Dreaming of the Next iPhone

A new iPhone is coming, but for now we dare to dream

Illustration of people dreaming of the next iPhone

Lifewire / Hugo Link 

Standing outside The Littlest Bookshop in downtown Boston (or was it London?), I waited, along with a half dozen other bibliophiles, for the tiny store to open. 

I’d just come from a job and wanted to blow off a little steam perusing dusty tomes. Absentmindedly, I reached for my pocket to check that my iPhone 7 was there and then, because I had time to kill, pulled the phone out. The screen was on and suffering some sort of schizophrenic fit. One half was my camera view, the other my homepage. 

Suddenly, the screen cracked, and I could hear the high-pitched sound of metal and glass stressing. Fearing it might explode, I threw the phone to the ground where it broke into components: the glass screen cover, screen, an oddly large speaker, and the motherboard. Somehow, the screen was still functioning. I went to tap it — and then woke up.

A Lot to Digest

I’ve never had a phone dream quite like that, but realized it was related to a combination of recent efforts to upgrade a few of my family iPhones and a steady stream of news about the next iPhone (often called the “iPhone 11”). If I had chopped my iPhone into bits and eaten it, I don’t think I could’ve had a stranger or more intense dream (I didn’t even mention the heist or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s role in it).

I doubt I’m alone in this mounting obsession with the next set of handsets. We are just weeks away from Samsung’s big Galaxy Note reveal and, more importantly, less than two months from Apple’s next big reveal.

Rumor stories about these and other handsets began months ago, but they’ve accelerated to a steady drumbeat of both real and wishful information. No rumor is too arcane or too "out there," and the public has an almost insatiable appetite for all of them.

Fantasy vs. Fiction

It’s around this time that people start asking me if they should buy now or wait to upgrade to the next iPhone.

I could look at the rumor highlights:

  • The entire line of new iPhones will look like the last models
  • All but one will have an ungainly camera square with three lenses and one LED flash
  • Wireless charge sharing for AirPods
  • A 12 MP front facing camera

and tell them, "Maybe."

You see, there are a number of factors to consider. In fact, I’m busy considering them for myself (hence my dream).

It’s dangerous to base buying decisions on rumors. As Unboxed Therapy explained in a video that showed off near perfect — and functioning — iPhone 11 mockups, these device leaks come from people in China who build them based on what may or may not be inside knowledge of design plans. My theory is that Foxconn line workers are memorizing whatever they see in the factory and sharing it with friends who have access to manufacturing resources. Whatever they’re seeing, though, could be based on planted leaks intended to misdirect mockup fans.

I mean, I have trouble believing Apple would produce a product with such an obviously ugly rear side. That big square so close to the Apple Logo makes me think of someone with a giant, misspelled tattoo on their back.

iPhone 11 design idea mockups
A trio of "iPhones" collected by Unbox Therapy.  Unbox Therapy

What's in it For You

Let’s say you believe the rumors. In that case, you want to think about how much more functionality you might get out of the next iPhone.

No matter the design, the iPhone 11 will be more powerful thanks to an upgraded CPU. It will have fascinating new tricks potentially based on a combination of that new hardware and smart, AI-based algorithms. My favorite rumor is how the iPhone 11 will combine a wide-angle camera and some very smart software to reinsert people you accidentally left just out of frame. If you keep cutting Aunt Edna out of family photos, the iPhone 11 may be right for you.

More broadly, I do tell people (yes, including myself) that upgrading devices in the late summer right before the next iPhone is always a mistake. This is not necessarily because you want to wait for a new phone, but also because its arrival guarantees price drops (sometime significant) on the previous generation models. When it comes to the iPhone, anything back to the iPhone 8 is going to be an excellent upgrade if you're still holding onto an iPhone 5S, 6, 6s or 7.

So it pays to wait and, yes, sleep on it. Sweet dreams!