Expect Many More iPhone Variants in The Next 2 Years, Including a Port-Less One
December 7, 2019 Andrew Cheng

Over the years, the number of iPhones introduced by Apple in every new cycle are growing bit by bit. Back in 2012, potential iPhone buyers only had one new option to consider, the iPhone 5. In contrast, you’ve got as many as three new models to choose from this year: the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max.

It’s a sound marketing strategy, of course. By offering more variants of the iPhone in different price segments, the amount of potential buyers will grow too, increasing the number of iPhones the company can sell. Well, in the next two years, Apple is expected to push this strategy even further – there’s even plan for a completely port-less iPhone.

According to prominent Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo’s new research note, 2020 will see the release of not three, but five new variants of the iPhone; that’s quite a big number. Kuo said that for the first half of 2020, Apple will introduce a successor to the iPhone SE, tentatively dubbed iPhone SE 2 or even iPhone 9.

Just like the original iPhone SE – it was basically an upgraded iPhone 5s – it appears the iPhone SE 2 will be modeled after an existing iPhone, the iPhone 8. That means it will still use an LCD panel, along with a relatively compact form factor. After all, the iPhone 8 only had a 4.7-inch display.

Things get a lot more hectic come Apple’s annual iPhone launch in 2020, which typically take place sometime in September. Kuo expect Apple to unveil as many as four different iPhones at the launch event. All four models will supposedly come with OLED displays, and unsurprisingly, 5G connectivity is set to be offered with these iPhones too.

What differentiates these four iPhones are said to be the display size and camera configuration. There will be a compact 5.4-inch model with a dual camera system, along with a 6.1-inch variant with a similar camera setup. Chances are, the dual camera system could offer a wide angle sensor and a standard shooter, just like the iPhone 11’s two rear cameras.

Kuo elaborated that there would also be a higher-end 6.1-inch iPhone and a 6.7-inch model with a more sophisticated triple camera configuration with a time-of-flight (ToF) sensor to capture 3D information.

Curiously, Kuo said that the four new iPhones launching in late 2020 will apparently take design cues from a pretty old device: the iPhone 4. It’ll be interesting to see just how Apple will modernise the design language of the iPhone 4 for its 10th anniversary next year.

Looking further forward in 2021, Kuo only mentioned two iPhones for that year. Just like how the iPhone SE 2 (or iPhone 9) is expected to be released in the first half of 2020, a followup to that particular device will reportedly be introduced in the same period in 2021. What will it be called? The iPhone SE 2 Plus.

Given the “Plus” in the moniker, the iPhone SE 2 Plus is expected to feature a larger display than its predecessor; Kuo believe that it will either come with a 5.5-inch or 6.1-inch screen. On top of that, it will also feature an all-screen design without a home button.

Apparently, there won’t be Face ID authentication for the iPhone SE 2 Plus. Kuo’s research note said that the upcoming iPhone will supposedly have Touch ID integrated into the power button itself on the side of the phone. If this turns out to be accurate, we imagine some folks will be happy to see the return of a physical fingerprint sensor on an iPhone.

Finally but certainly not least is the 2021 flagship iPhone, which Kuo predict will finally do away with the Lightning port…quite literally. According to the analyst, Apple isn’t replacing the Lightning connection with a different standard; it’s simply removing it, making for a port-less iPhone.

This, in turn, would “provide the completely wireless experience,” Kuo said. Whether it’s charging or transferring files to a computer, everything will be done wirelessly, for better or worse. Kuo then elaborated that Apple is only planning to remove the Lightning port from the “highest-end model” first, so not all iPhones in 2021 will be port-less.

While Kuo’s research note gives us a glimpse of Apple’s plans for the iPhone in the next two years, it is still too early to say for sure if this is truly Apple’s future strategy. Kuo may be one of the most prominent Apple analysts in the industry – and he has a good reputation for predicting Apple’s plans – but the Cupertino company still has plenty of time to make changes between now and then.

Nonetheless, the next two years is shaping up to be an exciting time for the iPhone. Hopefully, we’ll see some innovation from Apple with the next iterations of the iPhone – it could be the most diverse lineup yet.