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A thinner, more expensive iPhone may be joining Apple’s lineup

Forward-looking: Apple is reportedly working on a thinner iPhone that could replace the Plus model in the iPhone 17 lineup. It’s also said to come with a price tag exceeding the iPhone Pro Max. This will be no souped-up iPhone 16 either, but instead will represent an iPhone X-level leap in design. Meanwhile, the world waits for the iPhone 16, which is said to be all about AI-oriented functionality.

Apple is working on a slimmed down version of the iPhone, according to a report in The Information, which cited three people that have direct knowledge of the project. The new phone is expected to launch in September 2025 and could cost more than the iPhone Pro Max, which starts at $1,200 and is Apple’s most expensive model to date.

The thinner device may replace the Plus model as part of the iPhone 17 lineup, a format that hasn’t lived up to Apple’s expectations. However, a line of iPhone 16 phones, including an iPhone 16 Plus, will still be available.

The design has been compared to an iPhone X-level jump forward with a completely new aesthetic. Apple is considering several options for the new device, including an aluminum chassis. There may be a front-facing camera along with Face ID sensors in a smaller pill-shaped cutout, while the rear camera array may be moved to the center of the handset. Finally, the screen size is said to be between 6.12 and 6.669 inches – in between the current base iPhone and iPhone Pro Max.

Exactly how thin it will be is unclear, but the device would follow the recent release of the new iPad Pro, which is Apple’s thinnest product ever. The 11-inch model is 5.3mm thin and the 13-inch model is even thinner at 5.1mm.

Meanwhile, the iPhone 16 is slated to be released in about five months. It is expected to focus on AI advancements with little change to the physical design. One departure, though, may be the replacement of the physical buttons on both sides of the iPhone with solid capacitive versions that simulate button presses. Sources familiar with the matter told the Economic Daily News that a supplier named Advanced Semiconductor Engineering recently secured a contract to provide Apple with a system-in-a-package (SIP) module to be used in conjunction with a pair of Taptic Engine motors and touch-enabled “buttons.”

However, it seems unlikely that the iPhone 16 will go fully touch, and the design is widely expected to follow the iPhone 15.

Another possible change is that an all-new flagship called the iPhone Ultra will be introduced this year to sit above the Pro Max, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.

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