Last week,

Apple
accidentally leaked the iPhone X Plus in its own software on three separate occasions (1,2,3). But now a key Apple partner has gone even further, inadvertently giving away the biggest design change in all three of Apple’s upcoming new iPhones… 

In reporting its latest quarterly earnings, key Apple supplier Lumentum Holdings revealed major growth in its AR and 3D-sensing business which supplies components for Face ID in the iPhone X. Moreover, it said volume orders will accelerate “significantly” from September 2018. Why? Because every new iPhone will move to a bezel-less design with Face ID.

iPhone 9 render beside iPhone X Plus shows the move to bezel-less, Face ID designsBen Geskin

What drew particular focus to this is the end to Lumentum’s June quarter, where demand for its VCSEL component spiked despite Apple’s own results recently showing no similar acceleration in iPhone sales.

Furthermore, while Apple is widely expected to integrate Face ID into its next-generation iPads this alone doesn’t account for the uptick. iPhones outsell iPads 4:1 and only the premium iPad Pro will move to Face ID, so that’s nothing more than a blip on the radar. 75% of Lumentum’s VCSEL sales are also to Apple, so Android isn’t a dominant factor here either.

What does move the needle dramatically, however, is the confirmation of iPhone-X inspired designs and Face ID security for the new iPhone 9 (details), iPhone X Plus (details) and second generation iPhone X (details). The switch (and elimination of 3D Touch) represents the most radical overhaul of an entire iPhone range, arguably, since its inception.

Apple’s leaked iPhone X Plus iconography in iOS 12 beta 5Guilherme Rambo

Of course, what really should set pulses racing here is the budget iPhone X or so-called ‘iPhone 9’ (personally, I expect it to simply be called ‘iPhone’ like the entry-level ‘iPad’ and ‘MacBook’). Not only does the iPhone 9 have groundbreaking display tech capable of thinner bezels than the iPhone X and iPhone X Plus, it has exclusive (if restricted) dual sim functionality.

So while Apple will cut prices across the range with its new iPhones, the fact the iPhone 9 will pack all of this and cost little more than an iPhone 8 should make it the true crowd-pleaser.

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