When Apple took the stage at its WWDC keynote and unveiled iOS 13, it set a path that led directly towards the next iPhone—the iPhone 11, or whatever it'll be called when it's announced in September. Naturally, people started to get excited about the new iPhone and everything it could bring with it: a new design, a better camera, a major next-gen feature that will blow people's minds.
Well, I'm here to burst your bubble. Don't expect much from the iPhone 11, because Apple is going to play it safe.
This is because of one main reason: Apple likes to take things slow. It doesn't rush out to change or add features for the hell of it. Instead, it lets the market saturate with features like quality OLED displays or next-gen biometric sensors and once they are fully ready, introduces them on the iPhone where they work almost flawlessly.
Apple did this with fingerprint scanners, OLED displays, facial recognition, dual-cameras, wireless charging, and more.
Right now we are in one of those periods. We can all agree that the next major iPhone redesign needs a display that doesn't come with an ugly notch. Hate or love the notch, display technology is pushing for true edge-to-edge panels. Companies like Samsung and OnePlus are really pushing the envelope with the displays on their smartphones that, truth be told, look way better than the notched display on the iPhone. The displays on the Galaxy S10 and OnePlus 7 Pro look utterly gorgeous, running from corner to corner, undisturbed by an ugly notch.
Apple will follow suit with this change to the iPhone display, just not in 2019.
Why you may ask? Because Apple is on a cycle of updates that truly maximizes a specific design. It has been doing this for many years now, you probably just didn't notice it. That's what the "S" line of iPhones is all about, but now, it has stretched out the cycle to three years.
From the iPhone 3G to the iPhone 5S, Apple was taking the two year approach. One year gets you a major redesign that ushers in things like a bigger display or redesigned body and the next year gets you the same design with a major new feature like Siri or Touch ID. However, around this time, smartphone designs started to plateau and trying to redesign a smartphone every two years was going to lead Apple into a dead end. There's only so many things you can do to a smartphone to change it.
Samsung and other Android smartphone makers who look to change their smartphone design every year ran into the same issue. They too had little answers for this unexpected wall, so they started to repeat designs or offer very incremental updates.
With this as the backdrop, Apple decided to have bumped the two-year cycle to three years beginning with the iPhone 6. We got the 6, then the 6s and then the 7, and each looked basically the same. The only major changes that happened through this three-year period was a slightly changed camera bump and color options.
If you're hoping the iPhone 11 will introduce a major redesign, you'll be sorely disappointed.
If you're doing the math, 2019 is the third year of the iPhone X design with the notched display and all-glass body. Based on every rumor and report we've heard, that will stay the same with the iPhone 11. The only changes that have been mentioned is a new square camera hump for the new triple-lens camera system (that looks quite ugly) and possibly new color options with matte glass finish similar to the Pixel 3. But the hardware updates end there. There will be no major iPhone redesign in 2019.
Apple is banking on the aforementioned triple-camera system on the iPhone 11 to be the distinguishing hardware feature that will drive people to buy it. It has been falling behind in the mobile photography game with Google doing its thing with the Pixel and other Android makers adding amazing multi-camera systems that offer tons of versatility. This will be Apple's attempt to catch up in this area by adding a new lens. If you want to know more about the iPhone 11 camera, iMore's Rene Ritchie did a fantastic breakdown on it.
There will also be internal changes as well helping offset the lack of hardware changes. Look for a new, more powerful A13 Bionic chip, possibly more RAM, and even a nifty reverse wireless charging feature that will work great with the wireless charging AirPods. That, along with all the new features iOS 13 will add, will round out the iPhone 11 experience.
Aside from that, Apple isn't going to radically change its next iPhone, making it extremely boring for most. The iPhone 11 is still going to be an amazing smartphone, just not in the way people are expecting. Which is why we're telling you now: don't expect much from the iPhone 11, or else you will be disappointed.
- 3 things the iPhone 11 should steal from the Galaxy S10
- Everything you need to know about iOS 13
- 10 features iOS 13 stole from Android
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