With this year's iPhone updates, it's looking increasingly likely that Apple is hoping good things will come in threes, as another analyst is forecasting three new phones arriving from Cupertino this fall.
A research note published today (April 9) by RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani suggests that Apple will come out with two OLED-based phones later this year along with a less expensive LCD-based iPhone. That latter phone looks like it could be called the iPhone 9.
That's not the first time we've heard that Apple has three iPhone models in the works for this fall's round of new releases. Back in January, Ming-Chi Kuo, the KGI Securities analyst who's become a popular source of any and all Apple rumors suggested in January that Apple had three iPhones in development, including a larger version of its iPhone X.
The research note from Daryanani, reported on by Investors Business Daily, offers a little more detail on the phones themselves. According to Daryanani, Apple's plans include a new version of the 5.8-inch iPhone X which the analyst suggests might be called the iPhone XS. A larger version with a 6.5-inch screen could go by the name of the iPhone XS Plus.
Those names would follow Apple's traditional naming convention where it sticks an S on the next-generation version of a new model of phone. Since introducing the iPhone 6 updates in 2014, Apple has also typically come out with regular and plus-sized models of its main flagship phones.
As for the third phone planned this fall, Daryanani says it will be an LCD model, likely with a 6.1-inch screen. That model could be called the iPhone 9, according to Daryanani's research note. If that model turns out to be consistent with previous rumors about Apple's phone plans, the iPhone 9 would have a lot of the features of the iPhone X, such as Face ID unlocking technology, but it would opt for less expensive materials like an LCD panel and a glass back similar to the existing iPhone 8.
Analysts seem to believe that Apple needs to broaden the appeal of its iPhone selection this fall. While the company enjoyed record revenue during its holiday quarter, iPhone sales fell below Wall Street expectations.
The rest of Daryanani's research note seems to reflect that, as he reports subdued expectations among Apple supply chain partners for this fall's iPhone updates. Daryanani's report forecasts that Apple will build 80 million to 90 million new iPhones during the second half of 2018, which would be a drop of 25 to 33 percent from year-ago expectations.