With most of the Android big-hitters out of the way the path is clear for Apple’s iPhone 6 to stomp all over the latter part of the year.
A new iPhone always generates a tremendous amount of excitement but this time around it looks like Apple could be making a lot of changes, making it more exciting and intriguing than ever. At this stage it’s all rumour of course, so nothing’s set in stone, but there’s a whole lot to go on and most of it sounds very promising indeed.
It’s official, the iPhone 6 is going to be announced on September the 9th. Or at least Apple has sent out invitations to an event on that day and while they don’t specifically mention the iPhone 6 it’s almost certainly for that.
The last few iPhone’s have all been launched in September and there’s no reason to think that the new one will be any different, but if you want evidence then how about the fact that according to ifun.de German Apple store employees are having limitations put on their holiday time in September, which certainly suggests a big launch of some kind.
In terms of a specific date a German mobile network has told its staff that the phone will be launching on 19th September according to Apple Insider. On the other hand china.com is reporting that it will be announced on September 15th but not launch until the 25th, though that’s the launch date for China so it’s possible that some other countries will get it slightly earlier, perhaps on the 19th.
China.com also revealed an alleged starting price of 5288 Yuan (roughly £497) for the 4.7 inch model and 5998 Yuan (around £564) for the 16GB 5.5 inch handset, which if anything would make it slightly cheaper than the £549 RRP of the iPhone 5S, though of course that won’t be accounting for VAT and local taxes.
More recent news again points to a September 19th launch, with a promotional flyer out of China saying as much, as well as listing prices that equate to £650 for the 4.7 inch model and £800 for the 5.5 inch handset. While the earlier prices sound a little low, these sound too high, especially for the larger phone, so maybe Apple will meet us in the middle.
However it’s looking like it might actually be September the 9th, not the 19th that it arrives, as Re/code claims as much and that’s the most recent release date rumour to have surfaced. Though it could be that it will be announced then but not hit stores until the 19th.
It’s even possible that it may not hit stores until October the 14th, as MacRumors reports that a store leader mentioned that date as being an “immense” day for Apple, while the whole of October was likely to be busy for the company. However October the 14th is a Tuesday and new iPhone’s normally go on sale on Friday, so take that with a pinch of salt.
It looks like Apple’s gearing up for record breaking sales too, as The Wall Street Journal reports that it’s ordered between 70 and 80 million units of the smartphone. By comparison there were initial orders made for between 50 and 60 million of last year’s models.
Worryingly though the company has apparently ordered enough display components for 120 million iPhones, as it expects to have issues with them. It seems like the issues may be limited to the larger 5.5 inch model, as a source speaking to Venture Beat claims that the larger model may arrive up to a month later than the 4.7 inch one.
However we should be getting at least one model very soon, as according to G4Games Apple is one step away from putting the iPhone 6 into mass production.
One of the biggest changes we’re expecting to see in the iPhone 6 is a larger screen. So far Apple has kept the screens on the small side, with the iPhone 5S coming in at just 4 inches. That suits a lot of people fine but the wider smartphone market is finding great success in larger screen sizes and Apple seems to want to get in on that.
In fact the iPhone 6 may come in at two different size points. There’ll be the main iPhone 6 which is thought to have a 4.7 inch display and then there will almost certainly also be a phablet sized device with a 5.5 inch screen. Just about every leak regarding the iPhone 6 has pointed to a larger screen, so we’re almost certain that we’ll see one.
With increased size we’re also expecting an increased resolution. Exactly what resolution that will be isn’t known for sure but we’ve also heard that Apple has been testing a 1704 x 960 display, which would allow the device to keep the same aspect ratio while increasing the resolution.
That’s still not quite full HD, but on a 4.7 inch iPhone it will lead to a pixel density of 416 pixels per inch, while the 5.5 inch phablet would be looking at 355 pixels per inch, both of which are higher than the current 326ppi retina display standard.
More recently we’ve also seen a suggestion that it might have an 828 x 1472 or 1242 x 2208 resolution. Those numbers were referenced in iOS 8 files uncovered by 9to5Mac, so there could be something to them.
Whatever the case may be the iPhone 6 screen will probably be bigger and higher resolution, but it may also be a lot stronger. Apple has bought up vast quantities of Sapphire Crystal glass, a material which is far stronger than the glass currently used in phone screens.
However it’s also a lot more expensive, so we’re not entirely convinced it will be used for screens as big as the iPhone 6 one, because doing so would likely drive the price way up. Our money is on it being used for the iWatch instead, but you never know.
In fact recent rumours suggest we may well be in for a sapphire screen, with various stress test videos popping up showing that the iPhone 6 display (or things that are supposedly iPhone 6 displays) can withstand scrapes, scratches and bangs, suggesting a stronger material, like sapphire.
It’s far from indestructible though as a YouTube video from Marques Brownlee showed it come off the worse for wear when pitted against sandpaper. That also suggests it’s not pure sapphire as pure sapphire would have been able to survive the sandpaper scratch-free.
In fact other rumours suggest it might not be sapphire at all. According to LEDinside the quantities of sapphire required to equip the iPhone 6 screen with it don’t appear to have been ordered from anywhere, which they almost certainly would have been by now if the iPhone 6 was going to use the super hard material.
On the other hand the Wall Street Journal reports that Apple may be considering a separate, premium version of the iPhone 6 which will have a sapphire screen and carry a higher price tag, while the standard version won’t be equipped with sapphire.
A source speaking to Venture Beat claims that Apple isn’t using sapphire at all but that it is using some other material which is stronger than Gorilla Glass but weaker than sapphire, though what that material might be wasn’t said.
Given that the iPhone 6 will likely have a bigger screen than its predecessor it’s logical to assume that it will also have a bigger body. The exact dimensions aren’t known, but a design schematic leaked to Macotakara suggests that it will be 66m wide (the iPhone 5S is 58.6mm wide). However it also claims that the iPhone 6 will be just 7mm thick, making it slimmer than the 7.6mm iPhone 5S.
To give you an idea of just how slim that is take a look at this image posted to Chinese site WeiFeng, showing what appears to be an iPhone 6 frame side-on.
More recent rumours have also supported the idea of a super-slim handset but you needn’t worry about the battery size taking a hit as a result, because apparently it will have a similar or possibly even slightly larger capacity than the iPhone 5S.
As well as being super slim it’s thought that the iPhone 6 will have a curved design, more in line with the 3GS than the 5S.
A video posted by ifanr.com gives us our first look at what is apparently the front panel of the iPhone 6. Not a dummy unit but the actual final production model, or something very close to it anyway. It doesn’t reveal a whole lot that wasn’t already known or suspected, really it looks a lot like the front of the iPhone 5S, albeit bigger obviously.
However there seems to be an extra sensor of some sort at the top, while the bezels are noticeably more curved, which fits with previous rumours of it being a more curved device overall.
Around the same time as that video went online, serial leaker Sonny Dickson sent some images of the front panel to 9to5Mac, giving us a clear look at it.
It also looks like the volume and power buttons might have been changed slightly, going by some images taken by Apple.Club.tw. The photos aren’t much to look at but they show that the power and volume buttons are now two separate parts, when in previous models they were connected.
It’s believed that this has been done so that the power button can be relocated from the top of the handset to the right hand side, as it would be hard to reach it on the top given the increased size of the phone. It also looks as though the volume buttons are going to be larger this time around.
We’ve also seen some images of the back panel, with the most complete ones yet being revealed by uSwitch. The most interesting feature of these is the plastic Apple logo. It could well be that this will be used to improve reception or for NFC (since getting either through metal isn’t easy), but uSwitch theorises that as the plastic is semi-transparent it might light up to alert users of notifications.
Most exciting of all we’ve now seen what is purportedly the first image of a fully complete iPhone 6. The photo comes from KitGuru which has accurately leaked iPhone snaps in the past, so it could be legitimate. It’s also largely in line with what we’ve already seen, including rounded edges and redesigned buttons.
Since then other images showing a supposedly finished iPhone 6 have appeared, such as a gorgeous selection from luxury iPhone vendor Feld & Volk, which again shows a similar design to what we’ve seen before, but in crystal clear clarity.
If photos just aren’t good enough though then how about a video? YouTube user Rozetked has uploaded a video showing what appears to be a finished iPhone 6. The commentary is in Russian but if you enable the English subtitles you’ll hear all sorts of details, including the fact that the screen is apparently not made of sapphire and the Apple logo doesn’t light up, but that NFC will be included.
We’ve even seen what might be the first iPhone 6 press image, outed by a Chinese network and spotted by Sina Mobile News. The image doesn’t reveal much in the way of details but the phone in the picture has the rounded edges that have been heavily rumoured since day one.
And Apple must be really getting close to shipping the iPhone 6 because photos of what appears to be a retail box have now been obtained by TechRadar. There’s some question as to the authenticity of the images, given that the iPhone 6 in the box looks a lot like certain Chinese knockoffs, but you never know, this could be our first glimpse of how the phone will be packaged.
The iPhone 5S has a dual-core Apple A7 processor, so we’re expecting the iPhone 6 to have an A8 processor. The number of cores may go up as well, with rumours suggesting we could be in for a quad-core handset.
However whether dual or quad-core it’s thought that Apple will be more focussed on providing efficiency in order to improve the battery life than on delivering massive performance boosts.
Though other rumours, this time from cnBeta.com, suggest that it will still be dual-core, albeit clocked at a much faster 2GHz (the iPhone 5S is just 1.3GHz). A source speaking to Venture Beat also claims it will have a 2.0GHz A8 processor, so that’s seeming likely.
Little has been said about the RAM. The iPhone 5S only has 1GB so we’d be surprised if the iPhone 6 has more than 2GB and there may be no increase at all given that the 5S doesn’t seem to have any problems running well on that little RAM. But even if it does stick with 1GB it might be faster, as industry watcher Matt Margolis reckons that Apple is going to switch to faster LPDDR4 DRAM.
As well as a processor boost the iPhone 6 might support faster mobile data as MacRumors has turned up an image of what’s supposedly an iPhone 6 logic board, complete with a Qualcomm MDM9625 chip which supports speeds of up to 150Mbps.
There have been various conflicting rumours surrounding the iPhone 6’s camera. We’ve heard talk of a 13 megapixel sensor but the most prevalent rumours point to Apple sticking with an 8 megapixel one.
That doesn’t mean the camera won’t be getting better though. There have been reports that Apple will be both upping the pixel size, to allow more light in and including Electronic Image Stabilisation, to minimise the effects of camera shake. So expect a refined but not revolutionised camera.
It isn’t likely, but there’s a small chance that we’ll see an iPhone 6c alongside the heavily rumoured 4.7 inch and 5.5 inch iPhone 6 models.
This rumour stems from a product listing for iPhone 6c screen protectors, spotted by GSMArena. There’s no information to accompany them, other than the fact that it comes in both 4.7 and 5.5 inch sizes like the main iPhone 6.
This is almost certainly just a retailer covering itself in case an iPhone 6c is announced, but there’s an outside chance that it could happen as Apple may want to continue appealing to buyers who can’t quite stretch to its premium prices.
The iPhone 6 is obviously going to run iOS 8, especially now that the software has been announced and it’s also a safe bet that it will come with Touch ID and a motion co-processor just like the iPhone 5S.
But we might see some new features too. It’s unlikely that any of these will be as substantial as the aforementioned ones, but it looks like the iPhone 6 might include NFC as various sources suggest as much, including one which supplied the information alongside images of the iPhone 6’s circuit board.
In fact that NFC rumour is gaining weight, as Re/code believes that Apple has partnered with American Express for mobile payments, while Bloomberg claims it’s done the same with Visa and MasterCard, with all those payments likely powered by NFC.
It’s also possible that the iPhone 6 might support wireless charging, as Apple has filed a patent regarding the technology. This is less likely though as Apple files all sorts of patents and they often don’t turn into anything.
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