5 Things To Know About Apple's 2018 iPhone Lineup

Beyond The X

With last year's iPhone X, Apple launched its first major redesign of the iPhone in years. Highlights of the new approach included the largest-ever iPhone display, the smallest bezels yet and the introduction of facial recognition. Those changes may be just the beginning, however. According to dispatches from analysts and rumors in recent weeks, 2018 could be the year that Apple breaks with the iPhone of the past and fully embraces the approach pioneered with the iPhone X.

In the following slides, we've rounded up five key things to know about the 2018 iPhone lineup.

The iPhone Displays Are Only Getting Bigger

The 5.8-inch display of the iPhone X may not be the largest iPhone screen for very long. According to well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, a 6.5-inch iPhone as well as a 6.1-inch iPhone will both be introduced in 2018. Those would join a 5.8-inch model in the lineup that would be a direct successor to the iPhone X, according to Kuo, who has a strong track record on Apple predictions. The 6.5-inch and 5.8-inch models would both use the OLED display technology of the iPhone X, while the 6.1-inch model would use lower-res LCD and have a lower price, in Kuo's predicted scenario.

The Familiar Bezels May Be Going Away For Good

The most striking difference with the iPhone X is the way that it removes the large bezels above and below the screen -- which had been part of the iPhone design since the beginning. Plus, the iPhone X adds a notch cutout at the top of the screen for a new camera system and other sensors. That design will be coming to all three new 2018 iPhone models that Apple has in the works, according to Kuo. That would mean the end of the line for the familiar iPhone bezels with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

Face ID Is Probably Coming To All iPhones, But Not Dual Cameras

The notch cut-ut on all the 2018 iPhones would give room for the TrueDepth camera system that Apple launched with the iPhone X to enable Face ID, a facial recognition technology for phone unlocking and other authentication purposes. That would mean the debut of Face ID on every new iPhone in 2018 -- and, according to Kuo, the total removal of Touch ID fingerprint recognition from the new iPhone lineup.

While the 6.1-inch LCD model may feature Face ID and the nearly edge-to-edge design, it may not have all of the features of the OLED models, partly as a way to keep it as a lower-cost iPhone offering. One of those differences will be that the 6.1-inch model will only have a single-lens camera, in contrast to the dual-camera system of the two new OLED iPhones, according to Kuo's predicted scenario. The 6.1-inch LCD model may also have an aluminum frame and 3 GB of RAM, while the two OLED models may use stainless steel and have 4 GB of RAM.

The Original iPhone X Could Be Exiting

There was some initial confusion over Kuo's report that Apple will not continue selling the original iPhone X once the models debut this fall. The analyst followed up to better explain his thinking: It's not that Apple is losing faith in the design approach of the iPhone X (that would be basically unthinkable). The reason, rather, is that Apple doesn't want to cannibalize the sales of the new iPhone models by offering the original iPhone X at a reduced price. Typically, Apple keeps offering iPhone models a year or more after they've launched, but lowers the price. With the iPhone X, though, Kuo believes that cutting the price from $999 to $899 or less would hurt the sales of the forthcoming 6.1-inch iPhone.

The Final 2018 iPhone Lineup May Be Up In The Air

Industry tracker Digitimes, which has a less-stellar track record on Apple predictions than Kuo, has shared rumors that aim to cast doubt on Kuo's claims that the 2018 iPhone lineup is finalized. Along with the three iPhone models that Kuo has predicted, Digitimes claims that Apple is also developing an LCD model with a display in the range of 5.7 to 5.8 inches. It's possible, according to the report, that Apple will ultimately opt for two LCD models (5.8-inch and 6.1-inch) alongside a 6.5-inch OLED model for its 2018 iPhone lineup. Other industry observers have questioned the idea that Apple would abandon the 5.8-inch OLED model after a single generation, however.

Meanwhile, several reports in January have suggested that a new iPhone in the vein of the iPhone SE -- but with enhancements such as wireless-charging capabilities -- will launch as soon as the first quarter.