2018 Smartphone Rumor Roundup: Everything we know about the Pixel 3 and iPhone XI

2018 Smartphone Rumor Roundup: Everything we know about the Pixel 3 and iPhone XI

Kerf and Sustainability Reading 2018 Smartphone Rumor Roundup: Everything we know about the Pixel 3 and iPhone XI 6 minutes Next Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10 + Wood Case Development

Summer is for rumors

It’s that time of year again: the days are growing longer, there’s live music outside every weekend, and the perennial summer topic is starting to buzz between the tech-enthused: just what is going to be in the next phones?

iPhone render 2020
Maybe one day, you'll get this weird monster of a phone.  But not this year.

We know when this frantic speculation starts, because it coincides with another summertime trend: people stop buying phones, and thus, they don’t buy phone cases as much.  Phone cases are our bread and butter, so while there are plenty of all-season products we offer (can I interest you in a gorgeous Vessel, a minimalistic Card Wallet or a portable Studio Case?), we get some time in the summer to regroup, strategize, get ready for an absolutely bonkers fall/holiday season, and keep our ear to the ground on phone rumors so we know what to prepare for.

Here’s what the last third of our year looks like, according to the soothsayers of the tech world: new iPhones in September and new Pixels in October, with a new Samsung model possibly thrown in there for good measure.  This is roughly in line with the usual release schedule of the past couple years, and it’s spaced out enough that we should be able to take on each new release, and the wave of orders it brings, before moving onto the next.  But what can we expect from the phones themselves?

iPhone XI, iPhone XI Plus, and iPhone XC?

In one of my first blog posts for KerfCase last year, I broke down the main sources of iPhone rumors and who is the most trustworthy.  Sitting pretty at the top of the pyramid is Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities, who leverages a well-established network of sources in Apple’s supply chain to deliver extremely prescient predictions on new Apple products.  Kuo recently released a report confirming earlier work of his that we can expect 3 new phones in September:

iPhone XI iPhone XI Plus iPhone XC
In all their glory.  But how the heck do you tell them apart?


The first, which I’ll call the iPhone XI (we’ll get to names in a second), is expected to share a form factor with the current iPhone X.  Same dimensions, same stainless steel frame, same OLED Super-Retina Display, and yes, same notch. This is good news, because if you already own the best wood iPhone X case on the market, you can fit the newest phone in your old case no problem.

The second, which we’re really excited for, is tentatively being called the iPhone X Plus, and it’s exactly what it sounds like: a super-sized iPhone X.  The iPhone X famously crammed a Plus sized screen into a smaller enclosure, so this new phone, with its ultra-size edge-to-edge display, will sport the largest iPhone display ever at 6.5 inches!

The third will be a lower-priced option that sits between the other two in size with a 6.1” display.  This phone will have an X-like form factor, but the big differences will be in quality of components: aluminum instead of stainless steel and an LED screen instead of OLED.  Similar in terms of components to the current iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which are no slouch!  For now, I'm gonna call this one the iPhone XC, harkening back to the 5c, the last time Apple released a phone with different materials from its flagship lineup.

iPhone 5c

Otherwise known as the only iPhone in the past 5 years that we didn't make a case for!

What this means is two of the things we’ve come to identify with iPhones are going away: the Home Button and Touch ID.  While Face ID seems to do a decent job, I’ll miss that instantaneous fingerprint recognition!

Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL

pixel 3 pixel 3 xl render
One person's guess for the look of the Pixel 3.  iPhone-like notch on the front, same Pixel back.

On the Android side, the rumor mill is ramping up in earnest for the latest hardware from Google as well!  Our friends at CNET have been diligently rounding up the rumors, and it seems like Pixel fans are in for quite an upgrade this year.

With Google further incorporating HTC into their operations, they should have more control over the production process, which resulted in some weird blue-tinted screens on the Pixel 2 XL and other issues.  It’s easy to forget that Google’s been in this business for such a short time; it seems like they get better at making phones with every crack.

While the back of the phone is expected to stay the same (plus adding now-standard wireless charging!), the Pixel 3 line is rumored to sport edge-to-edge screens, complete with iPhone X-style notch!  This is great news for everyone who likes to maximize screen real estate, but it makes me wonder where they’re going to stick the front-facing speaker and microphone (as a case maker, not having to cut speaker holes was a dream!)

Getting ready for launch

Now that we have an idea of what’s coming, all that’s left to do is wait until we get an announcement!  If you’re planning on picking up a shiny new iPhone or Pixel this fall, remember to come to KerfCase to see our full range of species available for all new form factors.  We can’t wait to wait in line with everyone else and see what smartphones in 2018 can do!