Analyst Predicts 2019 iPhone May Feature In-Display Touch ID, USB-C, and a Smaller Notch

iPhone Xs Max front

Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, says some changes are coming to help boost iPhone upgrades/sales, spurred on by an expected weak first fiscal quarter of 2019.

The question is, of course, will any of those changes actually result in more iPhone upgrades and sales? Only time will give us the answer to that. However, until we see what’s coming from the iPhone lineup later this year, it’s certainly fun to speculate. Apple could very well drop the price of its most expensive iPhones and that would certainly help! But, what about a few key hardware changes? And maybe even the return of one of the company’s most favored features?

That’s what one analyst believes is going to happen. Vice President and Principal Analyst at Atherton Research, Jean Baptiste Su, has weighed in on what’s coming from Apple later this year, and suggests that Apple will indeed make some big changes. According to Baptiste Su, at least one of the new 2019 iPhone models is going to drop the Lightning port and adopt USB-C — what we saw Apple do with the iPad Pro in late 2018. What’s more, that same model of iPhone will apparently also adopt a smaller notch compared to what we have now in the iPhone XS, XS Max, and iPhone XR. And if that’s not enough? The new phone will also have an in-display fingerprint reader.

Yes, that means Apple apparently plans on bringing back Touch ID.

“Although we believe that Apple will release a re-designed iPhone X in 2019—with a smaller notch, a fingerprint reader (Touch ID) under the display, and a USB-C port—it will still lack the extensibility (memory card), the battery life, the lightning-fast charging capability, and the camera quality of Android flagship smartphones while being more expensive.”

(So the analyst is basically saying, “Yes, Apple’s gonna make some great changes. But it still won’t compare to (cheaper) Android devices. Let me know what you think of that in the comments.)

There is absolutely no way of knowing if any, or even part, of this expectation is going to be true. It’s easy to say that these changes are a direct response to what Apple sees is an obvious plateauing of the iPhone (and smartphones in general), but these aren’t minor changes. If Apple is finally going to switch to USB-C for the iPhone, then this has been a long time coming — and the 2018 iPad Pro was obvious foreshadowing of this change.

A smaller notch? Well, we heard about Apple using a smaller notch, specifically in the 2019 lineup in fact, back in March of last year. This specific change has always felt inevitable, simply because Face ID was always going to get better on a technological level and no longer rely on such a big housing area. Apple envisions the iPhone as a window to content and the notch cuts into that, so the company’s goal of reducing its real estate makes sense.

And then there’s the resurgence of Touch ID. Is it possible that Apple brings this back? Sure. And the believability of this particular part of the rumor really comes down to where you stand on Apple’s removal of the biometric security measure in the first place. There were rumors that Apple used Face ID in the original iPhone X because it couldn’t get an in-display fingerprint sensor it was happy enough with, and what it felt was good enough for iPhone owners out there in the wild.

However, Apple executives have gone on the record as saying that Face ID was always the plan once the ball got rolling on that particular feature, and that it was never the company’s plan to utilize Touch ID and Face ID in a single device. Let’s be clear: Both of these things can be true, because it’s perfectly possible Apple didn’t plan on using both features in a single phone because it wasn’t happy with the in-display fingerprint technology at the time.

But now it’s 2019 and Apple may change its tune in that regard because the technology is better (and more devices have it out there in the wild, and it seems to be generally well received).

Still, this rumor seems middle-of-the-road across the board. It’s not necessarily too extreme, and yet just believable enough that if it pans out, well, great.

What do you think? Is Apple going to launch an iPhone this year with all of these features baked in? If they do, would you buy it?

[via MacRumors; Forbes]