Apple's Next Big iPhone Update Will Have iPad Flare: Report

A report suggests the iPhone 12 could have flat edges and LIDAR

Aside from a new, sharper-edged design language, the report is notable for still placing the release and ship dates for the next iPhone (possibly called iPhone 12) this fall, despite COVID-19 supply chain disruptions.

iPhone 11 Pro max
iPhone 11 Pro Max in Fifth Avenue Store. Lifewire / Lance Ulanoff

Apple might bring back the iPhone's flat edges, last seen in the iPhone 5 SE. According to a Bloomberg report, the company is working on as many as four new iPhones that borrow key design elements from its iPad Pro line.

What we know: It's no secret that Apple is working on the next generation of iPhone. It delivers between one and three new handsets each year. Apple CEO Tim Cook has also been relatively transparent about the impact of COVID-19 on its China-based manufacturing plants and store closures, but Cook and company are mum when it comes to the subject of future product plans.

The key rumors: Bloomberg's report is possibly the first to delve into a return to the sharp edges of bygone iPhone days. The only iPhone that still resembles a flat-edged design language introduced with the iPhone 4 is the discontinued iPhone SE. The iPad Pro reintroduced it, but lower-end iPads still have the curves.

The details: If the report holds true, there'll be as many as four new iPhones. Entry-level ones, likely replacements for the iPhone 11, will have two cameras. Higher end models will still have three cameras (Wide, Ultra-Wide, and Telephoto). There's also a chance that the new LiDAR 3D sensor introduced with the new iPad Pro could make its way to the top-tier iPhone (maybe called the iPhone 12 Pro Max).

More new products: It's fair to assume that even if supply chains are stable, Apple's product delivery timeline is in shambles as it tries to assess the public's appetite for new products in the near and even long-term future. Still, it's busy with technology in multiple categories. According to the report, the long-rumored smaller, cheaper HomePod could arrive in the same time frame as the next iPhones.

The company is also still working on its Tile tracking tag competitor, Apple Tags, which Bloomberg thinks could still ship this year.

The other phones: In the meantime, many people still think the more affordable iPhone 9 or iPhone SE could ship as soon as this month. That device will look a lot like the iPhone 8, but with fresh components on the inside.

Bottom line: Even with the recent release of the iPad Pro and MacBook Air, it's been a pretty quiet product spring for Apple. It's safe to assume it now has a backlog of products that it's trying to schedule throughout the rest of this year. If we had to guess, we'd assume that even though Apple is still deciding when to release the next major iPhone, it probably does have some big design changes up its sleeve. The iPhone's look is due for a major update, anyway.

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