Apple is working on a new low-cost iPhone that will presumably be called the iPhone 9. When the initial leaks started spilling out, it was believed that Apple was working on a successor to the iPhone SE. However, the company is working on an entirely new device that will take components from its existing iPhones to keep its price in check.
This new budget iPhone will feature a design that’s similar to the iPhone 8 which will include a 4.7-inch display and Touch ID. So, while not a direct successor, the iPhone 9 will act as a spiritual successor to the original iPhone SE. This new budget iPhone will help Apple take on budget Android smartphones in China and parts of Asia. It will also help the company tempt owners of older iPhones like the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s to upgrade to a new iPhone thanks to its low price tag.
iPhone 9 Design and Display
The iPhone 9 will come with a design language that’s similar to the iPhone 8. This has also been confirmed by leaked design renders. They show a device with chunky top and bottom bezels at the front, a 4.7-inch display, and a physical home button with Touch ID integrated into it. This will make the iPhone 9 substantially bigger than the 4-inch iPhone SE which might bum a few users looking to upgrade to a new iPhone.
There is a possibility that Apple could use frosted glass on the iPhone 9, though this is not yet confirmed. Another possibility opened up by the use of the glass back is the inclusion of wireless charging, though Apple might just remove this feature for price reasons. There’s no word on dust or water-resistance which has become commonplace in iPhones released over the last few years.
iPhone 9 Specs
If rumors are anything to go by, the iPhone 9 will feature an A13 Bionic chip and 3GB RAM. It will be available with up to 128GB of storage space. The A13 Bionic is the same chip that’s found inside the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 11 Pro series. It is based on the 7nm node and its GPU and AI processing capabilities are unrivaled in the market so far.
Keeping its price in mind, the iPhone 9 will miss out on 5G connectivity. Instead, the lack of 5G will help Apple differentiate the iPhone 9 from its 2020 iPhone lineup down the line. The base model of the device is also expected to ship with 64GB storage. From specs and performance viewpoint, if the leaked specs turn out to be true, the iPhone 9 will not have any competition in the market in its price range.
iPhone 9 Camera
The upcoming 4.7-inch iPhone refresh from Apple will feature a single camera at the rear. It will likely be a 12MP f/1.8 camera sensor, the same one which Apple uses on the iPhone 11 series.
If the iPhone 9 ends up packing an A13 Bionic chip, it will also be able to record 4K videos at 60fps. The phone will likely also come with Portrait mode since Apple is now able to deliver the feature using a single lens solution and machine learning as seen on the iPhone XR/11. The lack of an ultra-wide angle lens is a bummer as it can be extremely handy to have but I guess Apple had to make this compromise due to cost reasons.
There’s no word on the front camera but again, the iPhone 9 refresh will likely feature a 12MP selfie camera as found on the iPhone 11 series.
What About the iPhone SE 2?
The iPhone 9, or whatever Apple gets around to calling it, will be the iPhone SE 2. It won’t be a direct successor to the original iPhone SE but a spiritual one. The jump in screen size from 4-inch to 4.7-inch on the iPhone SE 2 might not go down well with many existing iPhone SE users though.
Will There Be an iPhone 9 Plus?
Barring the iPhone X, Apple has always launched a ‘Plus’ or ‘Max’ version of every flagship iPhone that it has launched starting from the iPhone 6. However, the iPhone 9 is not Apple’s flagship smartphone and it is meant for consumers on a budget. A bigger 5.5-inch iPhone 9 Plus could end up cannibalizing the sales of other iPhones which is not Apple would want. Thus, it makes little sense for Apple to launch a ‘Plus’ or ‘Max’ version of the iPhone 9.
iPhone 9 Price
Reputed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that the iPhone 9 will carry a retail price of $399 which has also been confirmed by other sources. While expensive for a smartphone with a 4.7-inch display, it would still make the phone cheaper than the iPhone 8 which is priced at $449. So, for $50 less, consumers would be getting a smartphone with more powerful internals and a better camera.
This pricing would also make the iPhone 9 the cheapest iPhone in Apple’s lineup. The iPhone 11 with its reduced $699 price tag has been selling like hotcakes since its release. iPhone 9 will also do relatively well for the company especially in price-sensitive regions like Asia. It will also allow Apple to better compete with mid-range Android smartphones that do well in India, Thailand, China, and other nearby regions.
iPhone 9 Release Date
If rumors are anything to go by, Apple will release the iPhone SE 2 towards the end of March 2020. That seems like an ideal time as well since the iPhone SE was also launched by the company in 2016 at an event in March. The device should then go on sale soon after that in most of the key markets of the world.