Still, this year’s iPhone launch is significant. It is expected to include the first major exterior redesign since 2017, when Apple released the iPhone X with facial recognition. This year’s models will feature iPad-like edges with flatter sides, compared with the gently curving sides of the current iPhones.
Apple is also expected to release four separate iPhones at different screen sizes and prices — a much wider range of devices than in the past. Finally, at least some new iPhones will support 5G cellular networks, which promise faster download times (although the networks aren’t fully built out yet in the U.S., which could disappoint some users.)
The last time Apple made such big changes to the iPhone was 2014, when the iPhone 6 came out with bigger screens and two different sizes. That prompted a major upgrade cycle — a so-called “super-cycle” — with over 231 million iPhones sold in the next four quarters. That remained the annual unit sales record until Apple stopped reporting unit sales in 2018.
So this year’s changes have investors and analysts predicting a big upgrade cycle that will make Apple an even more valuable company.
Morgan Stanley analysts are expecting an iPhone lineup of 4 new devices, including:
– iPhone 12 Mini, a new device with a 5.4-inch screen. This would be the smallest iPhone since the company debuted full-screen versions (with no blank space at the edges) in 2017, and will probably about the same size as the iPhone 6.
– iPhone 12, the standard edition with a 6.1-inch screen, the same size as today’s.
– iPhone 12 Pro, also with a 6.1-inch screen but higher specs.
– Phone 12 Pro Max, which would have the largest screen ever at 6.7 inches (today’s iPhone 11 Pro Max tops out at 6.5 inches)
Morgan Stanley’s expectations are based on information from Apple’s supply chain of manufacturers in China. That means the actual names, which are controlled by Apple product marketing in California, may end up being different. The phones are expected to be visually different from past years’ models, giving users another reason to upgrade. Apple’s tagline for the event is “Hi Speed,” a reference to the faster cellular speeds promised by 5G phones.