The rumors for the 2019 iPhone haven’t really kicked into full gear yet, however reliable leaker Onleaks partnered with Digit.in to provide renders of what he believes are legitimate 2019 iPhone prototypes.

The images show that the new iPhone would feature three cameras on the back, in a particularly strange aesthetic arrangement, housed in a huge camera square bump. The middle of the three cameras is positioned out of line with the other two, and the camera is offset above …

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Onleaks says these renders are based on EVT hardware, so these aren’t locked down designs just yet. EVT stands for ‘engineering validation test’, and Apple hardware typically progresses from EVT to DVT (design validation test) to PVT (production validation test) stages.

EVT prototypes therefore are relatively early in the process, but general features — like the addition of an extra camera — are typically locked down at this point.

The image is likely to be controversial as the design is so wacky. The flash and lenses alternate in a staggered pattern vertically, and if you look closely, the additional microphone is nestled in the bottom right corner of the square camera bump.

Customers hoping for the eventual removal of the camera bump might need to reset their expectations, if this report is to be believed.

The idea of three rear cameras on an iPhone has been circulating through the rumor mill for a while, but this design implementation is certainly unexpected. It is possible final prototypes line up the cameras more uniformly, which would make the design a tad less ‘crazy’. However, there may also be a functional reason that explains the odd design, perhaps Apple needs more separation between lenses to be able to generate more accurate depth disparity maps than what it can today with only two lenses.

Three cameras may help take better photos, enabling the device to collect more light and color information, or could have applications for augmented reality. It is possible that the third lens is a depth sensor rather than a standard RGB camera lens.

We expect Apple to continue with a three-model lineup in 2019, presumably the triple-camera system will be reserved for the top-end models. Whether Apple will roll with the ‘iPhone 11’ branding, or use a different name for the iPhone XS successor, is unknown.

Onleaks has a good track record of accuracy for new Apple hardware. He nailed the design of the 2018 iPad Pro as early as September last year, and also contributed accurate hardware renders in the run-up to the release of the iPhone X in 2017.

What do you think about these renders? Let us know in the comments.

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