The big picture: If you're thinking it's a bit early to be talking about the next iPhone, well, it's really not. It's not uncommon for rumors of next-gen iPhones to crop up this early. For example, renders of the iPhone 11's rear camera system showed up some eight months before Apple officially unveiled the handset.

Apple is reportedly expecting a sharp increase in sales of its next-generation iPhone that's due out in late 2020.

Sources from Taiwan's supply chain tell Digitimes (paywalled, per 9to5Mac) that Apple is telling manufacturing partners to expect in excess of 100 million orders. By comparison, the current-gen iPhone 11 family is expected to sell around 80 million units.

While things like a refreshed design and a new time-of-flight sensor for augmented reality functions will no doubt be alluring, the real key to 2020 iPhone sales will be the inclusion of a 5G modem chip. By this time next year, 5G networks should be far more plentiful - or at least, that's what Apple is likely banking on.

And even if they aren't, some misinformed consumers will no doubt buy the 2020 iPhone under false pretenses.

It'll be interesting to see if Apple rolls out 5G-specific versions of its next iPhone at a premium or if the entire lineup will ship with 5G modems standard. If Apple takes the latter route, will they raise the base price of the iPhone to account for what is likely more expensive modem hardware? Arguments for either strategy could be made but only time will reveal Apple's plan.