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Why the latest big 2018 iPhone leak is bad news for Apple fans

Published Jul 6th, 2018 8:51AM EDT
iPhone X Plus Colors
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

There is no question whatsoever that Apple’s upcoming new 2018 iPhone models are the most hotly anticipated smartphones of the year. In fact, there’s really no close second this year. Samsung has some truly exciting new smartphones planned for 2019 like the Galaxy S10 and the new foldable Galaxy X, but the company’s smartphone division basically decided to take 2018 off. The current Galaxy S9 and S9+ are boring rehashes of last year’s S8 phones, so sales have been beyond disappointing as a result. The handsets had their prices slashed at three major US carriers within a month of being released, which is unprecedented, and now they’ve dragged down Samsung’s otherwise impressive second-quarter earnings guidance. Sadly, we’re expecting more of the same from the Galaxy Note 9 set to be unveiled on August 9th.

Google’s upcoming new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL seem like they’re getting a lot of buzz online, and they are. But the hype surrounding upcoming new Pixel phones exists almost entirely online. Pixel handsets are niche phones that aren’t widely marketed or widely distributed, so sales thus far have been quite low.

That leaves Apple’s upcoming 2018 iPhone lineup, which will become the best-selling new smartphone line of the year during its first few weeks of availability alone. Apple is set to release three new iPhone models this September for the first time ever, and Apple fans couldn’t be more excited to finally get their hands on a plus-sized iPhone X. Unfortunately, if the latest leak from the world’s top Apple insider turns out to be true, it’s going to be pretty bad news for all the Apple fans out there hoping to see exciting new iPhones launch later this summer.

To explain why Apple’s 2018 iPhone lineup may wind up being boring, we first have to go back to 2016, which marked a major change to Apple’s iPhone strategy.

Ever since all the way back in 2008, Apple stuck to a strict pattern when it came to new iPhone models. First the company would launch a brand new model featuring a new design, new specs, and new features. Then the following year, Apple would launch an “S” model that sported the same design but still offered new specs and new features. Things continued that way for seven years until 2016, when Apple released the iPhone 6ss and iPhone 6ss Plus. Sorry, we meant the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

Despite sporting a new number in the name, Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus marked Apple’s most boring iPhone update in the history of the company’s smartphone line. They featured the exact same design as their predecessors, but for the second consecutive year. In hindsight it’s understandable that Apple chose to reuse the same design again in 2016 since it wanted to save its big iPhone X redesign for the iPhone’s tenth anniversary, but of course that didn’t make the 7 and 7 Plus any less boring.

So how did Apple get fans to upgrade to these boring new iPhone models after already spending the past two years with iPhones that looked exactly the same? After all, these new iPhone models weren’t like the new model numbered iPhones that came before them, since they had the same exact design and offered no exciting new features whatsoever. First, Apple added a dual-lens camera to the larger iPhone 7 Plus model. Meh, it was neat. Second, it added two new colors to its iPhone lineup, including the Jet Black color with a mirror finish that people loved. Meh, they were neat.

Fast-forward to 2018, and it appears as though we may be in store for a repeat of the iPhone 7.

TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is the most accurate source on the planet when it comes to leaking plans surrounding unreleased Apple products. On Thursday, Kuo sent a new note to clients as well as a few Apple blogs. In it, the analyst revealed for the first time that each of Apple’s three new iPhone models in 2018 will be available in new colors.

According to Kuo’s note, the next-generation 5.8-inch iPhone model and the larger 6.5-inch “iPhone X Plus” will be made available in black (Space Gray), white (Silver), and gold. The new lower-cost 2018 iPhone model that features a similar design with less impressive specs will supposedly be made available in blue, red, and orange in addition to the standard Space Gray and Silver colors.

New color options sound nice, but let’s remember how Apple has used the addition of new iPhone colors in the past. Black and Jet Black were added to the iPhone 7 since the phone was a boring update. The iPhone 5c was released in several different colors because it featured a less attractive design and year-old specs. With those things in mind, it seems that Apple might not be planning to add any exciting new features at all to its upcoming new iPhone lineup. Instead, we can expect a faster iPhone X, a bigger iPhone X, and a cheaper iPhone X with an LCD screen with performance on par with last year’s model.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.