6.1-inch LCD iPhone Rumored to Ditch 3D Touch, Dual-Lens Camera

Apple is widely expected to debut three iPhones this year. The rumored ‘iPhone XI’ and ‘iPhone XI Plus’ have gotten most of the attention, but details regarding the third device in the lineup have been more sparse.

Well, today, well-connected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has shared additional information about that third, reportedly mid-range iPhone.

According to previous reports, that iPhone is largely expected to sport a handful of iPhone X-esque features with several design tweaks to allow it to be sold at a cheaper price point.

Basically, it’s a mid-range device that will let users get Apple’s latest features without breaking the bank.

The LCD iPhone is rumored to sport a rather strange feature-set for a mid-range smartphone — and especially for an Apple iPhone.

Here are the features forecasted for the device, according to Kuo’s newly published research note and previous reports.

  • 6.1-inch form factor, presumably because of the rise in popularity of larger devices.
  • LCD-based display, rather than OLED tech rumored for its two stablemates.
  • Edge-to-edge display design.
  • Face ID in lieu of a Home button and a fingerprint sensor.
  • Single-lens rear camera. That means no optical zoom.
  • Aluminum frame, rather than stainless steel rumored for the other two 2018 iPhones.
  • No wireless charging, if that aluminum construction includes the back chassis (which has previously been rumored).
  • A standard, rectangular-shaped battery, rather than Apple’s new L-shaped design.
  • A non-stacked logic board design, similar to the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.
  • 3GB of RAM, rather than the 4GB slated for the iPhone XI and iPhone XI Plus.
  • No 3D Touch.

According to KGI Securities’ research note on Tuesday, development of the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone has fallen behind those of its OLED stablemates. But the research firm added that the device will likely enjoy “extended longevity” through the first quarter of 2019, and will account for around 50 percent of total iPhone shipments this year and into next.

A mid-range device with this form factor will likely also spur sales in critical markets like China, where consumers expect premium devices to sport large displays, and in India, where Apple has yet to obtain a strong foothold in terms of market share.

Of course, Apple’s India strategy likely centers on the fourth iPhone expected this year: the rumored iPhone SE 2, which might even be an India-exclusive, at least initially.

Kuo believes that the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone will be unveiled this fall alongside its OLED counterparts — the so-called 5.8-inch iPhone XI and 6.5-inch iPhone XI Plus.

KGI Securities predicts that it will retail for between $ 700 and $ 800 in the U.S., which is a slight price spike above his previous $ 650 to $ 750 estimate for the device. Notably, that price point could correlate with the fact that Apple will retire the iPhone X this year, rather than continue selling it at a reduced price.

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Apple Officially Releases iOS 11.2.5 with Siri News, HomePod Support

Apple on Tuesday officially released iOS 11.2.5, a relatively small but important update with a few new features and a handful of bug fixes and security improvements.

HomePod Support

iOS 11.2.5 includes support for Apple’s long-awaited HomePod. Apple says that with iOS 11.2.5 users will be able to automatically transfer their Apple ID, Siri, Apple Music, and Wi-Fi settings to HomePod, which will make setting up the Siri-speaker incredibly easy.

Siri News

In addition to HomePod support, Siri will now be able to read the news. Apple’s iOS 11.2.5 release notes specify that users will be able to request specific news categories like business, sports, and even music news.

To activate the feature just say “Hey Siri, play the news,” assuming that the “Hey Siri” feature is turned on.

Other Improvements

Apple also lists the following fixes and improvements.

  • Addresses an issue that could cause the Phone app to display incomplete information in the call list.
  • Fixes an issue that caused Mail notifications from some Exchange accounts to disappear from the Lock screen when unlocking iPhone X with Face ID.
  • Addresses an issue that could cause Messages conversations to temporarily be listed out of order.
  • Fixes an issue in CarPlay where Now Playing controls become unresponsive after multiple track changes.
  • Adds ability for VoiceOver to announce playback destinations and AirPod battery level.

How to Download iOS 11.2.5

iOS 11.2.5 is now available as a free, over-the-air download for iPhone 5s and later, iPad Air and later, and iPod touch 6th generation users. Users can find the update in Settings > General > Software Update.

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iPhone XI to Replace iPhone X in 2018

The iPhone X may have been Apple’s most significant flagship in recent years, but 2018’s lineup of iPhones is going to be no less important.

Last year’s iPhone X flagship may have hinted where Apple is moving with the devices, but whatever handsets Apple releases in 2018 will likely solidify its smartphone ambitions.

That’s particularly important since Apple is rumored to discontinue the iPhone X. To be clear, that doesn’t mean it’s scrapping the iPhone X’s design — the company is simply not going to continue selling that particular model at a discounted price.

While Apple’s 2018 iPhones are still relatively mysterious, we’ve already seen early rumors hinting at what the devices could look like. iDrop News has put together a set of renders that depict some of these possibilities for the so-called ‘iPhone XI’.

Note: These concept images are based on rumors. The iPhone XI is not an official device.

iPhone XI Martin Hajek x iDrop News

See the iPhone XI Image Gallery Below.

But before we move on, let’s take a look back at everything we know about Apple’s 2018 iPhone lineup so far.

3 New iPhones for 2018

Collating supply chain reports, tech industry rumors, and analyst predictions, here’s what we know about the 2018 iPhone lineup so far.

Like the 2017 lineup, Apple is largely expected to release three iPhones this year, according to well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities.

That includes a direct successor to the iPhone X — for simplicity’s sake, a so-called “iPhone XI,” although we’re not sure what it’ll actually be called (but more on that later). Presumably, this device would feature roughly the same form factor and size, and retain its glass construction and edge-to-edge 5.8-inch display.

iPhone XI Martin Hajek x iDrop News

Apple is also rumored to fill out the lineup with an “iPhone X Plus” — basically a larger iPhone X with a massive 6.5-inch display — as well as a lower-cost LCD-based iPhone with a 6.1-inch display and metal construction (that means no wireless charging, possibly).

iPhone X-Esque Design & Face ID

Most analysts agree that Apple will continue to use the edge-to-edge iPhone X design in its forthcoming devices — even applying that design to its Plus-model iPhone, as well as its lower-cost LCD handset.

Save for the LCD model, Apple is probably going to keep the glass backs for its flagships — seeing as the material is a necessity for wireless charging. Additionally, Apple is largely expected to use Face ID across its entire iPhone lineup.

While the design will likely remain the same, Apple could make small tweaks. KGI Securities previously predicted that the metal frame could be updated to allow for faster data transmissions.

Upgraded Internals

Apple is very likely to use a new generation of its proprietary A-series chipsets for the new phone, as well as upgraded modems from both Qualcomm and Intel that would allow for 4×4 MIMO support. In other words, expect a more powerful iPhone with faster broadband cellular speeds.

Additionally, Kuo forecasted that at least one iPhone this year could sport a dual-SIM card tray. While not popular in the U.S., such a feature is common and even expected on high-end flagships in other regions of the world — particularly in increasingly critical markets like China and India.

iPhone XI Martin Hajek x iDrop News

Based on another report, Apple partner LG is rumored to have been tapped to supply new L-shaped batteries for the  2018 iPhone lineup — a move that could allow for better and higher-capacity batteries that charge quicker. As an added plus, it could free up more space for internal components.

The company is also making pushes to include more of its own silicon in its device — so that’s always a possibility. Previous supply chain reports suggest that Apple is working on in-house power management and graphics chips

iPhone XI Possible New Features

While there are quite a few things we know about how Apple could approach the 2018 iPhone lineup, there are always an infinite amount of innovative possibilities that Apple could implement. Here are just a few ideas.

Dual-Directional Camera & Sensors

The iPhone X’s front-facing camera got a serious upgrade with the addition of the 3D scanning and infrared TrueDepth Camera system. Unfortunately, rumors seem to indicate that Apple won’t add an additional TrueDepth system to its rear-facing camera, owing to the higher spec demands and difficulties in producing the fragile and complex array.

But maybe Apple wouldn’t have to. According to Martin Hajek, with some clever engineering, the company could use one camera and one set of TrueDepth sensors — and just make those components dual-directional by mounting them vertically.

iPhone XI Martin Hajek x iDrop News

Apple could “wrap” the black sensor housing around both sides of the device, allowing the TrueDepth Camera — and its advanced array of sensors — to be used in both a front-facing and rear-facing manner. To make that happen, the company would apply a wide-angle fisheye or 360-degree lens tech to the system.

Such a solution could allow the iPhone XI to have front- and rear-facing AR and Face ID capabilities without needing two separate TrueDepth sensors.

A Smaller Notch

The iPhone X’s sensor notch is a controversial feature — some people hate it, while others don’t mind it. And while the notch is probably here to stay, Apple is reportedly looking into making it slimmer on future devices.

iPhone XI Martin Hajek x iDrop News

To be clear, those rumors suggest that a slimmer sensor housing won’t make it into an iPhone until 2019 — but that doesn’t preclude its possible inclusion in this year’s iPhones. A vertically oriented, dual-direction camera and sensor suite (as stated above) could even allow Apple to do so.

Slimmer Bezels, Flush Camera and More

  • The iPhone X basically did away with bezels, but there’s no reason Apple couldn’t take it a step further and make the bezels even slimmer in this year’s iPhones.
  • Additionally, Apple could take heed of user complaints and make the rear camera array flush with the glass back on the iPhone. With Apple’s design aesthetic and minimalist philosophy, this seems like a no-brainer.
  • As far as biometrics, Apple could take inspiration from Android makers and re-introduce Touch ID for this year’s iPhones, possibly implemented in a side power button. With the market performance of the iPhone X, this looks a bit more likely than it once did. Of course, it’s probably still best not to expect it.
  • And when it comes to cameras, there’s been some evidence that this year’s lineup will take a cue from the iPhone X and feature dual-lens cameras and optical image stabilization in all three iPhones.

What Will the New iPhones Be Called?

Short answer: basically, whatever Apple wants to call them. This year’s iPhone 8 and X completely upended the traditional Apple smartphone naming conventions, meaning anything is possible moving forward.

  • A clever and pretty plausible possibility that’s been offered is that Apple could name future iPhones the same way that it names iPads and Macs. For example, this year’s entry-level LCD iPhone could simply be called “iPhone.”
  • Subsequent generations of OLED iPhones could be called “iPhone X” or “iPhone X Plus.”
  • In other words, the theory claims that there won’t be an iPhone 9 or iPhone “11,” necessarily.  Instead, there’ll be an iPhone, iPhone X (2018), and iPhone X Plus.

Of course, this is still up in the air — and we won’t know for sure until Apple officially announces it at its keynote this year. Speaking of which…

iPhone XI Release Date

We don’t know when exactly Apple will introduce this year’s stable of iPhones, but it’s almost certainly going to be in September 2018.

Since the iPhone 5 debuted, Apple has announced every generation of flagship during its fall keynote — which usually takes place the first or second Tuesday or Wednesday in September.

Unless Apple decides to completely change it up, its historical patterns are a good indication of when the iPhone XI will be unveiled. That being said, Cupertino could throw us a curveball.

As far as launch dates, Apple usually ships flagship iPhones the second Friday following its keynote — though there are significant exceptions, such as the iPhone 6s in 2015 and this year’s iPhone X.

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Apple Partners with Malala Fund to Support Girls’ Education Globally

Apple is pledging its support to the Malala Fund, an organization started by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai. Apple will support the Fund’s commitment to support girls’ education across the globe, the two groups announced in a press release on Monday.

As part of the partnership, Apple will become the Malala Fund’s first Laureate partner and will assist in expanding the Fund’s efforts to provide equal opportunities and education to girls in developing countries, no matter where they are located.

“We believe that education is a great equalizing force, and we share Malala Fund’s commitment to give every girl an opportunity to go to school,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said.

  • Apple will help the organization scale up its technology, curriculum and policy research efforts.
  • The Cupertino tech giant’s support is expected to double the number of grants awarded by the Fund’s Gulmakai Network, and allow the organization to expand into India and Latin America.

“My dream is for every girl to choose her own future,” Yousafzai said in a statement. “Through both their innovation and philanthropy, Apple has helped educate and empower people around the world. I am grateful that Apple knows the value of investing in girls and is joining Malala Fund in the fight to ensure all girls can learn and lead without fear.”

Founded and led by Malala Yousafzai and her father, the Malala Fund is committed to championing “every girl’s right to 12 years of free, safe, quality education.” The Fund estimates that roughly 130 million girls are out of school, so their work is becoming increasingly important.

The organization has been operational since 2013, and works with a slew of private sector groups and government entities to help foster educational opportunities across the globe. Additionally, its own Gulmakai Network directly supports programs in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Turkey and Nigeria.

Malala became known around the world when she was named the youngest Nobel Peace Price winner in 2014. When she was just 15, Malala survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban in 2012 in response to her outspoken advocacy for equal, quality education in Pakistan.

“Malala is a courageous advocate for equality. She’s one of the most inspiring figures of our time, and we are honored to help her extend the important work she is doing to power girls around the world,” Cook said. The Apple CEO is also expected to join the Malala Fund’s leadership council, the company announced.

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Social Media Star ‘Hushpuppi’ Flaunts Extravagant 24K Gold Plated iPhone X

Apple’s iPhones are already higher-end devices, and the iPhone X is the most expensive iPhone ever made. But, of course, there are always those who take things to a whole other level.

Enter Hushpuppi, a so-called “Big Boy” from Nigeria, a new class of social media star known for their opulent and luxurious lifestyles. Hushpuppi, who lives in Malaysia, has reportedly just acquired a custom 24-karat gold plated iPhone X, according to local media.

The extravagant iPhone X apparently cost the social media personality around 2.4 million Nigerian Naira — about $ 6,670. For comparison’s sake, a standard iPhone X costs about 510,00 Naira — roughly about $ 1,417 in U.S. currency (owing to the fact that the iPhone X retails for much more than the U.S. $ 999 in many countries).

Hushpuppi shared his luxurious acquisition on Snapchat, where he unboxed the special edition iPhone X and showed it off.

It’s not entirely clear which firm customized the iPhone X for the Malaysia-based father of one, but there are actually quite a few companies that offer rather over-the-top editions of Apple’s latest and greatest flagship.

For example, Helsinki-based Legend offers a slew of bespoke, gold-clad electronics — including an “Aurum” edition iPhone X that sports a layer of 24-karat gold and a hand-cut mother of pearl Apple logo, and solid 18-karat gold frame. Retail price? About $ 3,494 in U.S. dollars.

Before you start pulling out your credit card, keep in mind that Legend only produced 10 of those devices — which are all, presumably, sold.

Not to worry, though. A company in the United Arab Emirates by the name of Axiom Telecom offers a 256-gigabyte iPhone X with 24-karat gold-plated trim — though its back construction appears to be standard black glass. It retails for 6,599 AED, roughly $ 1,551 in U.S. currency and about $ 400 more than what Apple charges for the standard model of the device.

And in September 2017, Los Angeles-based accessory maker Brikk announced that it would begin taking pre-orders for custom luxury editions of the iPhone X, including models plated with solid gold, rose gold or platinum. While prices vary, you can expect to pay between $ 7,495 and $ 69,995 to get your hands on one.

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