- Apple will launch three new iPhone models in 2018, Nomura analysts predict.
- The analysts believe Apple is preparing a 6.5-inch iPhone like the iPhone X but with a bigger OLED screen.
- Apple will also launch a successor to the iPhone X with a 5.8-inch OLED screen, the analysts write.
- The third, lower-cost model could feature an edge-to-edge LCD screen and TrueDepth facial recognition and could be priced between $650 and $900.
Apple could release three new iPhone models in 2018, according to a note distributed to investors on Monday by Nomura analysts.
Several of the predictions line up with a forecast from renowned KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo issued last month.
Apple could release two iPhones with OLED screens, and one with an LCD screen, according to the note. The iPhone X, which was released earlier this year, was the first iPhone to use OLED technology, which can limit power drain and provide more vivid colors.
One of the new OLED iPhones will be the same size as the current iPhone X, with a 5.8-inch screen, but one is going to be a larger model with a 6.5-inch screen, according to the note. Apple currently sells "plus" models of its iPhone 8 with similar components but a larger screen size.
These devices are expected to be similar to the current iPhone X, according to the analysts. Apple's True Depth camera system used for facial recognition is expected to be similar to this year's design, they write, and Apple may introduce a new 512GB tier of storage.
"We think the focus for 2H18F new iPhones is to optimise those technologies in terms of performance and costs and adopt a broader iPhone portfolio, rather than bring in more significant technology changes into new iPhones," the analysts wrote.
"We think the specs of 6.5” OLED and 5.8” OLED new iPhones are mostly the same as those on iPhone X (5.8” OLED), except for the screen size and the support of dual physical SIM cards of the 6.5” iPhone," the analysts continued.
The Nomura analysts believe the rear camera on next year's iPhones will not gain 3D-sensing capabilities believed to be essential for augmented-reality applications.
The third device will have the same edge-to-edge design as the iPhone X, but will use a less expensive LCD screen, the analysts predicted. They believe the lower-cost iPhone will use Apple's facial-recognition camera, and will be targeted at the "mid-range" segment, between $650 and $900. This lower-cost iPhone model is said to only have a single-lens rear camera and lack Apple's Force Touch feature. Nomura predicts this phone will be assembled by Pegatron and possibly Wistron, as opposed to Hon Hai, which will handle the more expensive iPhones and which is currently the sole assembler for the iPhone X.
The analysts cite supply chain sources for their information, but they also warn:
"Please note that all the potential spec changes and supply chain dynamics for 2H18F new iPhones in this report are observations from our supply chain surveys, together with our own inferences, and they are subject to change, as the new iPhone specs and suppliers will not be finalised before late-1Q or early-2Q18F."
Normura's note largely focuses on companies that supply Apple with parts for its iPhones. The analysts see several possible winners if their predictions for next year's iPhones end up being accurate, including Largan, ASE, Wistron, ZDT, Casetek, and Merry.
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