A three-camera setup could bring a range of new features to the iPhone, depending on the specifics, including improved depth-sensing and distance measurement or greater optical zoom.
There have been no solid indications of what the new 6.5-inch and 5.8-inch iPhones might be called. iPhone XI would seem likely given the most recent naming convention although — aside bearing an unfortunate resemblance to the name of China’s president Xi Jinping — the X name has continued to confuse users who pronounce it as “ecks” rather than “ten”. iPhone 11 is another possibility.
There will also be a successor the iPhone XR, the report indicates, which will gain a second camera to bring its photo-taking abilities in line with the 2018 phones.
The report from WSJ also suggests that Apple is considering dropping the LCD screen from this model, moving to OLED across its 2019 range. But this may clash with other reports that state Apple is banking on a much less expensive iPhone to win back market share across the world, particularly in China where sales have plummeted. OLED panels are significantly more expensive to produce than LCD.
Also on cost-saving, WSJ suggests Apple will be removing the technology underneath the screen that powers 3D Touch, for all 2019 phones. If true, it’s possible Apple could achieve a similar effect with less expensive components.
Some more contentious rumours have pointed to the fact that Apple is working to eliminate the notch from the top of its displays, but that would require a significant new technology given the complexity of the phones’ TrueDepth array. Cameras could theoretically be miniaturised and squeezed along the top of the display, or hidden in drilled-out holes similar to the rumoured Samsung Galaxy S10. Technology exists to hide cameras completely under the display, but this seems unlikely to make it onto the iPhone this year.
Also unlikely this year is an iPhone with 5G capabilities. Apple has been locked in a bitter legal dispute with Qualcomm, the leader in smartphone modem chips, and is said to be working with Intel instead on 5G modems for its 2020 phones.