We expect Apple to launch three new iPhone X-style handsets at an event on Wednesday 12 September, including a larger iPhone X Plus and a chextaper iPhone X-style handset. Here we will look specifically at the cheaper model – thought to be called the iPhone XC.
We look in more detail at all the new iPhone handsets Apple is expected to launch in September 2018 in our iPhone XS 2018 article, and we discuss the future of the iPhone SE here, for those hoping for an update to the smaller, cheaper iPhone.
According to China Mobile, via Macotakara, the name for the 6.1in LCD iPhone X -style handset will be iPhone XC.
However, a Bloomberg report suggests Apple has considered calling the LCD handset the iPhone Xr, according to their source. According to Bloomberg the codename for the cheaper 6in iPhone was the N84.
We think it’s unlikely that Apple will revive the iPhone SE with an X designator for obvious reasons.
Another possibility is that this iPhone will be called the iPhone 9 – as a successor to the 8.
Apple will reveal more about the iPhone XC handset (if that’s its name) at an event on Wednesday 12 September. During the Apple keynote Apple is likely to confirm when the new handset will go on sale (find out how to watch the iPhone event here). Read about the other products we expect Apple to announce in September (and October) here.
Based on the date of the 2017 event and when the iPhone X went on sale we could assume that the new handsets will start to ship on Friday 21 or 28 September.
However, this cheaper LCD model may not ship until later. It appears that Apple has encountered a few issues with light leakage in the iPhone XC, ad it may ship around a month after the other new handsets.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the 6.1in model will be available “slightly later due to its production schedule”, while Katy Huberty of Morgan Stanley said: “Suspected issues with LED backlight leakage have caused a 1-month delay in mass production of the 6.1in LCD iPhone,” according to this Barrons report.
A later launch for the third handset wouldn’t be unusual. In 2017 the iPhone X launched a month after the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, arriving on 3 November having been announced on 12 September.
If you were hoping that this new handset would have a low price you’ll likely be disappointed. The iPhone XC does not appear to be a replacement for the iPhone SE in terms of the price-point of that handset.
However, the iPhone XC will come in at a lower price than the iPhone X did at launch. According to analyst TF International Securities Ming-Chi Kuo back in June, Apple will be offering a “more aggressive” pricing strategy this year.
Kuo expects that the iPhone XC will be priced around $600-$700 (probably around £600-£700 based on Apple’s usual conversion).
For comparison, the iPhone SE currently starts at $349/£349, while the iPhone 6s is still available from $449/£449. It’s likely that Apple will continue to offer a handset at this lower price, it just won’t be a new model. Potentially the iPhone 7 will become Apple’s entry level handset now.
It’s thought that the iPhone XC will be a larger handset than the iPhone X is currently. The screen is expected to be 6.1in compared to the 5.8in screen on the iPhone X (and XS). The iPhone XS Plus is expected to have an even larger screen at 6.5in.
However, the iPhone XC handset may be a similar size to the Plus-sized iPhone – with the flagship phone having smaller bezels to accommodate its larger screen.
Speaking of the screen, the other key differentiator between the iPhone XS Plus and the iPhone XC is that the cheaper model will have an LCD screen rather than an OLED. This is one way that Apple has been able to reduce the cost of that handset.
For this reason this iPhone has often been referred to as the LCD iPhone in the various rumours about the handset.
The iPhone XC will apparently use Face ID so you can expect there to be no Home button on the new handset and the signature notch as seen on the iPhone X.
All three new phones will have slimmer bezels than the iPhone 8 models – but it sounds like the iPhone XC will have slightly larger bezels than the more expensive handsets.
Where the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Plus are expected to have a glass back like the iPhone X did, there are rumours that the iPhone XC will have a metal back – if that is true then it may mean that the cheaper handset cannot be charged wirelessly, which we think is unlikely.
It sounds like the new iPhone XC will be available in at least three colours – judging by a supposedly leaked image that appeared on Slashleaks you can expect a red, white and blue model.
However, that image isn’t verified so it may be a fake.
Another supposed leak that is also likely fake, was a screen grab of a webpage that gave the option of four finishes for the iPhone 9 – Space Grey, Red, Spicy Orange, and Cobalt Blue. This supposed leak also appeared on Slashleaks. We think it is very unlikely that Apple would choose Spicy Orange as an option because we don’t believe it was a particularly popular colour when it was a finish available for the iPod shuffle and iPod nano. As for Cobalt Blue, it’s unlikely Apple would choose a name that might bring up concerns about cobalt mining.
In July respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo made some colour predictions for the LCD iPhone. He claimed that the new entry-level 6.1-inch LCD iPhone will debut in “grey, white, blue, red and orange”, so maybe orange will be an option.
While it’s likely the iPhone XS and XS Plus will feature the new A12 chip – the successor to the A11 Bionic in the iPhones 8 and X, it’s less clear what processor the iPhone XC will have.
Code in Apple’s XCode developer software seems to hint that a new iPhone that shares specs with the iPhone 7 may be in the pipeline.
Guilherme Rambo of 9to5Mac pointed to the code in a 22 August tweet, noting that a device with an A10 processor (as seen in the iPhone 7) is listed. We don’t think that processor will be used in the new iPhone XC though. If this is a new handset it may be evidence that Apple will be updating the iPhone SE with a newer processor. (Read more about the iPhone SE 2 here).
T500 / iPhone 9,7 – iPhone 7 replacement (“iPhone SE2”)
N84 / iPhone 11,1 – 6.1″ LCD (notch, Face ID, dual sim option)
D3x / iPhone 11,3 – 5.8″ OLED (notch, Face ID)
D3x / iPhone 11,5 – 6.5″ OLED (notch, Face ID)
— Guilherme Rambo (@_inside) August 22, 2018
Rather, we think that the iPhone XC will have the same processor as the iPhone X does. We think that Apple may repackage the iPhone X – so we could see the same specs as that handset has in a case made from cheaper materials, just as Apple did with the iPhone 5c.
This would mean the new handset might have 3GB Ram (the other new handsets are rumoured to have 4GB RAM).
In terms of storage, we’d expect to see a 64GB and 256GB model, although potentially Apple could limit options to 32GB and 128GB.
As we said above, all three new handsets are expected to use Face ID rather than Touch ID for identification and security, so don’t expect to see a Home button on the new iPhones.
If you are a fan of Touch ID you might have been hoping that Apple would find a way to incorporate a Touch ID sensor into the glass screen of the phone, but it looks like that has been too technically challenging, plus Apple appears to have put its trust in Face ID as a means of unlocking the phone and identifying the user. The Face ID camera has other uses that will no doubt be used for AI and other applications.
And of course it means that Animoji and Memoji will be available on all three new handsets.
There have been rumours that the new iPhones will support the Apple Pencil. However, an Economic Daily News report in August 2018 claimed that the feature would be limited to the more expensive OLED models. And then, at the end of August, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that the new iPhone models won’t support Apple Pencil after all.