With the company’s ugly 2019 iPhone redesign now a stone-cold truth, genuinely surprising news shows Apple is designing a very different iPhone which millions will want.
Popular Chinese site Global Times gives the head-turning news that Apple will launch a new budget-friendly iPhone which drops Face ID in favor of an in-display Touch ID fingerprint sensor. The phone is inclined to launch first in China, but it has the potential to be a global smash.
Little else is known about the iPhone at this stage, but Global Times’ source states the motivation for the phone is to “save on costs” as it battles to win back Chinese market share. In recent years local brands Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo have taken control by mixing cutting-edge designs with prices that really undercut Apple’s iPhones.
The move would make sense. Global Times notes that over 85% of the Chinese market belongs to smartphones priced under 4,000 yuan ($580). Apple used to cover that market with the iPhone SE when it launched at just $399, but the company’s following strategy of filling the gap with iPhones several generations past does not seem to be working. Moreover, Apple has clearly been developing the tech to make such an iPhone happen. Since December, Apple has filed no less than five (1,2,3,4,5) in-display Touch ID patents, including breakdowns with photography and information that exposes the tech has the potential not just to scan your fingerprint but 3D model it.
Given the news is a shock, it’s smart to exercise caution and there’s no date attached to the device’s launch. That stated, insiders have already stated in-display Touch ID will return to 2020 iPhones alongside Face ID. Touch ID has also already started its renewal by coming to the Macbook Pro and MacBook Air.
Wanting something to happen and it is really happening are two very different things. And with 2019 now clearly the wrong year to upgrade your iPhone, there’s no harm in waiting to see how this one moves out.