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Bigger iPhone 9 Plus could accompany Apple's iPhone 9, iOS 14 code suggests


The iPhone 9 is one of the most highly anticipated smartphones of 2020. Now, 9To5Mac has discovered evidence which suggests Apple is working on a larger ‘iPhone 9 Plus’ variant as part of a lineup designed to replace the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

It will probably look like the iPhone 8 Plus

Snippets of early iOS 14 code indicate that the so-called iPhone 9 Plus is going to feature the A13 Bionic chipset, just like the smaller iPhone 9. This chipset is used inside the iPhone 11 and will undoubtedly provide a huge performance boost for iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 owners, which are the target demographic. 

The iPhone 9 Plus is being developed as an entry-level model and is therefore going to skip the pricey Face ID technology. Apple instead has plans to implement Touch ID, which looks set to be integrated into a physical home button that’s backed by Force Touch tech.

The button’s presence points towards large bezels, suggesting there will be virtually no design changes. If that is indeed the case, consumers can expect to find a large 5.5-inch LCD display on the iPhone 9 Plus.

9To5Mac also found evidence that the iPhone 9 Plus will support Apple Pay’s Express Transit feature, which isn’t available on some older iPhones. The ability to scan NFC tags in the background, something only available on the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone 11, is planned too.

When will the iPhone 9 Plus arrive?

The iPhone 9 was expected to make its international debut at an event later this month. But the lack of demand across the globe right now as a direct result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has apparently forced the company to delay the smartphone, potentially until June or September. 

That means consumers shouldn’t expect to see the larger iPhone 9 Plus until June at the very earliest either. 

In regards to pricing, Apple typically charges $100 more for Plus or Max-branded models, which suggests the iPhone 9 Plus with 64GB of storage will hit shelves for $499. A pricier $549 model with 128GB of storage could also be in the works, as is the case with the smaller device.

What about the rumored 2021 iPhone 9 (SE2) Plus?

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has claimed in a few reports now that Apple is working on a budget iPhone 9 Plus for release in early 2021 with either a 5.5-inch or a 6.1-inch display. But if the information unearthed today is accurate, it’s certainly possible the company is actually working on two devices as part of a plan to replace the iPhone 8 Plus this year and the iPhone XR in 2021.

If this theory turns out to be true, consumers can likely expect an updated iPhone XR in early 2021 powered by the next-gen A14 Bionic, which should be used in the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro later this year. The smartphone may use Face ID, but Ming-Chi Kuo has previously stated that it would ditch the technology in favor of Touch ID.

However, in order to retain the existing LCD-based all-screen design, Apple is apparently looking into implementing the Touch ID tech into the side-mounted power key. 

The lack of Face ID would theoretically allow Apple to significantly reduce the size of the controversial notch too. Whether it actually does so is an entirely different matter, though, because the company likes to maintain a consistent design language between devices, and unless a smaller notch debuts on the iPhone 12 later this year, it’s unlikely to do so on the iPhone XR upgrade.

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