Despite the fact that we still have nearly five months left to wait before Apple releases its next-generation iPhone 11 series smartphones, the pace of leaks has really picked up in recent weeks. The iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Max, and iPhone 11R (or whatever Apple ends up calling it) were shaping up to be boring updates a few short months ago, but more recent reports suggest that Apple is cooking up far more new features and upgrades than we had previously thought.
Notes over the past month from the world’s top Apple insider, TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, have revealed a number of big upgrades coming to this year’s iPhone 11 lineup. According to Kuo, the iPhone 11R will be bumped up to a dual-lens rear camera, while the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Max will both get huge camera upgrades, including a new triple-lens array. Kuo also says they’ll have new frosted glass backs, and we might even have a new finish to look forward to.
In terms of hardware, it looks like 2019’s iPhone 11 will follow the same path as 2016’s iPhone 7 series; the phones will look the same as their predecessors for the most part, but they’ll pack huge performance improvements and a bunch of exciting new features. Those of us who follow the industry closely will immediately recall that the holiday quarter following the iPhone 7’s release remains Apple’s biggest quarter ever for iPhone sales. A whopping 78.29 million iPhones were sold in that three-month period, proving that iPhones can still drum up a ton of buzz despite modest design changes. But while the visual design changes on this year’s iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Max will indeed be modest, a new leak reminds that Apple’s attention to detail remains unrivaled in the smartphone industry.
It wasn’t very long ago that a massive gap existed between iPhones and every other smartphone out there. Where design, build quality, and premium materials were concerned, nothing else on the market even came close. Android smartphones from vendors like Samsung and LG felt cheap and plasticky because, well, they were made out of cheap plastic. If you wanted a flagship smartphone that looked and felt like a flagship smartphone, you bought an iPhone.
Needless to say, this is no longer the case. Samsung and other Android phone makers have invested a tremendous amount of effort and resources into building flagship phones that are on par with Apple’s iPhone handsets. In 2019, even small Chinese smartphone vendors that most people in the US have never heard of build sleek flagship phones made of glass and metal. There is absolutely no question that the gap between the iPhone and flagship Android phones has narrowed — but it’s still there.
We’ve seen Apple’s 2019 iPhone designs leak a few times now. In fact just yesterday a Japanese blog posted a video that shows physical mockups of the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Max side by side. The video gives us a very good idea of what Apple’s next-generation iPhones will look like in real life when they’re released in September, but 3D printed mockups obviously don’t feature the refinement we can expect from Apple’s actual handsets.
That brings us to a fresh new leak from Thursday morning. Twitter use @OnLeaks is known for getting his hands on files from Foxconn servers and using them to create renders of unreleased smartphones. The iPhone 11 has been been rendered before in the past, but @OnLeaks apparently received updated information recently because a new set of renders was just released with a number of key changes compared to the ones we saw earlier this year.
The new iPhone 11 renders from @OnLeaks were posted on some website called Cashkaro, and they likely give us a very good idea of what to expect when Apple announces the iPhone 11 in the late summer. The square triple-lens rear camera array is where you should focus your attention, because that’s where you’ll find the biggest changes compared to earlier renders.
The holes cut out above the camera lenses are much larger than they had been previously, but the camera bump itself is where your attention should be directed. First off, it looks a bit thinner than it has in previous renders. But more importantly — and more impressively — the camera bump on the iPhone 11 is apparently made entirely of glass. In fact, @OnLeaks tweeted that the entire back of the phone is a single piece of molded glass, camera bump included.
Earlier iPhones will glass backs like the iPhone X and iPhone XS have metal inserts to house the rear camera, and those designs are far easier to manufacture. Of course Apple has never shied away from a challenge when it comes to manufacturing, and that’s why it’s still the only smartphone maker that uses a brilliant but expensive engineering trick to almost completely eliminate the bottom “chin” bezel beneath its iPhone displays.
Most people probably won’t even notice the difference if they upgrade from an iPhone X to the iPhone 11 later this year. But those of us who appreciate design know that many small details like this add up to a device with a fit and finish like no other.