We now have a clear idea of the iPhone 11 launch date, and we’re starting to see some real, solid leaks on how the upgraded handset will look – and what features they’ll be packing.
If you’re not up to speed with what’s coming out of the iPhone 2019 rumor mill, then prepare for some disappointment: the new iPhone range looks like it will just be an incremental upgrade. We’ve got some experience sifting through these rumors – we’ve been at it for over a decade – and nothing we’ve picked up suggests anything more than that.
What does that mean? Well, a similar shape and size to previous launches (with three phones mooted for unveiling at the new iPhone 11 launch) but they won’t bring amazing changes just now.
If you’re interested in what’s coming next, then we’re predicting 5G, whether the Lightning connector will finally get dropped, and possibly even a foldable phone – but either way, that won’t be happening until we see the next iPhone in 2020 at the very least.
Latest story: A piece of information included as part of the iOS 13 developer beta shows that Apple might be taking a page from the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 book, as it seems the iPhone 11 could have a live video editing function. This is a great feature that Samsung devices use to great effect, and if Apple were to imitate it, it’d make the iPhone 11 a fun video smartphone.
Will we get the iPhone 11 ‘Pro’ this year? We discuss this at greater length below, but as we’re not expecting big changes this time around we doubt we’ll get that much of a name change. It would make sense to save it for the cooler elements mentioned above, in 2020.
What we do know is that the new iPhone 11 will be the poster-child for iOS 13, and we’re pretty certain that we’ll be seeing the iPhone 11, iPhone 11R and iPhone 11 Max… what Apple is going to call them remains a mystery though, with there being no obvious next step to the iPhone XS.
Cut to the chase
(Image credit: TechRadar)
What is it? The new iPhone 11 will be Apple’s next flagship
When is it out? Likely to be announced on September 10
What will it cost? Likely no more than last year’s iPhone XS
The main change will be that camera upgrade – we’re now fully expecting three sensors on the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Max, and just two on the iPhone 11R – but with enhanced capabilities on each model.
What is of more interest is whether Apple will be pushing the iPhone 11R (if indeed it does call it that) as the iPhone XR is the phone that’s most prominently featured on its homepage – suggesting the cheaper phone could almost be the star of the show this year.
There will reportedly be some smart features added for charging, and Apple might finally have added in something users have been crying out for – read on to find out the full rundown of what TechRadar’s iPhone experts expect to see for the new iPhone in 2019.
We’ve rounded up the key iPhone 11 leaks in a little video just for you, to give a quick overview of what you may be able to expect later this year.
New iPhone 11 release date
Like every year, we’ve been doing some sleuthing around the possible iPhone 11 release date, and we think we’ve got a pretty good idea around what’s coming:
- iPhone 11 launch date: September 10, 2019
- iPhone 11 pre-order date: September 13, 2019
- iPhone 11 release date: September 20, 2019
iPhone launch dates
Wed Sept 12, 2018: iPhone XS/XS Max/XR
Tue Sept 12, 2017: iPhone X/8/8 Plus
Wed Sept 7, 2016: iPhone 7/7 Plus
Wed Sept 9 2015: iPhone 6S/6S Plus
Tue Sept 9, 2014: iPhone 6/6 Plus
Tue Sept 10, 2013: iPhone 5S/5C
Wed Sept 12, 2012: iPhone 5
Tue Oct 4, 2011: iPhone 4S
Mon June 7, 2010: iPhone 4
Mon June 8, 2009: iPhone 3GS
Mon June 9, 2008: iPhone 3G
Tue Jan 9, 2007: iPhone
Apple hasn’t held its phone event on a Monday for years, with Tuesday or Wednesday the most commonly used days.
With the Wednesday being September 11, a day of mourning in the US that it’s traditionally avoided, Apple will most likely pick an iPhone 11 launch date of Tuesday, September 10, 2019.
Now, leaks from experienced phone-sleuther @evleaks suggested a roadmap of key phone launches coming later, but source code buried within the new iOS 13 beta release seems to confirm the iPhone 11 unveiling as Tuesday September 10. So that date is looking by far the most likely.
This date allows Apple to ship its iPhones into retail channels well before the holiday rush, and is now a well-trodden path to do such. As for the new iPhone 11 pre-order date, Apple tends to open this on the Friday following the launch, which would be September 13 by our calculations.
Finally, the new iPhone 11 release date – the day when you’ll actually be able to get your hands on the handset for the first time – seems very likely to be a week later on Friday September 20, if previous releases are anything to go by.
That prediction was bolstered by an analyst from Wedbush claiming that the three new iPhones launched in 2019 will all go on sale at the same time – the iPhone 11, 11 Max and 11R would all be on sale at the same time thanks to the production process being so much more mature this year – again, suggesting little in the way of upgrades.
And it might not be just the new iPhone range that launches on this date, we may well also get the Apple Watch 5 then too.
New iPhone 11 price: will it still be $1,000?
- iPhone 11 price likely to start around $999 (£999, AU$1,579)
- There could be a new price strategy
The iPhone 11 price is almost certain not to drop this year – especially for the ‘main’ new iPhone. After all, Apple priced both the iPhone XS and iPhone X starting at $999 (£999, AU$1,579) and without a massive change to the design or functionality, a price hike doesn’t seem likely.
With news that Apple isn’t selling as many iPhones as it previously forecast, there’s a chance the iPhone 11 will be priced more affordably – although we reckon a price freeze, rather than a reduction, is a more likely move by Apple.
That said, the new iPhone 11R could be a touch cheaper – depending on the new camera technology. A less-costly iPhone than last year (where the iPhone XR debuted for $749 / $749) could happen if not a lot changes to the hardware… but if Apple goes with the higher-power camera, then the same price is likely to be maintained, in our opinion.
The addition of the iPhone 11 Pro rumor – which, it has to be noted, is based on a single tweet (one that does have some form in getting the naming right of past iPhones) – would suggest a price hike for the phones.
But given analysts are suggesting that the new phones will ‘lack novelty’, we’re not expecting the inflated cost that would bring.
New iPhone, iPhone 11 or iPhone XI?
What will Apple call the iPhone 2019? It’s a tricky one: Apple has backed itself into a corner with the name. Roman numerals could well remain, but how does the iPhone XI follow the iPhone XS?
Apple has been staunch on verbally calling the handsets the ‘iPhone 10’ and ‘iPhone 10-S’. With that in mind, the iPhone XI seems to make the most sense, but then – if the older models remain – there will be an X, an XS and an XI (along with an XR) – and iPhone 11 is easier to understand.
That doesn’t easily point to the best, most-desirable model. So could Apple do what’s been rumored for years and simply go for the ‘new iPhone’ as the ‘main’ XS replacement, and stick with the same iPhone XR name, albeit with a small spec upgrade?
As mentioned, the iPhone Pro could be added to the mix, bringing it into line with its iPads (and indeed MacBooks) in terms of their naming, but we’re rather doubtful of that.
That said, we’ve now seen the names ‘iPhone 11’, ‘iPhone 11 Pro’ and ‘iPhone 11 Pro Max’ listed by a case-maker, so we can’t rule out the ‘Pro’ moniker. iPhone 11 Pro Max seems very unlikely though.
But Apple has already ditched numbered increments for Mac, MacBooks, TV and iPads, so ‘new iPhone’ would be a logical next step – even if iPhone 11 would be the most pleasing thing for consumers looking for the obviously best new phone.
New iPhone 11 design
What will the new iPhone look like? Pretty simple really: from the front, quite similar (according to the leaks we’ve seen). The biggest change will be on the back: a hefty triple-lens camera in a square design.
We’ve included a video from Mobile Fun above, one that shows the best rendering of what most are expecting to see from the iPhone 11 when it launches later this year. You can also see a similar design in a video showing unofficial dummy handsets created based on leaks.
Indeed, roughly that design shows up in most leaks we’re seeing at the moment, with the three camera system being used on the iPhone 11 and 11 Max, with the iPhone 11R still getting the large square bump, but only two lenses.
The square protrusion doesn’t look as attractive as we’re used to seeing on iPhones, but Apple could be springing a surprise to make sure it doesn’t lose too much ground to Samsung, Huawei and Google.
We’ve seen huge improvements to the camera quality there, and while Apple’s iPhones are still superb at taking pictures on the go, extra capability like a wide-angle lens would be something extra and would explain the extra size of the sensors.
An unknown leaker seems to have leaked two phones at the same time: the Galaxy Note10+ and the iPhone XR 2019 in the mirror. pic.twitter.com/QdzBsv8PB0July 31, 2019
Elsewhere, a leaker took a reported photo of the Galaxy Note 10 Plus – but did it with a phone that looked suspiciously like the iPhone 11R, with the double (rather than triple) lens array, according to the placement of the flash.
Whether both are real is up for debate (the quality of the snap isn’t great, and you’d expect better from Apple, even at this early development stage), but it shows in the real world what the design could be like.
In terms of the triple-lens camera, that’s on show with the dummies leaked above. It’s not confirmed but this matches what we’ve heard so far – giving us an early look at the likely iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Max.
Back on the subject of the iPhone 11R, reports suggest that the new phone will be landing in purple and green shades – in addition to the current range of black, white, yellow and red – with coral and blue disappearing – after shards of the new material appeared.
These shards were leaked by respected Apple writer Mark Gurman, who also showed the new iPhone range will have this larger camera protrusion in new case moldings, used by third-party manufacturers to secure your iPhone.
And here’s what appear to be your next-generation iPhone XR colors (lavender purple and green instead of blue and coral) as @idanbo reported earlier this week: https://t.co/KQQ6JKmZg9 pic.twitter.com/7k3WZC2ZUiMay 14, 2019
We’ve elsewhere heard that all three new iPhones might come in black, white, gold and dark green shades, while one source adds that some models might have a subtle ‘rainbow’ finish.
Another leak from CashKaro and OnLeaks, suggest the new iPhones will get a smaller (and more circular) mute button, but that’s hardly going to raise the roof when the new iPhone 11 is announced on stage in September.
Rumors of a frosted-glass back do appear once in a while, but (at best) this is likely to be a small variant and not indicative of the wider iPhone 11’s design style – even if it would help improve wireless charging.
New iPhone 11 display: the same or shifting?
Right: let’s get one thing straight… there’s not going to be a flexible iPhone this year. While we’ve seen patents so far, that’s as far as the rumor mill is cranking about a bendy Apple device – and that makes sense, given how many issues Samsung and Huawei have had with their bending handsets.
So what will the iPhone 11 display look like? Well, the smart money is currently saying that things will remain the same. A rumor has stated that the 5.8-inch display will remain, with the bezels shrinking slightly, although that was an added line to a wider ‘leak’ that the iPhone will have a central camera – which we don’t think will happen.
While some reports say the display size will stay the same size, others think the main iPhone 11 will be larger. We believe that the same 5.8-inch screen will remain on the iPhone 11, as that will be cheaper for Apple to produce than making a whole new size.
Another way to save the cost would be to drop the 3D Touch element of the screen, according to investment bank Barclays (who claim to have spent time with the Asia supply chain). This is the feature that allows you to press harder to open up a new menu. That would be replaced by a more powerful haptic engine that would do… something.
According to 9to5Mac, this is known internally as ‘leap haptics’ and the source code of iOS 13 hints at Haptic Touch, which would replace the smart 3D Touch menus that pop up.
The same confusion over screen size doesn’t seem to reign for the iPhone 11 Max screen, with some suggesting the same-sized display as the iPhone XS Max (at 6.5 inches), but fans will have to wait until 2020 before Apple will increase it to a sizable 6.7 inches.
The best leaks also suggest that Apple will stick with an OLED display for the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Max, with the same (cheaper) LCD screen for the new 11R, which would help keep the cost down and preserve battery life. Though one source adds that the LCD screen on the iPhone 11R will see some improvements, such as better anti-aliasing.
We’ve also heard reports that the two OLED iPhones will use the same display type as the Samsung Galaxy S10 and Samsung Galaxy Note 10. Usually Samsung makes a different screen for Apple, but using this one is no bad thing, as those ranges have some of the best displays around.
However, they might get an upgrade in the form of more protection, with new shatter-resistance technology rumored to be included (potentially both on the front and back glass).
New iPhone 11 camera: the biggest change
As we’ve heavily discussed already, unless all the leaks are fake, the iPhone 11 camera looks pretty likely to pack a larger, more square lens array on the rear of the device.
This is the only real hardware upgrade we’re seeing from Apple this year, with 2019’s iPhone coming with enhanced picture-taking capabilities. Schematics suggest the same thing, and most chassis leaks hint at the same square cut-out portion.
Respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has weighed in to say that one of these lenses might be almost invisible, adding at the same time that the selfie camera will get a boost from 7MP to 12MP.
One source claims that only the iPhone 11 Max will have the three camera array, but that seems rather fanciful when Apple made a big deal in 2018 explaining how the iPhone XS and XS Max were almost identical bar the screen size – we expect three lenses on both the higher-end 11 variants.
What will those lenses be? Well, smart money suggests that there will be three 12MP lenses: one that takes ‘standard’ photos (with decent low-light capabilities), one zoom lens, and a new wide-angle option opening up a new world of photography capabilities.
That source is suggesting that the third lens on the iPhone 11 won’t have optical image stabilization, which would be an interesting move, and that the flash will be even brighter and more useful.
The same source is also stating that the image processor inside will be enhanced, but we’d expect nothing less from a brand that’s likely to push the camera prowess as the main reason to buy the new iPhone range.
Apple’s Neural Engine did bring some impressive boosts to the photo quality of the iPhone XS, so another jump forward could continue the brand’s ability to just take photos that, well, look nice – thanks to intelligent algorithms working out what they’re looking at.
Smart Frame capabilities would add a better way to improve the snaps you’re about to take, but we’re still mostly in the dark about what that would bring at the moment.
Elsewhere, we’ve heard that the iPhone 11 could use ‘new’ 12MP sensors, and will offer improved photography, with the three lenses apparently working in coordination in an RGB mode. One of the lenses is also said to offer a 120-degree field-of-view.
What about the front camera? Well, there we’re going to get an upgraded 10MP sensor (apparently) – but the same suggests that the new iPhone 11 will have 14MP and 10MP sensors on the rear, which seems unlikely. Even still, an upgrade to selfies would be a welcome addition.
A laser-powered 3D camera was also supposedly destined for the new iPhone 11, but it seems more likely that we’ll see that on the iPhone for 2020 (if at all), in a bid to really show off the new iPhone’s augmented reality (AR) capabilities.
Sadly, the notch looks like it will be staying the same size – even though the camera tech is shrinking down, as a source says the notch is staying the same this year. This aligns with rumors that the phone chassis isn’t changing size, so does make sense.
New iPhone 11 battery and features
The iPhone 11 battery was always going to be a source of much debate, with users asking every year for a little more juice coming out of their device. The good news for them is that a couple of nifty tricks might helps things along for the new iPhone in 2019.
One thing we’re not expecting is that the new iPhone will lose the Lightning connector, the Apple-only port that connects to all manner of accessories. Multiple rumors have stated that it might be replaced by USB-C, but it seems (for now) that won’t be the case.
We’ve now heard multiple times that it won’t get USB-C, so don’t expect a change from Lightning.
That said, we could see a compromise here: Apple might finally bundle in the 18W charging block that would see the iPhone charge more quickly. The catch: the USB-A end (the connector most of us think of when imagining a USB lead) would be dropped for a smaller USB-C, allowing for speedier juicing. Another rumor supports this theory, using the same advanced charger that Apple introduced with the iPad Pro (2018) last October.
Having that in the box would be a nice addition to the wireless charging that’s almost certain to continue. That wireless charging would go two ways, meaning you’ll be able to throw the AirPods, in a wireless charging case, onto the back of the iPhone 11 and be able to charge them up on the go.
What about that battery pack? Well, noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that the iPhone 11 will have a battery that’s up to 25% bigger than the current iPhone XS, to allow for this reverse charging without destroying the battery life in a single day.
A rumor has some actual number predictions: the iPhone 11 will pack a 3,200mAh battery (up from an estimated 2,658mAh), the iPhone 11 Max will get 3,500mAh (up from 3,174mAh), and the iPhone 11R will get 3,000mAh (slightly higher than the 2,942mAh of the iPhone XR). But it will be hard to ascertain how true these are given Apple’s reluctance to share the exact capacity of each iPhone.
Huawei and Samsung phones already pack so-called “reverse wireless charging” and it’s been well-marketed as a key selling point – so it makes sense that Apple would want to offer it too.
The iPhone 11 Max might not get as much of an upgrade, but a rumored 15% battery boost would still be a large jump forward compared to the current Max device – and without the device getting thicker, thanks to possible upgrades in the screen tech.
Having said though, elsewhere we’ve heard that the iPhone 11 Max will have a 3,969mAh battery, which really would be quite an upgrade. However, the same source says that charging will still be stuck at a slow 5W, in contrast to the 18W rumor above.
What about some other smaller features? Well, another possible upgrade is that, according to one source at least, Face ID will be improved for the new iPhone 11 range, allowing it to work from wider angles.
As for power, Apple always introduces a new chipset with its new iPhone launches, and the A13 chip is being touted for the iPhone 11, with analysts claiming a manufacturer is lined up to produce the chip.
After Apple made a huge deal about the AI learning capabilities of the A12 Bionic chip, one has to assume the big changes to the new chipset are going to be a big talking point come September this year.
In terms of storage, one source says the range will offer 128GB, 256GB and 512GB capacities, while another points to 64GB, 256GB and 512GB. Either way, 1TB is looking unlikely.
Let’s move onto the more experimental features that may (read: mostly patents and leaks of things that could be possible in smartphones) be seen in the new iPhone 11 – but we think they’re pretty unlikely.
For one: the new iPhones may be easier to use in the rain. A report claims Apple is experimenting with a new tech that allows you to use the phone’s screen underwater.
What’s more, a patent suggests the camera on a future iPhone would be able to tell when you’re underwater and alter settings accordingly, so that underwater photographs look better.
Perhaps the iPhone 11 could have sub-epidermal scanning to be unlocked, in which the front camera would scan the veins and blood vessels in your face using IR to make sure it’s actually you unlocking the phone.
These blood pathways in your face are the most secure way of monitoring who you are – and can’t be fooled in the same way as Face ID theoretically can be.
Another patent meanwhile points to the return of Touch ID, but not as you know it. Rather, the patent talks about a system that would recognize your fingerprint when placed anywhere on the screen.
So it would be an in-screen scanner that works across the whole display, though we’re not convinced Apple will actually use this – lots of weird and wonderful things get patented with nothing coming of them.
For something else a little bit weird, a patent filed by Apple shows a system in which a sensor monitors chemicals in the air, in order to ‘smell’ odors – including body odor. That would be a pretty cool feature for the Apple Watch 5 rather than an iPhone, though.
We’ve also heard that Apple was working on a walkie-talkie-like feature for the phone, which would allow users to send text messages even if there was no signal. However, this has apparently been put on hold, so if we ever see it we probably won’t do this year.
Inside the device we’ve heard talk that the iPhone 11 will include support for the latest Wi-Fi 6 connection standards – though 5G tech will have to wait until the 2020 iPhones.
One other out there rumor about the iPhone 11 is that it could be compatible with the Apple Pencil – but we’ve heard that a number of times and we’re not going to be drawn in to believing such a thing this year – especially not the size of the Apple Pencil we’re seeing right now, which would be be bigger than any iPhone device.
That said, the Pencil could be charged on the rumored new wireless charging rear of the new iPhone – so that does make things seem a touch more believable.
We’ve also seen case renders showing a slot for an Apple Pencil that would be smaller than the current one, so it’s possible Apple will launch a more compact Pencil for use with the iPhone. We still doubt it though.
The iPhone 11 might use new shatter-resistant glass. Plus, an exciting walkie-talkie-like feature has been rumored… but apparently put on hold. And a new video shows off what the iPhone 11 might look like based on rumors.
New iPhone 11: what we want to see
We were mostly impressed with the iPhone XS range last year, but that doesn’t mean they’re perfect – talk to any ardent Android user and they’ll give chapter and verse on why the iPhone isn’t anywhere near as well-spec’d as their device.
That does kind of miss the point of the iPhone – Apple’s never been about the spec, more the usability and overall polish – but there are some things we’d like to see more (or less) of with the iPhone 11 range:
1. No notch (or, at least, a smaller one)
The iPhone X made the smartphone notch a mainstream ‘thing’ – but with the advent of punch-hole cameras and under-screen technology on our phones, the notch needs to go.
While Apple needs that space to chuck in the array of sensors that make Face ID as secure as it is, we want a new solution – and Apple has the means to work out what that is, as well as helping attract a new raft of users.
2. A new design
While the current design of the iPhone XS and XS Max is one of the best out there, we want something new, something more. Apple could make things more sleek, remove more of the physical buttons or even wrap the screen around – a statement can be made with some smart engineering.
Sadly, that doesn’t seem likely to appear until 2020’s iPhone – the new iPhone in 2019 looks destined to stay rather similar to the last two generations’ design.
3. Better battery life
We say this ever year, but the fact remains that iPhones still aren’t the strongest performers when it comes to battery life.
That said, the iPhone XR was one of the longest-lasting devices ever from the Cupertino brand, so let’s see some of the prowess baked into the larger, more expensive iPhones. It’s not easy (damned physics keeps getting in the way) but that doesn’t mean improvements can’t be made.
4. eSIM only
The current iPhones – the XS, XS Max and iPhone XR – all pack an eSim alongside their main, physical card.
While it would be weird at first, Apple has the power to change users’ attitudes to what’s acceptable on a smartphone (think how everyone is now losing the headphone jack) and making the SIM virtual would allow greater freedom to hop between networks and deals at will, rather than being stuck on one contract for too long.
With 5G on the way, that’s going to see a lot more competition for users – and flexibility will be the number one benefit for those wanting a great phone deal.