What happens after the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus?
Thanks to Apple’s marketing slogans, we already know that the iPhone X is the future of the smartphone, so is the ‘classic’ form factor dead? More than likely, with Tim Cook and his team indicating that the notch will be the new visual shorthand for Cupertino’s smartphone.
It looks like the answer is ‘another iPhone X… but cheaper’
That idea comes from the latest leak from noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, and it builds on last week’s leaks around the follow-up models that would match the iPhone X. The latter are set to include a ‘Plus’ version of the iPhone X with a mammoth 6.5 inch OLED screen, as well as an update to the current iPhone X that will retain the 5.8 inch OLED screen.
The new model sits curiously between these two high-end models. It is expected to have a 6.1 inch screen and follow the home-button free design of the iPhone X, as well as the required sensors to implement FaceID. That means the notch will be present, lending more credence to the idea that Apple will be placing a lot of branding power into that island of technology.
But the curious point of the 6.1 inch model is that it will use LCD technology, rather than OLED.
Even though the screen is larger, this is going to bring the price down to the current levels of the iPhone 8 at $699. It’s a screen material that Apple is comfortable with, that needs less R&D time, and the only trick will be cutting out the notch as required.
By this time next year you would assume that Apple will have ironed out the bugs and any production issues with FaceID. Stepping up to three models and having FaceID across the full portfolio of ‘new’ will introduce an economy of scale to help reduce the per-unit pricing on the component. It also drives forward technology that Apple hopes will be seen as a unique selling point of the iPhone.
Just like the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, it’s also a hedge bet against the pricey OLED handsets. With the 5.8 inch iPhone X priced at the magic thousand dollar point, a larger version is not going to be cheaper, not in the short-term. So an LCD based iPhone X is going to carry on sitting at the lower price point in the iPhone range, capturing the aspirational users who can’t afford the higher priced handset while still delivering the forty percent margin to the books.