- iPhone XR 2 release in September 2019
- Two new colours expected: lavender purple and green
- A13 processor with 2 high-performance and 4 energy-efficient cores
- Half-terabyte storage option
Apple diversified its smartphone line-up with three new releases in autumn 2018, including the highly popular iPhone XR. It's a big, new and powerful Apple phone, and therefore not a cheap option - but thanks to a couple of compromises the price is far more affordable than the XS and XS Max that came out around the same time.
Back in November Apple said the XR was the firm's most popular phone "each and every day since the day it became available", and fans are eagerly looking ahead to the next generation. Will Apple release an XR 2 in 2019, and when exactly should we expect it to launch? How will the design change (two new colours have been leaked), what tech specs will it have, and how much will the new XR cost?
In this article we round up the clues, leaks and rumours surrounding the new iPhone XR for 2019, and offer our thoughts on the phone's release date, price and specs. For advice on the current generation, read our iPhone buying guide and our roundup of the Best iPhone deals.
- Probable iPhone XR 2 release date: September 2019
When will the new iPhone XR be released? The likeliest answer is also the simplest: the XR 2 will probably be announced in September 2019, a year after the original model, and appear in shops later in Sept or in Oct.
Apple's phone release schedule tends to be predictable: there are new handsets every autumn, as regular as clockwork. Usually this means September, although occasionally (as was the case with the XR) a handset will be announced in September but won't become available to buy until a month or so later.
The last time Apple announced an iPhone outside autumn was the iPhone SE in March 2016. It's possible we will have to wait until spring 2020, with the XR dropping into the SE's release slot - they are somewhat similar devices, after all, with both aimed at a slightly more 'budget' audience by Apple's pricey standards.
Another question is whether the company will ever return to the small-handset market; our iPhone SE 2 rumour roundup acknowledges the serious possibility that it may not, despite the legions of smaller-handed users crying out for representation.
The current iPhone XR (2018) starts at £749/$749 with 64GB of storage. This rises to £799/$799 for 128GB and £899/$899 for 256GB.
We'd expect Apple to pitch the next-gen version at about the same price point, since much of the device's popularity stems from costing significantly less than the iPhone XS while sharing most of that phone's specs and features.
However, the progress (or otherwise) of the Brexit process, and its effect on currency exchange rates, may impact on the UK pricing. If things go badly in 2019, politically speaking, as some experts fear they may, the value of the pound is likely to fall further and the cost of imported products will go up.
One of the appealing things about the iPhone XR is its range of colours - in fact, you get considerably more options here than you do with the more expensive XS and XS Max: black, white, blue, yellow, coral pink and Product (Red). As we saw with the iPhone 5c a few years back, Apple for some reason views bright colours as a 'budget' look.
For the iPhone XR 2019 we expect just as many colours, but a leak points to two of them being replaced. Presumably blue and coral were the weakest sellers, because they're out, and new lavender purple and green options are being brought in. This is according to a leak from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, and visualised in a concept illustration in this tweet by Ben Geskin:
Here’s next-generation iPhone XR colors (lavender purple and green instead of blue and coral)— Ben Geskin (@BenGeskin) May 14, 2019
(colored glass leak from @markgurman, render from @EveryApplePro, I edited colors) pic.twitter.com/x3m7Q2RfLL
Specs & new features
The (apparently highly successful) formula in 2018 was to take the flagship iPhone spec, then make a couple of key compromises to keep the price down while maintaining largely the same overall package.
For the original iPhone XR that meant keeping most elements of the iPhone XS, but replacing the state-of-the-art 5.8in OLED screen with a more basic 6.1in LCD panel - yes, that's a larger screen, but OLED offers blacker blacks and overall far superior colour reproduction - and dropping from a dual- to a single-lens camera on the rear.
These two major alterations (along with some smaller tweaks such as slightly larger bezels and a thicker body) meant a saving of £250/$250 on the starting config compared to the base XS.
Flagship vs compromises
When predicting the XR 2's spec, then, we must think first about where Apple will go with its flagship line - what spec will the company offer for the XS 2019? And if the XS moves on in key areas, the new XR may catch up in one or both of the areas where it compromised last year.
The XR for 2019 may get an OLED screen, for example - but the only way this will be feasible is if costs for this component have come down, and if Apple has something else up its sleeve to set the new XS apart. A foldable display, say… although the chances of that took a nosedive the day someone noticed their Samsung Galaxy Fold's screen had broken.
Similarly, we have high hopes that the next iPhone XR will get twin-lens rear-facing cameras and the ability to take Portrait Mode blurred-background photos of non-human objects. (The XR offers a Portrait Mode effect through software rather than glassware, and this only works when it detects a human face. So pet portraits, for instance, are out.) But for this to happen, the XS would need a new differentiator - such as a 3D sensor, as Bloomberg is currently predicting.
Beyond this, expect an A13 processor chip offering moderate speed boosts over the current A12 Bionic. Our colleagues on Macworld US predict that the A13 will have a similar transistor count to the A12X, and most likely feature two high-performance and four energy-efficient cores. MWUS also believes that manufacturer TSMC will stick to a 7nm process of some description rather than (yet) making the transition to 5nm, but could use a 7nm+ or "7nm Pro" process offering related benefits.
We also expect the new XR to get the option for half a terabyte of storage as the iPhone XS currently offers, and preinstalled iOS 13.