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iPhone X old news? What that means for new 2018 iPhones

This week was ripe with talk about the rumored iPhone SE 2 and new 2018 iPhones.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple will share its second quarter earnings -- that's January through March 2018 -- on May 1, but tough times for the iPhone X are already predicted.


What will become of the iPhone X?

Sarah Tew/CNET

Late 2017 was supposed to be the iPhone "supercycle," with Apple enjoying bumper sales from its latest iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus alongside the dramatically redesigned iPhone X. And while Apple reported big profits in that holiday quarter (October through December), iPhone sales took a slight dip. Now, reports suggest that this quarter may be worse for the iPhone X.

Add that to the fact that this week has been heavy with talk about this year's new iPhones, including the rumored iPhone SE 2 and three iPhone X successors. So if you're looking for a hint about the future for the iPhone, here are the stories you need to know.

Is it time for 'panic mode' for the iPhone X?

Much of the iPhone X paranoia is due to reports from Apple suppliers. Manufacturers such as Samsung, TSMC, AMS and SK Hynix -- all of which make different parts for the iPhone X -- have reported slow demand for the exact component they source to the iPhone X. Samsung reported disappointing sales for its OLED displays, chipmaker TSMC pointed to "continued weak demand from [its] mobile sector" and 3D sensor manufacturer AMS gave its own negative outlook.

Since all these companies have one thing in common, analysts predict that low demand for these parts points to low demand for the iPhone X overall. One theory analysts share is that the iPhone X's high price is contributing to lukewarm customer interest among the wider consumer market, now that the hardcore fans have already bought the X in its early days.

Triple cameras rumored for a future iPhone

Another premium feature rumor: three cameras on the back of a future iPhone. Current top-of-the-line iPhones like the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus have a dual rear camera setup, which allows for advanced camera functions like low-light sensing and portrait mode. But the rumor is that Apple may add another camera for even more photography skills.

The new Huawei P20 Pro comes with three rear cameras, and it also takes some awesome photos. Who's to say we won't see other phone makers doing the same thing in the near future?


Is this the iPhone 8's time to shine?


The iPhone X Plus with an 'iPen'?

It may seem like a strange rumor, but one analyst claims that Apple could release a new iPhone with a stylus. The analyst predicts that the so-called "iPen" may be compatible with Apple's most premium 2018 iPhone (rumored to be called the iPhone X Plus).

Now, Apple cofounder Steve Jobs was famously antistylus in his outlook -- thus the groundbreaking touchscreens on the iPhone and iPad. But Apple has since created a stylus of sorts for its iPad line in the form of the Pencil, a $99 accessory designed for drawing and sketching. Whether compatibility would simply be for the existing Pencil, or a new, smaller stylus would be on deck is unclear. But it would create a step-up feature on premium iPhones -- another way to delineate from a cheaper model (see below). And it would offer Apple a counter to chief rival Samsung, whose Galaxy Note line pioneered the use of a stylus in a modern phone. 

A new 6.1-inch iPhone may cost almost half the price of the iPhone X

KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts three new iPhones in the fall of 2018, with one of the models, a 6.1-inch LCD iPhone, acting as the budget option. According to the report, this iPhone could start as low as $550, and go up by $100 to $200 depending on storage or dual-SIM compatibility. Still, a new $550 iPhone would be about half the price of an iPhone X, giving a new option to people who steered clear of the iPhone X due to its price.

Would Apple really release a $550 iPhone? We have our doubts. But if it did, Apple would have to cut back iPhone features to make a cheaper phone with Face ID work. 

The iPhone 8 outsells the iPhone X, says survey

The iPhone X was supposed to be the more premium and exciting iPhone compared to the iPhone 8, but it seems like the tables have turned, according to one survey. Consumer research group CIRP did a survey of 500 US iPhone buyers and found that 23 percent of participants bought the iPhone 8, 21 percent bought the iPhone 8 Plus and 16 opted for the iPhone X.

The survey accounted for purchases made between Jan. 1 and March 31, but CIRP ran a similar study for the previous quarter and found that demand for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus has gone up, while the percentage of people buying the iPhone X has dropped.

As a rule, Apple doesn't break down iPhone sales by model. But CEO Tim Cook said on Feb. 1 that the iPhone X was the top seller every week since it shipped in November, but this survey paints a different picture. Perhaps CIRP's data is incomplete -- or things have changed since Cook made that statement.

The iPhone SE 2 could get wireless charging

The iPhone SE -- Apple's last holdout for a small, cheap phone -- is rumored to get an update soon. One upgrade in store for the iPhone SE 2 is said to be wireless charging. Apple's fall 2017 iPhones were the first to get wireless charging, but Apple may be expanding the tech to nonpremium iPhones by bringing it to the SE.

The original iPhone SE released in March 2016, and plenty has happened in the iPhone world since. We're hoping that the iPhone SE 2 gets some solid upgrades compared to its predecessor, but still remains affordable.

Now playing: Watch this: 5 best Apple iPhone SE 2 rumors

For a full rundown on all the iPhone SE 2 rumors we've heard, check out CNET's rumor roundup here.

Also be sure to check out features we expect for Apple's 2018 iPhone lineup here.

And for a peak into the future, here's every iPhone thing that happened the following week.