Apple is preparing four new iPhones to be released in the second half of this year that will resemble the current lineup of iPhone 12 models, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of TFI Securities predicted Monday in a note to investors.
The 2021 iPhones could have a smaller notch, the area that houses the Face ID camera system, increasing the phone’s usable screen space. They will also have larger batteries thanks to a new internal space-saving design, improved 5G modems and better cameras, the note said.
Still, Kuo predicted that the 2021 iPhones will be the same size as current phones: a “Mini” device with a 5.4-inch screen, two models with 6.1-inch screens and a “Max” model with a 6.7-inch screen. They will continue to have their own Lightning connector for data and power, Kuo predicted.
Kuo’s latest research suggests that after a year in which Apple shook up its iPhone lineup with new designs, new screen sizes and 5G connectivity, leading to a big boom in sales, this year’s models will ultimately be closer to what used to be called “S” models, with Apple making largely internal changes to its existing lineup.
The 2021 iPhones will be slightly heavier than the iPhone 12 handsets, Kuo said. The 2021 higher-end iPhones – the equivalent of Apple’s current “Pro” models – will continue to include advanced lidar sensors in the camera and will have a display that can refresh twice as fast, at 120Hz, providing a smoother experience.
Kuo is a trusted analyst who often accurately describes unreleased products, focusing on the Asia-based supply chain that makes electronic parts for Apple.
After 2021, Kuo predicted, Apple could move away from a notch on the front screen in favor of a “hole-punch” that contains the camera, as current devices from Samsung and other companies have. Kuo said that Apple could release a redesigned iPhone in 2023 at the earliest with a full screen front and no notch, a fingerprint sensor below the screen and an advanced telephoto camera.
Kuo also suggested that Apple is working on a foldable iPhone, similar to products from companies such as Samsung and Huawei. He said it could launch as early as 2023, but Apple still has technology and mass production issues to work out. Apple could also release low-end iPhones based on existing technology in the spring of 2022 and 2023, the analyst suggested.
Kuo said he does not expect Apple to ditch its current Lightning sensor in favor of a USB-C connector and that he is unsure if and when Apple might begin incorporating a fingerprint sensor into the power button of its phones.
Apple moved away from fingerprint sensors in 2017 in favor of its facial recognition system, FaceID, although a fingerprint sensor works better when the user is wearing a mask.
Top Apple analyst gives overview of what to expect from this year’s new iPhones