With Apple's new iPhone 11 launch date likely landing in September, we're already starting to get a strong idea of what the phone will bring and how it might look, based on a number of leaks onto the internet.
If you're entirely new to the new iPhone 2019 rumor mill, then let's get one fact out of the way first: all the leaks point to another incremental upgrade. We've been sifting through iPhone rumors for over a decade now, and nothing is telling us that we're going to see anything truly revolutionary with 2019's iPhone.
Yep, that means the same shape and display size but with faster innards and a (likely) enhanced camera. Things like 5G, massively refreshed screen technology and a move away from the Lightning connector won't be here until at least 2020.
The other option is that this year we might get the iPhone 11 'Pro', which would be something of a switch up for Apple. However, we currently see this as rather unlikely given the fact we're not expecting big changes for the iPhone design this year, and the addition of 'pro' elements would suggest that there would at least be some overhaul in the mix.
What we do know is that the new iPhone 11 will be the poster-child for iOS 13, and we're pretty certain that we'll be seeing the iPhone 11, iPhone 11R and iPhone 11 Max… what Apple is going to call them remains a mystery though, with there being no obvious next step to the iPhone XS. The iPhone Pro is another name that's been mooted.
The main change will be that camera upgrade – we're now fully expecting three sensors on the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Max, and just two on the iPhone 11R – but with enhanced capabilities on each model.
What is of more interest is whether Apple will be pushing the iPhone 11R (if it indeed it does call it that) as that's the phone that's most prominently featured on its homepage – suggesting the cheaper phone could almost be the star of the show this year.
There will reportedly be some smart features added for charging, and Apple might finally have added in something users have been crying out for – read on to find out the full rundown of what TechRadar's iPhone experts expect to see for the new iPhone in 2019.
We've rounded the key iPhone 11 leaks in a little video just for you, to give a quick overview of what you may be able to expect later this year.
New iPhone 11 release date
Like every year, we've been doing some sleuthing around the possible iPhone 11 release date, and we think we've got a pretty good idea around what's coming:
- iPhone 11 launch date: September 10, 2019
- iPhone 11 pre-order date: September 13, 2019
- iPhone 11 release date: September 20, 2019
Apple hasn't held its phone event on a Monday for years, with Tuesday or Wednesday the most commonly used days.
With the Wednesday being September 11, a day of mourning in the US that it's traditionally avoided, Apple will most likely pick an iPhone 11 launch date of Tuesday, September 10, 2019.
We would normally be cast-iron on this date, but experienced leaker @evleaks shared a roadmap of key phone launches in 2019 – which strongly hints that Apple could delay things a week.
Apple hasn't launched an iPhone this late since 2011, when it announced the iPhone 4S on October 4, so would need a strong reason for a switch after so many years in the traditional September 'zone'.
This date allows Apple to ship its iPhones into retail channels well before the holiday rush, and is now a well-trodden path to do such. As for the new iPhone 11 pre-order date, Apple tends to open this on the Friday following the launch, which would be September 13 by our calculations.
Finally, the new iPhone 11 release date – the day when you'll actually be able to get your hands on the handset for the first time – could be just a week after the pre-orders open, so September 20 if our predictions hold.
That prediction was bolsted by an analyst from Wedbush claiming that the three new iPhones launched in 2019 will all go on sale at the same time – the iPhone 11, 11 Max and 11R would all be on sale at the same time thanks to the production process being so much more mature this year – again, suggesting little in the way of upgrades.
New iPhone 11 price: will it still be $1,000?
- iPhone 11 price likely to start around $999 (£999, AU$1,579)
- There could be a new price strategy
The iPhone 11 price is almost certain not to drop this year – especially for the 'main' new iPhone. After all, Apple priced both the iPhone XS and iPhone X starting at $999 (£999, AU$1,579) and without a massive change to the design or functionality, a price hike doesn't seem likely.
With news that Apple isn't selling as many iPhones as it previously forecast, there's a chance the iPhone 11 will be priced more affordably – although we reckon a price freeze, rather than a reduction, is a more likely move by Apple.
That said, the new iPhone 11R could be a touch cheaper – depending on the new camera technology. A less-costly iPhone than last year (where the iPhone XR debuted for $749 / $749) could happen if not a lot changes to the hardware… but if Apple goes with the higher-power camera, then the same price is likely to be maintained, in our opinion.
The addition of the iPhone 11 Pro rumor – which, it has to be noted, is based on a single tweet (one that does have some form in getting the naming right of past iPhones) – would suggest a price hike for the phones.
But given analysts are suggesting that the new phones will 'lack novelty', we're not expecting the inflated cost that would bring.
New iPhone, iPhone 11 or iPhone XI?
What will Apple call the iPhone 2019? It's a tricky one: Apple has backed itself into a corner with the name. Roman numerals could well remain, but how does the iPhone XI follow the iPhone XS?
Apple has been staunch on verbally calling the handsets the 'iPhone 10' and 'iPhone 10-S'. With that in mind, the iPhone XI seems to make the most sense, but then – if the older models remain – there will be an X, an XS and an XI (along with an XR) – and iPhone 11 is easier to understand.
That doesn't easily point to the best, most-desirable model. So could Apple do what's been rumored for years and simply go for the 'new iPhone' as the 'main' XS replacement, and stick with the same iPhone XR name, albeit with a small spec upgrade?
As mentioned, the iPhone Pro could be added to the mix, bringing it into line with its iPads (and indeed MacBooks) in terms of their naming, but we're rather doubtful of that.
Apple has already ditched numbered increments for Mac, MacBooks, TV and iPads, so 'new iPhone' would be a logical next step – even if iPhone 11 would be the most pleasing thing for consumers looking for the obviously best new phone.
New iPhone 11 design
What will the new iPhone look like? Pretty simple really: from the front, quite similar (according to the leaks we've seen). The biggest change will be on the back: a hefty triple-lens camera in a square design.
We've included a video from Mobile Fun above, one that shows the best rendering of what most are expecting to see from the iPhone 11 when it launches later this year.
That design shows up in most leaks we're seeing at the moment, with the three camera system being used on the iPhone 11 and 11 Max, with the iPhone 11R still getting the large square bump, but only two lenses.
The square protrusion doesn't look as attractive as we're used to seeing on iPhones, but Apple could be springing a surprise to make sure it doesn't lose too much ground to Samsung, Huawei and Google.
We've seen huge improvements to the camera quality there, and while Apple's iPhones are still superb at taking pictures on the go, extra capability like a wide-angle lens would be something extra and would explain the extra size of the sensors.
A leaker took a reported photo of the Galaxy Note 10 Plus – but did it with a phone that looked suspiciously like the iPhone 11R, with the double (rather than triple) lens array, according to the placement of the flash.
Whether both are real is up for debate (the quality of the snap isn't great, and you'd expect better from Apple, even at this early development stage) it shows in the real world what the design could be like.
In terms of the triple-lens camera, that's on show with the dummies leaked above – again, not confirmed but matching what we've heard so far – giving us an early look at the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Max.
Speaking of the iPhone 11R, reports suggest that the new phone will be landing in purple and green shades – in addition to the current range of black, white, yellow and red – with coral and blue disappearing after shards of the new material appeared.
These were leaked by respected Apple writer Mark Gurman, who also showed the new iPhone range will have this larger camera protrusion in new case moldings, used by third-party manufacturers to secure your iPhone.
Another leak from CashKaro and OnLeaks, suggest the new iPhones will get a smaller (and more circular) mute button, but that's hardly going to raise the roof when the new iPhone 11 is announced on stage in September.
Rumors of a frosted-glass back do appear once in a while, but (at best) this is likely to be a small variant and not indicative of the wider iPhone 11's design style – even if it would help improve wireless charging.
New iPhone 11 display: the same or shifting?
Right: let's get one thing straight… there's not going to be a flexible iPhone this year. While we've seen patents so far, that's as far as the rumor mill is cranking about a bendy Apple device – and that makes sense, given how many issues Samsung and Huawei have had with their bending handsets.
So what will the iPhone 11 display look like? Well, the smart money is currently saying that things will remain the same. A rumor has stated that the 5.8-inch display will remain, with the bezels will shrinking slightly, although that was an added line to a wider 'leak' that the iPhone will have a central camera – which we don't think will happen.
While some reports say the display size will stay the same size, others think the main iPhone 11 will be larger. We believe that the same 5.8-inch screen will remain on the iPhone 11 – as that will be cheaper for Apple to produce than making a whole new size.
Another way to save the cost would be to drop the 3D Touch element of the screen, according to investment bank Barclays (who claim to have spent time with the Asia supply chain) where one can press harder to open up a new menu. That would be replaced by a more powerful haptic engine that would do… something.
According to 9to5Mac, this is known internally as 'leap haptics' and the source code of iOS 13 hints at Haptic Touch, which would replace the smart 3D Touch menus that pop up.
The same confusion over screen size doesn't seem to reign for the iPhone 11 Max screen, with some suggesting the same-sized display as the iPhone XS Max (at 6.5 inches), but fans will have to wait until 2020 before Apple will increase it to a sizable 6.7 inches.
The best leaks also suggest that Apple will stick with an OLED display for the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Max, with the same (cheaper) LCD screen for the new 11R, which would help keep the cost down and preserve battery life.
New iPhone 11 camera: the biggest change
As we've heavily discussed already, unless all the leaks are fake, the iPhone 11 camera looks pretty likely to pack a larger, more square lens array on the rear of the device.
This is the only real hardware upgrade we're seeing from Apple this year, with 2019's iPhone coming with enhanced picture-taking capabilities. Schematics suggest the same thing, and most chassis leaks hint at the same square cut-out portion.
Respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has weighed in to say that one of these lenses might be almost invisible, adding at the same time that the selfie camera will get a boost from 7MP to 12MP.
One source claims that only the iPhone 11 Max will have the three camera array, but that seems rather fanciful when Apple made a big deal in 2018 explaining how the iPhone XS and XS Max were almost identical bar the screen size – we expect three lenses on both the higher-end 11 variants.
What will those lenses be? Well, smart money suggests that there will be three 12MP lenses: one that takes 'standard' photos (with decent low-light capabilities), the zoom lens and a new wide-angle option opening up a new world of photography capabilities.
That source is suggesting that the third lens on the iPhone 11 won't have optical image stabilization, which would be an interesting move, and that the flash will be even brighter and more useful.
The same source also is stating that the image processor inside will be enhanced, but we'd expect nothing less from a brand that's likely to push the camera prowess as the main reason to buy the new iPhone range.
Apple's Neural Engine did bring some impressive boosts to the photo quality of the iPhone XS, so another jump forward could continue the brand's ability to just take photos that, well, look nice – thanks to intelligent algorithms working out what they're looking at.
Smart Frame capabilities would add a better way to improve the snaps you're about to take, but we're still mostly in the dark about what that would bring at the moment.
What about the front camera? Well, there we're going to get a 10MP sensor upgraded (apparently) – but the same suggests that the new iPhone 11 will have 14MP and 10MP sensors on the rear, which seems unlikely. Even still, an upgrade to selfies would be a welcome addition.
A laser-powered 3D camera was supposedly destined for the new iPhone 11, that looks more like we'll see it on the iPhone for 2020, in a bid to really show off the new iPhone's augmented reality (AR) capabilities.
Sadly, the notch looks like it'll be staying the same size – even though the camera tech is shrinking down, a source says the notch is staying the same this year. This aligns with rumors that the phone chassis isn't moving in size, so does make sense.
New iPhone 11 battery and features
The iPhone 11 battery was always going to be a source of much debate, with users asking every year for a little more juice coming out of their device. The good news for them is that a couple of nifty tricks might helps things along for the new iPhone in 2019.
One thing we're not expecting is that the new iPhone will lose the Lightning connector, the Apple-only port that connects to all manner of accessories. Multiple rumors have stated that it might be replaced by USB-C, but it seems (for now) that won't be the case.
We've now heard multiple times that it won't get USB-C, so don't expect a guaranteed change from Lightning – even though it might have improved the speed with which the iPhone could charge.
That said, we could see a compromise here: Apple might finally bundle in the 18W charging block that would see the iPhone charge more quickly. The catch: the USB-A end (the connector most of us think of when imagining a USB lead) would be dropped for a smaller USB-C, allowing for speedier juicing.
Having that in the box would be a nice addition to the wireless charging that's almost certain to continue. That wireless charging would go two ways, meaning you'll be able to throw the AirPods, in a wireless charging case, onto the back of the iPhone 11 and be able to charge them up on the go.
What about that battery pack? Well, noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that the iPhone 11 will have a battery that's up to 25% bigger than the current iPhone XS (to allow for this dual-charging) without destroying the battery life in a single day.
Huawei and Samsung phones already pack this feature and it's been well-marketed as a key selling point – so it makes sense that Apple would want to bring things too.
The iPhone 11 Max might not get as much of an upgrade, but 15% would still be a large jump forward compared to the current Max device – and without the device getting thicker, thanks to possible upgrades in the screen tech.
What about some other smaller features? Well, another upgrade is that , according to one source at least, Face ID will be improved for the new iPhone 11 range, allowing it to work from wider angles.
Apple always introduces a new chipset with its new iPhone launches, and the A13 chip is being touted for the iPhone 11, with analysts claiming a manufacturer is already lined up to produce the chip. After Apple made a huge deal about the AI learning capabilities of the A12 Bionic chip, one has to assume the big changes to the new chipset are going to be a big talking point come September this year.
Let's move onto the more experimental features that may (read: mostly patents and leaks of things that could be possible in smartphones) be seen in the new iPhone 11 – but we think they're pretty unlikely.
For one: the new iPhones may be easier to use in the rain. A report claims Apple is experimenting with a new tech that allows you to use the phone's screen underwater.
What's more, a patent suggests the camera on a future iPhone would be able to tell when you're underwater and alter settings accordingly, so that underwater photographs look better.
Perhaps the iPhone 11 could have sub-epidermal scanning to be unlocked, in which the front camera would scan the veins and blood vessels in your face using IR to make sure it's actually you unlocking the phone.
These blood pathways in your face are the most secure way of monitoring who you are – and can't be fooled in the same way as Face ID theoretically can be.
Another patent meanwhile points to the return of Touch ID, but not as you know it. Rather, the patent talks about a system that would recognize your fingerprint when placed anywhere on the screen.
So it would be an in-screen scanner that works across the whole display, though we're not convinced Apple will actually use this – lots of weird and wonderful things get patented with nothing coming of them.
For something else a little bit weird, a patent filed by Apple shows a system in which a sensor monitors chemicals in the air, in order to 'smell' odors – including body odor. That would be a pretty cool feature for the Apple Watch 5 rather than an iPhone, though.
Inside the device we've heard talk that the iPhone 11 will include support for the latest Wi-Fi 6 connection standards – though 5G tech will have to wait until the 2020 iPhones.
One out there rumor on the iPhone 11 is that it could be compatible with the Apple Pencil – but we've heard that a number of times and we're not going to be drawn in to believing such a thing this year – especially not the size of the Apple Pencil we're seeing right now, which would be be bigger than any iPhone device.
That said, it could be charged on the new wireless charging rear of the new iPhone – so that does make things seem a touch more believable.
New iPhone 11: what we want to see
We were mostly impressed with the new iPhones last year, but that doesn't mean they're perfect – talk to any ardent Android user and they'll give chapter and verse why the iPhone isn't anywhere near as well-specified as their device.
That does kind of miss the point of the iPhone – Apple's never been about the spec, more the usability and overall polish – but there are some things we'd like to see more (or less) of with the iPhone 11 range:
1. No notch (or, at least, a smaller one)
The iPhone X made the smartphone notch a mainstream 'thing' – but with the advent of punch-hole cameras and under-screen technology on our phones, the notch needs to go.
While Apple needs that space to chuck in the array of sensors that make Face ID as secure as it is, we want a new solution – and Apple has the means to work out what that is, as well as helping attract a new raft of users.
2. A new design
While the current design of the iPhone XS and XS Max is one of the best out there, we want something new, something more. Apple could make things more sleek, remove more of the physical buttons or even wrap the screen around – a statement can be made with some smart engineering.
Sadly, that doesn't seem likely to appear until 2020's iPhone – the new iPhone in 2019 looks destined to stay rather similar to the last two generations' design.
3. Better battery life
We say this ever year, but the fact remains that iPhones still aren't the strongest performers when it comes to battery life.
That said, the iPhone XR was one of the longest-lasting devices ever from the Cupertino brand, so let's see some of the prowess baked into the larger, more expensive iPhones. It's not easy (damned physics keeps getting in the way) but that doesn't mean improvements can't be made.
4. eSIM only
The current iPhones – the XS, XS Max and iPhone XR – all pack an eSim alongside their main, physical card.
While it would be weird at first, Apple has the power to change users' attitudes to what's acceptable on a smartphone (think how everyone is now losing the headphone jack) and making the SIM virtual would allow greater freedom to hop between networks and deals at will, rather than being stuck on one contract for too long.
With 5G on the way, that's going to see a lot more competition for users – and flexibility will be the number one benefit for those wanting a great phone deal.