The Apple iPhone X is so 2017; rumors swirl about possible 2018 models

Bill Roberson
The next Apple iPhone X model may grow a bit, airlines move to regulate "smart" luggage for safety, Qualcomm takes the wraps of the new Snapdragon 845 mobile chip.

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Bigger, better, OLEDier

It’s Thursday, December 7th, and following the rollout of the Apple iPhone X a short time ago, it’s fair to say the newest iPhone signals a clear change in direction for Cupertino, so the question now is, what’s next? The clues and rumors are beginning to pile up, and the rumor mill got a significant dollop of grist recently with a report on the Nikkei Asian Review site that claims more and bigger OLED iPhones are on the way, as anyone would have logically suspected.

But details are beginning to emerge about the new iPhones, including some from the mysterious Ming Chi Ko, perhaps the most accurate Apple prognosticator. According to a post on BGR, Ko says Apple may eventually debut perhaps two even larger versions of the iPhone X, perhaps including one called the X Plus, which might have a 6.5-inch screen with close to 500 dots per inch – that’s extremely high resolution – and would be great for VR and AR.

Other rumors suggest the X Plus could be 6.3 inches instead. The third bit is that an iPhone X-like phone with a lower-cost LCD screen is also in the works. And fans of the home button needn’t worry: the iPhone 8 will likely soldier on for a while longer – probably with a standard “S” update – and the throwback SE will also remain in the line-up, with perhaps a slight refresh as well. Again, it’s all rumors for now, but 2018 is coming up quick.

No fly battery zone

If you travel a lot – or maybe even a little – you’ve probably noticed that “smart” luggage is a thing now, but it’s also a thing that’s apparently become a problem for airlines, and they’re starting to drop the hammer on the all those new high-tech rollies. The issue is an old one: batteries. New-think bags like the cool bluesmart models use a battery to charge up your phone, track the bag with Bluetooth, talk to its app and so on.

But now, American Airlines, Delta and Alaska Airlines are about to institute new rules that will keep those high-tech bags at home unless the battery can be removed. And in many cases, they can’t. There are some small allowances: basically, if the battery can be removed, you can then check the bag, or stow it as a carry-on. But if you can’t pull the battery out, your bag basically isn’t going on the plane. Clearly, this will cause luggage makers to rethink designs.

The danger, of course, is that a high-density battery may fail during a flight, catch fire, and ignite the luggage compartment, which could of course bring down the aircraft. I think we can all agree that is a legitimate concern. The new rules take effect January 15th, and other airlines are expected to follow suit soon.

Careful with that pushpin

We talked yesterday about how the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S9 will likely feature the new Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip (SoC) computer chip, and right on schedule, Qualcomm officially announced the new 845 yesterday – and we should note that it’s going to be made by chip fab Samsung Foundry.

But we also mentioned how future smartphones may do double duty as home PCs, but before that happens, there’s going to be a push to use the superchip in affordable – and highly energy efficient – laptops. And with more focus being put on AI, VR and AR, we also suspect the 845 will power a new generation of virtual reality headsets and related gear as well.

Suffice to say, there are a lot of very complex things going on inside the 845, and after you read the rundown on new chip, it’s pretty amazing to see that it’s only about as big as a push pin.

DT Daily bonus: Check out our first hands-on look at the new Honor View 10 Android smartphone, a nifty step up from the Honor 7X phone we also just reviewed.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.