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2019 iPhones: Three new handsets, one with a triple-rear-camera setup – Ars Technica


The iPhone Xs in its myriad colors.
Enlarge / The iPhone XR in its myriad colors.

Valentina Palladino

As the new year kicks off, we already have rumors swirling about the next round of iPhones to come from Apple. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Apple plans to release three new iPhones this year, two models with OLED displays and one model with an LCD display.

The sounds familiar, but the newest features may come in their cameras. Reportedly, the highest-end iPhone will have three rear cameras, while the other two models will have dual rear-camera setups.

Apple’s purported focus on cameras show it wants to keep the iPhone with rival smartphones that heavily emphasize the importance of photography chops. Many Android handsets, including Google’s Pixel 3 XL, combine hardware and software to produce some of the best photos we’ve seen from any smartphone. Also, rivals including Samsung and Huawei continue to tweak the rear-camera setups on their flagships, putting triple- or quadruple-camera systems in some of the newest models.

The iPhone XS and XS Max have two rear cameras while the less expensive XR has a single camera, but the latter has many of the same features as its higher-end counterparts. iPhones already take great photos, but Apple appears to be looking for an edge that can help it better compete in key markets like China where competitors often offer handsets with similar features at lower prices.

The Wall Street Journal’s report also states that Apple may ditch the LCD display option in 2020. This rumor isn’t new, but it’s coupled with the idea that the iPhone XR hasn’t sold as well as Apple thought it would. Among other features, the LCD display lets Apple sell the XR at a lower price than the OLED-display-toting iPhone XS and XS Max. Apple apparently couldn’t ditch the LCD display this year because the planning stages are already too far along for this year’s releases, making big changes like a swap of the display panel infeasible.

Apple does not report individual unit sales for iPhones and iPads in its quarterly earnings reports, so we won’t know exactly how many iPhone XRs have sold since its release in October 2018. But in a recent interview with CNBC, Apple CEO Tim Cook disagrees with the idea that the iPhone XR has been a flop.

“Since we began shipping the iPhone XR,” Cook said, “it has been the most-popular iPhone every day, every single day, from—when we started shipping, until now.”

While Apple reportedly plans new cameras as the standout features of its 2019 smartphones, the company may also remove features to cut costs. The report suggests that Apple may remove 3D Touch from all iPhones. Currently, the iPhone XR is the only model that doesn’t have 3D Touch and instead has Haptic Touch, a feature that uses long-display-presses and haptic feedback to evoke new actions. It’s possible that Haptic Touch will extend to all iPhone models if Apple gets rid of 3D Touch entirely.



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