bezel for the screen and removing the camera bump. Past that, sure they could square the edges like they did with the most recent iPad Pro but wouldn’t that just be a return to the 4-5s design?