We’ve already seen plenty of smartphone launches from Samsung, Motorola, OnePlus and Google this year. But there’s still likely more to come in the fall.
Though it’s hard to predict exactly what’s in store for the phone industry, it’s possible to make some educated guesses, since many companies stick to the same launch routine year to year. The iPhone 15 lineup, for example, is expected to arrive in September, possibly with USB-C charging for the first time. Google’s rumored Pixel 8 could launch in the fall, likely with a new Tensor processor.
Such launches would follow the subtle but important progress that phones made in 2022. The iPhone 14, for example, gained satellite connectivity for emergencies and car-crash detection, while Google found more ways to make use of its custom Tensor chip in the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro. Samsung, meanwhile, gave its flagship Galaxy S lineup a fresh look and an upgraded camera last year, while this year’s S23 is a modest step forward.
Here are the new phones we’re expecting to see in the fall, based on previous launch cycles, rumors and reports.
Apple iPhone 15 lineup
What we’re expecting: Apple’s new iPhone family usually launches in September, and we have no reason to believe 2023 will be any different. The adoption of USB-C charging is one of the biggest changes we’re expecting to see on Apple’s next-generation iPhones.
The European Union recently mandated that all new phones sold in the region must support USB-C charging by 2024. Apple said it would comply with these rules but did not specify whether that means we’ll see a shift to USB-C starting in 2023. It’s also not confirmed if a USB-C iPhone would get a global release, or if it would remain solely a European model.
Otherwise, we’re expecting to see the Dynamic Island arrive on the regular iPhone 15, according to Ross Young, CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants, and Bloomberg. Apple may also minimize the borders on the iPhone 15 Pro’s display by using a technology called low-injection pressure over-molding, Bloomberg also reports.
We’re also expecting to see a new periscope camera with better optical zoom for the iPhone 15 Pro Max and solid-state buttons for both Pro phones, according to TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The analyst also believes Apple may introduce more features that distinguish the Pro Max from the smaller-sized iPhone 15 Pro.
Why I’m excited about it: The iPhone’s long-anticipated transition to USB-C is arguably the biggest reason to get excited about Apple’s next smartphone. The switch means iPhone users will finally be able to charge their iPhone, iPad and Mac with the same type of charging cable, reducing friction and making the iPhone that much more convenient. I’m also looking forward to seeing whether Apple further distinguishes the iPhone 15 Pro Max from the iPhone 15 Pro. I’ve argued that Apple needs to give its supersized iPhones more functionality that takes advantage of their larger screens, similar to the iPad.
OnePlus foldable phone
What we’re expecting: OnePlus plans to launch its first foldable phone in the second half of 2023, the company said before its event at Mobile World Congress in February. We don’t know much else. The company has yet to announce any details about the device itself, precisely when it plans to launch the phone, or how much it could cost.
But some leaks have painted a picture of what we might expect. Prominent leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer (better known as OnLeaks) shared what are said to be details about the phone with blog MySmartPrice. The leak suggests OnePlus’ foldable will have a 7.8-inch internal screen, making it larger than the Galaxy Z Fold 5’s, and a triple-lens camera with 48-megapixel wide and ultrawide cameras and a 64-megapixel telephoto lens. It’s also expected to run on Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor.
Why we’re excited about it: Like Google, OnePlus has a reputation for beating Samsung and Apple on price. That makes me hopeful that OnePlus’ foldable phone will be significantly less expensive than the $1,800 Galaxy Z Fold 5. The Oppo Find N2 from OnePlus’ sister brand has also been well received, with CNET’s Sareena Dayaram calling it the lightest foldable she’s ever carried, so there’s a chance OnePlus could follow in its sibling’s footsteps. Plus, it’ll be nice to see Samsung face more competition in this space.
Google Pixel 8 lineup
What we’re expecting: Rumors have been swirling about what to expect from the Pixel 8 family, which is expected to arrive this fall. The most significant update we may see is the introduction of a temperature sensor on the Pro model, according to leaker Kuba Wojciechowski, who shared this information with the blog 91mobiles.
German tech blog WinFuture reports that it found references to two unreleased Pixel smartphones in publicly available code. The findings indicate that these two devices are codenamed “Shiba” and “Husky” and that they’re powered by a new processor codenamed “Zuma.” The code also suggests these devices will run on Android 14 and include 12GB of RAM, according to WinFuture.
Prolific leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer also partnered with the tech blogs MySmartPrice and SmartPrix to publish what are said to be renderings of the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. Based on these images, the two new phones will have a similar design with softer edges compared to the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro.
Another leaker, Yogesh Brar, also claims the Pixel 8 will include a new Google Tensor chip called the G3, a 50-megapixel main camera and a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera. Based on this leak, the Pixel 8 should arrive in early October starting at $649.
Why I’m excited about it: I’m most interested in the new features Google’s next-generation chip will bring to its future phones. Google’s current Tensor chips have enabled features that seem practical and useful in everyday life, such as Magic Eraser and Face Unblur for improving photo quality and the ability to add speaker labels to transcripts in the Recorder app. That makes me excited about where Google could take things next. It’ll also be interesting to see whether Google brings a temperature sensor to the Pro model, and what potential use cases and features it may have in mind for that.
It seems like the most dramatic changes to new smartphones in 2023 will arrive on premium devices like foldables and “pro” versions of flagship devices. That makes sense given sales of premium smartphones accounted for more than half of global smartphone revenue in 2022, according to Counterpoint Research. We’ll know more throughout the year as more reports and rumors arrive, and as OnePlus, Apple and Google actually debut their devices.