No, the super-highly-anticipated iPhone 8 hasn’t come out yet and, according to a few pessimistic insiders and analysts, it may not see the light of day this year after all, at least not in satisfactory numbers for presumably rampant demand.

There’s also the branding question, which makes it a little silly to call the purported late 2018 generation the iPhone 9. But however it’ll end up being named, research and development is probably underway already.

Component suppliers are lining up, the general design language is devised, corrected and overhauled, while major innovations routinely get shelved due to production risks and difficulties.

Signing an exclusive contract with LG Chemical for the manufacturing of “iPhone 9” batteries sounds like the textbook definition of an uncharacteristic Apple gamble, but none of the other prospective partners can do what the chaebol’s Chem subsidiary is reportedly capable of.

Namely, delivering L-shaped cells allowing Cupertino to squeeze more life out of a 2018 iPhone with a similarly sleek profile and compact size as this year’s “X.” Everyone else, from Samsung SDI to ATL (Amperex Technology Limited) and Japan’s Murata Manufacturing, still does standard rectangular designs, forcing Apple to break with multi-vendor tradition.

Another possible coup for LG, and maybe, just maybe, the long overdue breakthrough iPhones need to become battery life champions.

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