03/13 Update below. This article was originally published on March 10
iPhone 14 leaks have already revealed dramatic design changes are coming to the Pro models this year, and we now know they’ll impact all new iPhone releases for years to come as well.
In a new blog post, display industry specialist Ross Young, CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC), revealed that within 18 months, every iPhone will look very different. According to Young, who has a flawless track record, Apple’s plans to replace the notch in iPhone 14 Pro models with a new divisive i-shaped cutout this year will be extended to all iPhone models in 2023.
Update 12/3: New information has now revealed Apple’s intentions for the design of standard iPhone 14 models. While the Pro models will move on to the controversial i-shaped cutout detailed below, I had missed a new blog post from popular industry insider eyes1122, who reveals that buyers of the iPhone 14 and the new iPhone 14 Max (which is expected to replace the iPhone 13 Mini) will have a very familiar experience.
The anonymous tipster, who has a solid track record, says recent claims that Apple will reduce bezels on standard models are incorrect and that the phones will be identical to the current iPhone 13. Given that they will also retain the notch for a successive fifth generation, the appeal of these phones will depend entirely on a) what Apple upgrades internally, b) as a means of escaping the so-called “ i-sore” of new display cutouts on iPhone 14 Pro models.
The news also makes sense given the steps Apple has taken to widen the gap between its standard and Pro devices. Over the past few years, non-Pro MacBooks and iPads have kept older designs even when they got the latest hardware (like the M1 chip in MacBooks and, earlier this week, the new iPad Air). In these categories, Apple has widened the price gap between Pro and non-Pro devices, and with rumors of iPhone price hikes, it will be interesting to see if that happens with the iPone 14 line as well.
Update 3/13: Acclaimed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today revealed the names of the upcoming iPhone 14 lineup and the good news is that they match what we’ve heard from other leaks. “According to Apple’s rules for naming iPhones, the four new 2H22 iPhones could be called iPhone 14 (6.1″), iPhone 14 Max (6.7″), iPhone 14 Pro (6.1”) and iPhone 14 Pro Max (6.7 “),” Kuo said. Apple’s decision to discontinue the 5.4-inch iPhone 13 Mini has been long overdue, but its demise is likely to divide opinion. While sales have been slower than expected, there’s simply nothing else on the market like this for fans of smaller handsets. The iPhone 13 Mini is a true one-handed device with high level performance.
The other side of the coin is both economical and practical. From an economic perspective, user interest has clearly migrated to larger phones with their heaviness accepted for the benefits their extra screen size brings and their form factor allows for larger batteries and more durable. The latter is also probably a key element of the transition. Battery life has always been the Achilles heel of iPhone Mini models and cramming so much high-end tech into its smaller frame is probably giving Apple an engineering headache than switching to a “iPhone 14 Max” will make it easier. The move should also justify a price hike for Apple, with the company set to sell it for $100 more than an iPhone 14while the Mini sells for $100 less than an iPhone 13.
As such, Apple can give customers what they want, streamline their design process (more components can now be paired with the iPhone 14 Pro Max) and increase the average selling price of the lineup. It’s a win-win situation in all areas, other than our carpal tunnels.
“It will be another instantly recognizable form of display for Apple,” says Young. “The pill + hole design is almost as wide as the notch but will definitely save a few pixels above the holes. In 2023 we believe all four models will have the pill + hole design.
Yes, there’s no escaping Apple’s polarizing design decision, which both manages to follow the trend set by Android handsets for several years while looking worse. The good news is that Young says Apple will try to reduce the size of the new cutouts in the 2023 models while working on more low-profile options.
“Apple intends to replace Face ID with Face ID under the bezel, placing all elements under the display without a visible pill-shaped hole,” he explained. “However, we have heard from a few sources that under the Face ID panel will likely not meet the 2023 mass production schedule.”
Reaction to Apple’s new i-shaped cutout has been mixed. He was initially met with a combination of skepticism and disbelief, but with multiple sources now confirming the new iPhone 14 Pro design, the reaction seems to be softening. That said, there’s no denying that after four generations of Notch, few expected it to be his replacement. Especially considering its large size.
Price increases are also coming. That said, Apple’s next-generation iPhones will undoubtedly be faster and have better cameras than ever before. A drastic SIM-removal plan, coupled with a more efficient 5G modem, should also boost battery life.
So while iPhone fans may not like the look of Apple’s upcoming models, I suspect they’ll still buy them in droves.
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