Apple’s iPhone 9 | Specifications, Features, Design, Price And Other Rumors Condensed

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Apr 28, 2018
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Given the massive influx of leaks recently, it’s time we start to compile things for the Apple iPhone 9. To refresh your memory, the company is rumored to launch three new iPhones this year. Two of these will be upgrades to the current iPhone X. The third will feature an LCD screen and is currently dubbed as the iPhone 9; although we wouldn’t put it past Cupertino to simply call the device as ‘iPhone’. On that note, let’s take a look at the rumor mill’s current status and mix it with our expectations for the upcoming smartphone.

iPhone 9 Display And Specifications:

Right off the bat, the iPhone 9’s display is one feature which surfaces regularly on the rumor mill. The smartphone will have the largest screen for an iPhone so far. The iPhone 9 consistently surfaces with a 6.5″ display, expected to have a 2160 x 1080 resolution. The latter bit isn’t confirmed but highly probable.

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However, this won’t be OLED as Apple is also rumored to continue the tradition of IPS LCDs with the smartphone also making the iPhone 9 as the smartphone with the largest IPS LCD panel, only to be beaten by the 6.5″ rumored OLED panel for the iPhone XS Plus.

For specifications, the iPhone will house Apple’s A12 processor and 3GB RAM (rumored). This chip will be manufactured by TSMC on its first 7nm iteration which using standard lithography. If you thought the A11 packed a power punch, do wait for the A12. Apple’s current high-end processor is a power hog, a fact we’re sure keeps a lot of folks up at night.

While we’ve got little details for the A12 right now, it’s not that hard to make a rough estimate of what to expect from it. The A11 is manufactured on 10nm that decreases the distance between individual transistors, allowing it to decrease area by 30%. The A11 also packs 4.3 billion transistors, 1 billion more than its predecessor, in a smaller area. This increased number also allows Apple to equip the SoC with more cores.

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Image Courtesy: Electronics Specifier

So by all reasonable estimates, the A12 will have at least a similar transistor count increase as 7nm allows for a further 20% reduction in die area according to TSMC’s estimates. Apple will definitely pay attention to the chip’s performance controller, especially to improve power consumption. Core count should stay the same, as Apple will utilize the 7nm jump to improve power efficiency.

The iPhone 9 will also feature Full Active display panels, which will compensate for using LCD panels on the smartphone. Full Active displays allow for a higher pixel density and taller frames. The Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 uses the panels, and it’s got an amazing display.

Finally, Chinese sources expect that the iPhone 9 will feature an external touch panel in order to compensate for the larger screen size. This will increase thickness, increase weight and reduce visibility as in-cell panels integrate digitizers and glass panels. Right now, this sounds hogwash as it’s highly unlikely for Apple to move back with the iPhone 9. Since we’ll continue to update this post, keep checking in.

An image shared by KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo in January also displays an ‘Out-cell’ display touch, but we’re not sure whether he’s referring to external touch panels.

TrueDepth, FaceID, 3D Touch, Rear Camera, Design & Price:

Here, things will get interesting. A lot of sources believe that Apple will remove 3D Touch this year from all iPhones. It’s from KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo, so we’re forced to take it seriously. The logic behind this is that the feature isn’t very popular with developers and does not prove cost-effective for Apple either.

Apple will introduce its proprietary TrueDepth setup on the smartphone, which will cement Touch ID’s replacement across all three iPhones for this year. At its rumored price point, this upgrade will disappoint a lot of users and might result in decreased shipments for the smartphone. Apple also expects the iPhone 9 to be its best seller for the 2018 smartphone crop.

Design wise, the smartphone will resemble this year’s iPhone X externally. However, it will also feature several changes in order for Apple to justify a lower price point. Some sources believe that the smartphone will house a metal back, which might end up removing wireless charging from the equation.

The iPhone 9 will not feature a stacked logic board or an L-configuration for its batteries. Apple is looking into polymer-based Flexible Printed Circuit Boards (FPCBs) for the 2018 iPhone lineup, but it’s unclear whether the iPhone 9 will feature them. FPCBs will mark an important step in improving the iPhone lineup’s thermal performance constraints. A fresh report from Ming-Chi Kuo also claims that Apple will launch a dual-SIM iPhone 9 to cater Eastern, especially Chinese markets.

The pricing for this rumored smartphone is one of its most attractive points. Apple’s decision to charge $1000 for the base iPhone X model didn’t do well with users. While ASP saved Cupertino, user interest declined. Now, Apple looks to encourage TrueDepth’s market adoption. The iPhone 9 will be priced at either $700 or $750; both of which are based on recent reports and corroborate earlier ones as well.

Finally, some sketchy claims report that an iPhone 9 Plus is in the works and Apple will use Intel’smodems on the smartphone. Both of these should be treated with as much salt as available. We’ll keep on updating this post, so bookmark it if you must. There’s a lot of time left until September and details will further clear out. Till then, stay tuned and let us know what you think in the comments section below. We’ll keep you updated on the latest.

Update 1:

A new research report from Rosenblatt’s Jun Zhang adds more weight to the claims that Apple will remove 3D Touch from the iPhone 9 in order to drive costs down. This will allow Cupertino to save $20/unit and deepen the bridge for 3D Touch across different iOS devices. Zhang also believes that the iPhone 9 is codenamed ‘Jaguar’ and Apple will produce 60 million units for the smartphone this year – more than the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Plus’ production targets combined.

Update 2:

Ming-Chi Kuo is back and this time he’s got some technical details for us. According to Kuo, reports for Apple ditching 3D Touch on the iPhone 9 are accurate. Apple will use a Cover-Glass-Sensor (CGS) display on the iPhone 9 and add another sensor film on the smartphone. As this will increase costs, Cupertino will proceed to remove 3D Touch and bring down the smartphone’s MBOM (Manufacturing Bill of Materials).

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