It’s been a few months since Apple unveiled their forward-thinking iPhone 5S, as well as the iPhone 5C, and rumors have started pouring in about the upcoming iPhone 6, expected to hit retail later this year. Last year, Apple released two new iPhones, and it seems this year’s going to be the same as well, howver, we may not see a new plastic iPhone 6C.
It’s been a few weeks since we started hearing about the device. There’s no word about its name, but let’s go with iPhone 6 — some rumors did suggest it will be known a iPhone Air. For those of you who didn’t manage to keep up with the rumor mill, here’s what you need to know about the upcoming iPhone 6. Do note that these are just rumored specifications and features, and the original product could be different.
1, Bigger is better
The current iPhone 5 and iPhone 5C comes with 4-inch Retina display, but the majority of rumors floating all over the internet hints at a larger screen size for the iPhone 6. Rumors suggest Apple has been testing screen sizes of up to 6-inches, bringing it in line with all the gigantic Android and Windows Phone devices in the wild.
Last month, a report from South China Morning Post suggested Apple is working on two new iPhones carrying a screen size of 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch, respectively, citing their trusted sources who have seen protytpe devices. It’s not just the SCMP, a Chinese blog CTechCn also reported that Apple is working on two new iPhones with 4.7′ and 5.7′ screen sizes, and they were citing some Foxconn insiders.
Furthermore, Chinese analyst Sun Chyang Xu also suggests Apple is working on a bigger 4.7-inch iPhone, but she believes it will retain the same resolution as the iPhone 5. She suggested Apple will start the trial production of the 4.7-inch iPhone in February, with mass production starting in May, and launch pegged at the WWDC in June. She also believes that Apple will launch a 5.7-inch iPhone with a phablet form factor later this year with a higher resolution.
One analyst who has an impressive track record when it comes to predictions related to Apple products is Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities. Let’s not forget his predictions about the upcoming iPhone. He mentioned in a note that Apple will launch an iPhone with a screen size of 4.5-5-inch, and will not go bigger than 5-inch as it will violate its “principle of one-handed use.”
Will Apple launch a new iPhone with a bigger screen? That’s the question most of us have in mind, but the only one who can answer this question is Apple so we have to wait for some time. We’ve seen some metal casings rumored to be of the upcoming iPhone, but we’re not sure how legit they are so we’re taking it with a grain of salt.
2. Sapphire Glass Display
Other than that, Apple is rumored to use Sapphire glass in its upcoming iPhone 6. A report from International Business Times mentioned Apple has paid $578 to GT Advanced Technologies to speed up the development of sapphire glass displays, which is currently used in the iPhone 5S Touch ID home button and iPhone’s rear-facing camera.
Back in January, some documents filed with the Foreign Trade Zone Board were leaked, indicating that Apple wants to make sure its Arizona plant goes live in February to begin work on a “critical new sub-component” for Apple devices. Well, there’s no solid proof, but the upcoming iPhone 6 could use Sapphire glass display. Later, 9to5Mac reported that GT Advanced Technologies has 518 furnaces that could be used to make enough sapphire for 103 to 116 million 5-inch iPhone displays, with another 420 machines that waiting to be assembled.
During an interview with ABC News, Apple CEO Tim Cook did mention that the Arizona plant is for sapphire crystals development.
3. More Plastic?
Last year, Apple launched not one, but two new iPhones: iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. The iPhone 5S received its fair share of success, but based on several rumors and reports, it didn’t turn out to be as popular as Apple would have thought, although Apple didn’t break down the sales numbers of how much iPhone 5S and 5C they’ve sold.
Many must be wondering if we’ll see a plastic iPhone 6C or not? Well, there’s no word about it, but we’ve seen several rumors hinting at the launch of two new iPhones later this year, but they don’t specifically mention if there will be an iPhone 6C. Some do suggest that Apple will not launch an iPhone 6C, but let’s juts take it with a grain of salt as nothing is official until it comes from Apple.
4. A8 Processor
Along with a bigger screen, most of the rumors are pretty confident that Apple’s upcoming marvel will come with an A8 processor under the hood. Last year, Digitimes reported that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) landed a deal with Apple to manufacture 64-biy 20nm A8 processor — the report was taken with appropriate amount of salt due to the sketchy track record of Digitimes.
Later, WSJ also reported Apple has signed a deal with TSMC to begin the production of A8 chips in early 2014. Earlier this month, another report surfaced suggesting TSMC has started mass production of Apple’s A8 chip.
It’s not just the publications, the well-connected Sonny Dickson also tweeted that Apple A8 processor with come with a clock speed of 2.6GHz. For those of you who don’t know, the guy was behind numerous leaks last year before the launch of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C, and was one of the people who revealed the iPhone 5C to the world ahead of its launch.
The latest iPhone 5S resembles a lot to the iPhone 5 in terms of design, with a few notable changes such as new color options, and the inclusion of the Touch ID sensor under the home button. But, overall, it looks similar to the iPhone 5 when it comes to design. Apple’s “S” editions of the iPhone usually carries the same design, but rumors suggest the upcoming iPhone 6 could launch with a new design, which will be lighter than its predecessors with extremely thin bezels. Sonny Dickson tweeted out recently that the new iPhone 6 will be 0.22in thin, compared to 0.3-inch in the latest iPhone 5S.
Some rumors suggest the upcoming iPhone 6 might come with a combination of iPhone 5C and iPod nano — we’re still trying to digest this as how a mash up of iPhone 5C and iPod Nano (7th gen) will look like.
6. Other features
Let’s just start with the camera. Most of the rumors suggest that iPhone 6 will carry an 8MP camera on board, similar to the one found inside iPhone 5S and 5C but with a few improvements on board, including a 1/3′ sensor, f/2.2 aperture size, and optical image stabilization. Before we go into more details, you should know that it’s not just the megapixels that confirms the quality of the camera, other factors come into play as well.
Also, Apple will continue to use the Touch ID sensor in the iPhone 6 for security purposes, and may add uses for it in more apps as well. The rumor mill also suggest Apple will integrate pressure, humidity and temperature sensor in the upcoming iPhone 6.
For the operating system, the upcoming iPhone will undoubtedly ship with iOS 8 on board. Apple generally launches a new version of iOS with iPhone launches. Recently, some alleged screenshots of the upcoming iOS 8 made their way to Weibo, showing some new apps including Textedit, Healthbook and more.
8. Release Date
Apple usually launches new iPhones in Fall. Last year, the company launched the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C in September, and this year, it should be the same as well. Although we’ve seen a rumor that Apple may launch the new iPhones earlier this year, possibly in July or during the WWDC later this year, but it’s a little hard to believe if Apple will change it product refresh cycle. It’s not only July, Digitimes reported earlier that Apple could launch its new iPhone in May this year, citing their sources.
Do note that everything mentioned in the article is based on rumors, and there’s no official word from Apple about anything related to iPhone 6, and there won’t be until the handset is officially launched. So, appropriate amount of salt is required.
Note: All the iPhone images above are concept renders, and the credit goes to their original authors. These are not the original images.