2018 wasn't exactly Apple's most successful year, as December saw a dip of 12 per cent in the company's shares. It's still too early to deliver a final verdict on the fate of the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR, but it's now been confirmed that Apple will launch three new phones this year, continuing the current lineup. Tipster Onleaks partnered with Digit.in (opens in new tab) has shared what appear to be the first renders of Apple's next flagship device, the iPhone XI.
Back from September 2019, I bring you the very 1st and very early glimpse at which I guess #Apple will unveil as #iPhoneXI!!! Yes, time has already come to meet the new #iPhone through gorgeous 5K renders made on behalf of new coming Partner @digitindia -> https://t.co/b6SxFUS2tx pic.twitter.com/97jrlTHQ5GJanuary 6, 2019
The renders show a square camera setup housing three cameras: the first and second are aligned vertically, while in the middle, to the right, is a third. Above the third camera is an LED flash, and below it is a microphone.
A further tweet from @OnLeaks claims that the 2019 phones are still undergoing the Engineering Validation Test (EVT): there could be major changes by the time the phones officially launch in September. While the design itself is not final, the renders reveal that the rear panel will be made of glass, and that the Apple logo remains positioned in the top centre.
We know that of the three iPhones expected to launch in September, one will be a low-end variant, possibly the successor to the iPhone XR; the other two will succeed the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, making them high-end variants. We have no sure way of knowing which of the upcoming phones is shown in the renders, but with such a drastic change in the camera setup, it's probably the top-of-the-line model.
Another tipster, @UniverseIce had said in an earlier tweet (opens in new tab) that Apple will stick to having a notch display for its 2019 phones, and will switch to punch-hole displays in its 2020 lineup.
The three-camera setup certainly sounds impressive, but it's quite likely to push up the cost of production, and therefore inflate the iPhone brand's price tag even further. Given Apple's dedication to using high-quality components, the cost will probably increase even further. The effect this will have on the 2019 iPhones remains to be seen.
It also remains to be seen if a third camera will be Apple's ticket to bounce back from a low 2018. Sales were lower than expected last year, and the company introduced several trade-in incentives and price-cuts in order to boost sales of the 2018 iPhones. There is a widespread belief amongst analysts that the ongoing trade war between the USA and China has adversely affected iPhone sales in the latter country, while the high price in India has led to the phone not having too many takers here- not a great sign in the world's second-largest smartphone market.
Apple has bounced back from similar disappointments in the past, and the leaks suggest that the company is placing its bets on the triple rear camera design to make a comeback.