Later this year, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is expected to launch a successor to the current iPhone X as well as a version of that successor with a larger display -- I'll refer to it as the iPhone X Plus. Apple has traditionally endowed the Plus versions of its iPhone models with exclusive features -- both software and hardware -- that make good use of the increased bill of materials and increased screen size of the larger devices.
Here are three features that Apple could bring to this year's upcoming iPhone X Plus that could help push customers to buy the bigger, more expensive device.
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1. Apple Pencil support
Analyst Jun Zhang with Rosenblatt Securities recently said that he expects Apple's iPhone X Plus to include support for a next-generation Apple Pencil.
The Apple Pencil is currently an accessory that's exclusive to Apple's iPad Pro line of tablets, but a hypothetical iPhone X Plus would have a jumbo-sized display. Considering the success of Samsung's Galaxy Note series for which an included stylus (marketed as an S-Pen) is a huge selling point, an iPhone X Plus-compatible Apple Pencil makes a lot of sense.
Not only would Apple Pencil support in the iPhone X Plus allow Apple to potentially gain market share among current Galaxy Note users, but it'd be a great selling point for iPhone customers who have been tempted by the Galaxy Note series but haven't wanted to move away from the Apple iOS ecosystem.
2. ProMotion display
The current iPad Pro models incorporate what Apple calls ProMotion displays. These are screens that can refresh their contents at up to 120 times per second and can also scale back that refresh rate to as low as 24 times per second, to save power, if the content on the screen doesn't require a higher refresh rate (think movies).
Although Apple's iPhone X was rumored to include a ProMotion display, this feature didn't make it into the final product. The iPhone X's display can only refresh its contents at a rate of 60 times per second and cannot change based on the content.
Ideally, Apple should bring this technology to the successor to the current iPhone X and the larger iPhone X Plus -- higher refresh-rate displays significantly improve the user experience. But if such a feature is too expensive to implement or draws too much power, it could be a candidate to be an exclusive feature on the iPhone X Plus. That will be more expensive than, and have a larger battery than, the next-generation iPhone X.
3. Sharper screen
The current iPhone X has a display with a pixel density of 458 pixels per inch. The display is quite sharp (something that I can confirm from my experience with the device), but Apple's bigger iPhone models tend to have sharper displays than their smaller counterparts.
According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the upcoming iPhone X Plus will have a display that sports a pixel density of between 480 pixels per inch and 500 pixels per inch. That means it'll be sharper than the display found on the current iPhone X as well as the display on the direct successor to the iPhone X.
A sharper display isn't a game-changing selling point, but if it can be combined with features like the ones above, then that's something iPhone customers who demand the best may ultimately be able to appreciate and be willing to pay a premium for.
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Ashraf Eassa has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple and short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.