Barclays: iPhone 12 Models Will Have ‘Refreshed’ Face ID System, Lightning Connector Could Be Dropped in 2021

iPhone 12 models will feature a "refreshed" front-facing TrueDepth system that benefits Apple supplier Lite-On Semiconductor, according to Barclays analysts Blayne Curtis, Thomas O'Malley, and Baylie Harri. This suggests that Face ID could be improved on iPhone 12 models, but no specific details were provided.


In a research note provided to MacRumors, the analysts added that the rear-facing camera system on iPhone 12 Pro models will feature 3D sensing based on a time-of-flight solution, as widely rumored. They also expect iPhone 12 Pro models to be equipped with 6GB of RAM, up from 4GB in iPhone 11 Pro models.

The biggest change of all could come next year, as the analysts said they see potential for Apple to remove the Lightning connector from at least one iPhone model in 2021, echoing a prediction shared by fellow analyst Ming-Chi Kuo last month. This could result in wired EarPods being removed from the box, they said.

Kuo has said that Apple plans to release five new iPhone models in 2020, including a lower-end "iPhone SE 2" or "iPhone 9" by the end of March and four higher-end, 5G-enabled models in the fall.

Related Roundup: iPhone 12

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Barclays: iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max Will Likely Have 6GB of RAM, iPhone SE 2 Production to Begin February

Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis and his associates recently traveled to Asia to meet with manufacturers within Apple's supply chain, and today they shared their expectations for 2020 iPhones based on information they gathered.

In a research note viewed by MacRumors, the Barclays analysts said the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max will likely have 6GB of RAM, up from 4GB in the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. They also expect both models to feature rear-facing 3D sensing and mmWave support for higher-performance 5G.


The base model iPhone 12 is expected to have 4GB of RAM, equal to the iPhone 11. While the iPhone 12 is also expected to be 5G enabled, the analysts did not indicate whether the device will support mmWave, sub-6GHz, or both.

Last, the analysts indicated that the so-called "iPhone SE 2" is still in the pipeline, with production apparently set to begin in February. The lower-cost device is expected to resemble the iPhone 8, including a 4.7-inch display and Touch ID home button, but with a faster A13 chip and 3GB of RAM.

iPhone 12 models will likely be introduced in September as usual, while the new lower-cost iPhone is expected around March.

Barclays has proven to be a largely reliable source of information.

Related Roundups: iPhone SE 2, iPhone 12

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LG Expected to Share OLED Display Orders for 2019 iPhones, Possibly Followed by BOE as Early as 2020

Samsung is believed to be Apple's exclusive supplier of OLED displays for iPhones, but it may have company soon.


In a research note shared with MacRumors, Barclays analysts said fellow Korean company LG will likely support OLED display production for 2019 iPhones, possibly followed by Chinese manufacturer BOE as early as 2020.

Multiple reports have indicated that Apple may tap LG and BOE as additional OLED display suppliers. Apple aims to diversify its supply chain as much as possible, often securing at least two suppliers for any given component, a strategy that reduces its supply chain risk and improves its negotiating position.

Apple is widely expected to launch three new iPhones in 2019, including two higher-end 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch OLED models and one lower-end 6.1-inch LCD model. In 2020, rumors suggest Apple will complete its transition to an all-OLED lineup, including 5.4-inch, 6.1-inch, and 6.7-inch models.

Related Roundup: 2019 iPhones

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2020 iPhones May Have Full-Screen Touch ID, New iPhone SE Based on iPhone 8 Also Possible Next Year

Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis and his associates today shared their expectations for both 2019 and 2020 model iPhones following their trip to Asia earlier this month, where they met with some suppliers within Apple's supply chain.

MacRumors render of 2019 iPhones with triple-lens rear cameras

Our summary of the research note, shared with MacRumors:Other rumors have suggested that 2019 iPhones will feature frosted glass casing, larger batteries, and a bilateral charging feature that allows users to charge AirPods or an Apple Watch by placing them on the back of the iPhone.

Apple will likely unveil its latest iPhones in September as usual at Steve Jobs Theater.

Related Roundup: 2019 iPhones

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Qualcomm ‘Running Out’ of Time to Win 5G Modem Orders in 2020 iPhones Amid Legal Battle With Apple

Qualcomm may be running out of time if it wants to supply Apple with 5G modems for its 2020 iPhones as some rumors suggest.


In a research note today, analysts at investment bank Barclays said that while they originally thought Qualcomm had an opportunity to supply the 5G modems to Apple, they now believe that time "seems to be running out" unless the two companies can settle their bitter legal battle in the next few weeks.

Back in November, it was reported that Apple will tap Intel as its 5G modem supplier instead, but Barclays analysts believe that the modem design for 2020 iPhones "needs to be set now," and that the expected late 2019 availability of Intel's first consumer 5G modem "does not work with Apple's timeline."

Apple recently testified that it held conversations with Samsung and MediaTek as potential alternative suppliers, but it's unclear if those companies would be able to meet Apple's production, quality, and cost demands.

Apple is also reportedly working on its own cellular modems, but research and development appears to be in the early stages.

Last week, Intel confirmed that it expects the first consumer products embedded with its 5G chips to be released in 2020, the same year Apple is rumored to release its first 5G-enabled iPhone, enabling faster data speeds.


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Barclays Believes There’s Still a ‘Good Chance’ Apple Will Have to Use Qualcomm 5G Modems in 2020 iPhones

While recent reports have suggested Intel will supply Apple with 5G modems for 2020 iPhones, the chipmaker has struggled with its consumer 5G modems, to the extent that Apple has allegedly "been unhappy" with Intel's progress.


Despite its apparent displeasure with Intel, a report in November claimed that Apple had not considered reopening conversations with Qualcomm about supplying 5G modems for 2020 iPhones. Instead, the report said Apple has held conversations with chipmaker MediaTek about 5G modems should Intel fail to deliver.

In a research note obtained by MacRumors today, however, analysts at investment bank Barclays said they "still believe there is a good chance Apple will have to use Qualcomm for the 5G modem in their 2020 phones." They also believe such a deal may result in the two companies settling their ongoing lawsuit.

It's a bold claim, as Apple and Qualcomm are engaged in a bitter legal battle around the world. The saga began in 2017 when Apple sued Qualcomm over anticompetitive business practices related to royalties. Qualcomm has denied the allegations and says the iPhone wouldn't exist without its innovations.

Apple COO Jeff Williams recently testified that Qualcomm has been unwilling to provide Apple with any new wireless chips since the legal battle began, with each company seemingly trying to gain the upper hand on the other. As of now, neither company appears willing to back down.

Qualcomm is widely considered to be leading the industry with its 5G efforts though, and there's a good chance its 5G modems will outperform similar offerings from Intel, so perhaps the two companies will find a way to settle their differences.


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Next-Generation iPhone XR Said to Feature 4×4 MIMO Antenna Design Enabling Faster Data Speeds

The next-generation iPhone XR will feature a 4x4 MIMO antenna design, according to a Barclays research note obtained by MacRumors.


4x4 MIMO, short for multiple-input, multiple-output, has the potential to significantly improve LTE transmission by increasing the number of data paths between cellular towers and a mobile device to four. Simply put, the next iPhone XR would feature four antennas, allowing for faster data speeds.

iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max models feature Gigabit-class LTE with a 4x4 MIMO antenna design, while the current iPhone XR supports 2x2 MIMO.

A few months ago, PC Magazine reported that the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max have "significantly better" LTE performance than the iPhone XR based on testing conducted by Cellular Insights and Rohde & Schwarz. The difference was especially noticeable in weak signal conditions, the results indicated.

Of course, regardless of how many antennas an iPhone has, data speeds can be affected by factors such as network congestion, distance from the tower, physical obstructions, environmental conditions, and interference.

Related Roundup: iPhone XR
Buyer's Guide: iPhone XR (Buy Now)

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Barclays: All 2019 iPhones May Lack 3D Touch, New AirPods and Lower-Priced HomePod to Launch Next Year

Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis and his associates traveled across Asia last week to meet with companies within Apple's supply chain. Today, they shared new predictions based on the information they gathered.


Highlights from their research note to investors, obtained by MacRumors:
  • Barclays says it's "widely understood" that 3D Touch will be removed from iPhones with OLED displays in 2019—aka the third-generation iPhone X and second-generation "iPhone X Plus." However, they caution that the plans aren't finalized yet, so they could change.

Earlier this year, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said 3D Touch won't be a feature on the rumored 6.1-inch iPhone with an LCD, part of the upcoming 2018 lineup. So, by the sound of it, 3D Touch won't be a feature on any 2019 iPhones, assuming Apple sticks with the same three models expected in 2018.

While the lack of 3D Touch on the 6.1-inch iPhone would make sense, given expectations that it will essentially be a budget iPhone X, it's not entirely clear why it may be removed from the more expensive OLED models next year. As a somewhat hidden feature, perhaps Apple no longer finds it essential.
  • "AirPod 2" will launch in the fourth quarter of 2019. Meanwhile, an optional wireless charging case for the original AirPods, and Apple's new AirPower charging mat, will be available this September.

This prediction is rather confusing, as back in February, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman said Apple will release new AirPods with a new wireless chip and "Hey Siri" support as early as this year. Gurman also said a subsequent pair of AirPods with water resistance would be released as early as next year.

One possibility is that Apple will add "Hey Siri" support to the existing AirPods this fall by way of a software update, without a new wireless chip, but it's unclear if the current W1 chip can support the feature. In that case, Apple might elect to continue referring to them as first-generation AirPods.

In that scenario, the "AirPods 2" that Barclays is referring to could be the water-resistant pair that Gurman also believes could launch in 2019. However, this is admittedly a bit of a stretch, so it remains to be seen.
  • Barclays expects the launch of a "cheaper HomePod in 2019," with "broader appeal." The analysts say HomePod sales continue to "underwhelm," with less than five million sold since it launched in January.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, along with some Chinese publications, have also claimed that Apple has considered a lower-priced HomePod. One rumor suggested that it could be a Siri-enabled Beats speaker priced around $149 to $199.
  • Barclays says it "does see the potential for the new iPhones to support pen input," without naming the Apple Pencil specifically.

Taiwanese research firm TrendForce predicted that the higher-end 2018 iPhones will be compatible with the Apple Pencil.

Related Roundups: HomePod, 2018 iPhones, AirPods

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More Evidence Emerges to Suggest 2018 iPhones Won’t Be Bundled With Lightning to Headphone Jack Adapter

It has been nearly two years since Apple released the iPhone 7 without a headphone jack, forcing users who still use wired headphones to plug them into the Lightning connector using an adapter included in the box.

Apple also includes the adapter in the box with the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, but more evidence has emerged today that suggests that trend will soon end.

Cirrus Logic, a supplier for the adapter, has apparently "confirmed" that the dongle won't be bundled with Apple's widely rumored trio of new iPhones expected next month, according to a Barclays research note.

Barclays already anticipated this would be the case earlier this year.

"Reported a beat but gave mixed guidance with revenue below but earnings ahead. Cirrus didn't update its FY19 guide… but they did finally confirm the dongle loss, adding more support for our below estimates," the research note reads.

Apple routinely says it is pushing towards a "truly wireless future," and the headphone jack adapter has always been a stopgap amid that transition, so if Apple chooses not to include it in the box, it shouldn't really come as a surprise. Rumors suggest new iPads will also lose the headphone jack and adapter.

Not everyone prefers wireless headphones, like AirPods, however, so if true, the removal of the adapter will almost certainly generate some controversy.

Apple will likely continue to sell the adapter as a standalone accessory for $9, which is cheap by its standards, so customers at least won't be forced to pay too much extra for the adapter if it is indeed removed from the box this year.

The adapter is also available at resellers such as Best Buy, where nearly two years later, it is the retailer's second-best selling Apple product in terms of units, so an argument could be made that Apple is removing the adapter too soon.

In a little over a month, we should find out for sure.


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Barclays Predicts 2018 iPhones Won’t Come Bundled With Lightning to Headphone Jack Adapter

Apple's widely rumored trio of new iPhone models expected to launch in September might not include a Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter in the box, according to Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis and his associates.


"We currently model no dongle this year," the analysts predicted, in a research note obtained by MacRumors today.

Cirrus Logic would be the primary loser within Apple's supply chain, as a supplier of audio-related components inside of the adapter. Barclays has lowered its quarterly and yearly revenue guidance for the company by up to five percent, for the time being, but that could change if they hear otherwise.

At this point, it appears that the Barclays analysts are merely guessing that the adapter will no longer be bundled, as in previous research notes, they have mentioned it may take until May or June to find out for certain.

Barclays does have some credibility in this area, as last year, the investment bank accurately predicted that Apple would continue to include the adapter in the box alongside the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. The analysts routinely visit with Apple's supply chain partners in Asia to gather information like this.

"We believe it stays this year but goes away at some point, potentially in the 2018 model," the analysts said back in April 2017.

Apple eliminating the headphone jack starting with the iPhone 7 was a controversial decision, but the adapter has at least helped ease the transition. Its inclusion has always felt temporary, and as AirPods and other wireless headphone become more widespread, Apple may no longer feel the need to bundle the dongle.

Apple still sells the Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter for $9 as a standalone accessory, which is cheap by its standards, so customers that prefer to use wired headphones won't be forced to pay too much extra whether the adapter is removed from the iPhone box this year or at a later time.



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