Did Apple just pull a page out of Huawei's design book? Looks like the first leaked render of the upcoming iPhone XI (read: iPhone 11) is mildly inspired by the Huawei Mate 20 Pro – at least to area where cameras rest at the back of the phone.

Courtesy of Digit and OnLeaks, we now have the first look at what might be Apple's biggest and brightest flagship of 2019 – the iPhone XI. There's nothing concrete from Apple's end, but we don't expect much considering how the company likes to keep a low-key even until the day of the official launch, which will take place in September this year.

Earlier leaks have pointed out that there will be three iPhones this year, and we might be looking at the top-end variant in the freshly leaked render, which only shows the rear design of the phone. Given the fact that the official launch is several months away, this is a great deal and sufficient to spike interest in the new iPhones long before they arrive.

The entire year leading up to the day of the 2019 iPhones' launch is going to be filled with several leaks and rumours. But the first one this year is a promising one as it gives a clear look at the triple rear camera setup in the iPhone XI.

The reason we said Apple got inspired by Huawei is simply by looking at the rear cameras stacked inside a square window. But Apple has tweaked a lot of things to make its setup unique upon closer inspection. Firstly the arrangement of camera sensors, LED flash and what appears to be a microphone is nothing like what we've seen in the Mate 20 Pro.

iPhone XI render leaked
iPhone XI render leakedTwitter/OnLeaks

Is it a good thing? We still prefer the way cameras and LED stacked in a 2x2 arrangement inside the square window of Huawei Mate 20 Pro. In the case of iPhone XI, it feels disoriented as the two sensors are aligned vertically just like in the iPhone XS and a third camera sensor is placed between the two, but on the side. It would have been fine until there, but Apple seems to have decided to put an LED flash on top of the third camera and a microphone below it. There's just too much happening in that little space and doesn't match with Jony Ive's ideas.

Before you start panicking looking at this unlike-Apple design, OnLeaks claims the 2019 iPhones are still in Engineering Validation Test (EVT) and a lot could change between now and September. Let's hope so.

Putting all the unappealing visual factors aside, we cannot ignore the fact that Apple is jumping onto the triple-camera setup as early as this year. But it is something that was expected based on some reports from last year. In fact, a recent report by Bloomberg suggested that Apple is looking to adopt long-distance 3D TOF technology in its upcoming iPhones.

We heard first of a TOF lens in Oppo R17 Pro last year, but the technology seemed ahead of its time. With major brands like Apple exploring this area of 3D sensors, and Sony boosting its interest here, we won't be surprised to see plenty of 3D mapping hardware and software in 2019.

TOF or Time of Flight technology is basically the time taken for the light to bounce back off an object to create a 3D map. The third camera in the iPhone XI could be used to create 3D models and focus on the subject much faster. But there's so much more OEMs can explore with the unique sensor in the areas of AR and VR. It still remains to be seen.

Coming back to the leaked render of the iPhone XI, the image shows the same black glass back with Apple's shiny logo at the center and the word "iPhone" written at the bottom. There's no doubt the iPhone XI will support wireless charging and have aluminium core – even if it is for the premium models.

The new Apple iPhone Xs Max and iPhone X are seen on display at the Apple Store in Manhattan, New York, U.S.,
The new Apple iPhone Xs Max and iPhone X are seen on display at the Apple Store in Manhattan, New York, U.S.,reuters

We don't get to see the display side of the iPhone XI in this leak, but rumours have indicated that the notch will continue to be a part of the display. If that's true, then it won't be before 2020 that Apple will switch to punch-hole displays, noted tipster Ice Universe had claimed.

The sales of the current iPhone flagships haven't been great for Apple and these could just be the company's way of pulling up the socks in the event of rising competition. Do you like the new iPhone XI design? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or tag ibtimes_india in your tweets.