Apple is expected to unveil the hotly anticipated next generation iPhone at the media event on Tuesday, September 9 at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of De Anza College in Cupertino, which will finally put an end to the rumors and speculations.
We take a close look at all the new features, specifications and improvements coming to the new iPhone based on the rumors, speculations and leaked parts.
We gave it away in the title, but it is widely expected that Apple will call its next generation iPhone, iPhone 6, after releasing the iPhone 5s, which was considered an incremental update last year.
The original iPhone came with a 3.5-inch screen, but it was dwarfed by the Android based smartphones that came with larger screens. Apple tried to address it by launching iPhone 5 with a 4-inch screen, which was taller but with the same width as the iPhone 4s so that everything could still be done with one hand. But that did not stop users who wanted smartphones with a bigger screen from switching to Android.
Apple is finally expected to take Android based smartphones head-on by launching iPhone 6 with larger 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens. Few days back, a report claimed the larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 may be called “iPhone 6L.”
The larger screens would also mean increasing the resolution of the screens as it is highly unlikely that the larger displays will feature the same 1136×640 resolution currently seen in the 4-inch iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. So far there have been conflicting reports about the possible iPhone 6 resolution.
KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi-Kuo has predicted the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 model to feature a 1334×750 Retina display with a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch (ppi), and the 5.5-inch model to come with a 1920×1080 Retina Display with a pixel density of 401 ppi. Ming has a good track record when it comes to predicting Apple’s plans based on his supply chain sources.
Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac claims the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will feature a 1704×960 resolution display, which would be three times the base resolution (568 x 320). He claims that Apple will retain the same 16:9 aspect ratio as the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5. This would mean that the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 could come with a pixel density of 416 ppi, and the 5.5-inch model could feature a display density of 356 ppi. The pixel tripling or “3x” mode will the base resolution (568 x 320) and triple it to 1704 x 960 to achieve the Retina Display. Interestingly, iOS 8 beta 5 offers support for 3x image assets. A 1704×960 resolution display won’t show any additional content.
1334×750 (4.7-inch) and 2208×1242 (5.5-inch)
However, well-known blogger John Gruber believes iPhone 6 won’t feature a 1704×960 resolution display, as it would not show any additional content compared to the iPhone 5s/iPhone 5, which is one of the primary drivers for increasing the screen size. While Gruber claims he hasn’t got any information from people familiar with the matter (which is debatable), he believes the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will likely feature a resolution of 1334 x 750 with 326 ppi (which would be the same ppi as the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5), while the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 would most likely have a resolution of 2208 x 1242 with 461 ppi. Interestingly, the functional iPhone 6 made of leaked parts has also hinted at 1334 x 750 resolution.
The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 with 1334 x 750 resolution and 326 ppi would show 38% more content, whereas in the case of the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 with 2208 × 1242 resolution and 461 ppi, would show 68% more content.
Code references in iOS 8 beta have also hinted at a resolution of 828 x 1472. This would mean that the 4.7-inch iPhone 6’s display will feature a pixel density of 360 ppi, and the 5.5-inch model will come with a pixel density of 307 ppi, which would barely meet Apple’s definition of Retina Display, and would be lower resolution than the current iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. It would also make render everything almost 10 percent smaller on a 4.7-inch screen.
One of the main reasons for iPhone warranty claims is cracked and broken screens. There have been rumors that Apple is looking to address this problem by moving from the current Gorilla Glass displays to Sapphire glass with the iPhone 6, which is 2.5 times stronger than the Gorilla Glass. The company has tied up with GT Advanced to kick off its sapphire manufacturing operations in a big way, procuring furnaces, chambers and other materials to make sapphire in large quantities in its Arizona facility.
Sapphire is already used in the iPhone to cover the camera lens and Touch ID. Here’s a video demonstrating its strength:
The Wall Street Journal recently claimed that only the higher end models of both the models will feature sapphire display. Though the definition of the “higher-end” model is not clear. It could be iPhones with higher storage capacity.
Since the launch of the iPhone 4, you could say that there hasn’t been any major changes in iPhone’s design, if you don’t consider the iPhone 5c. iPhone 5s which is the fourth iteration since the launch of the iPhone 4, may have become taller with its 4-inch screen, but still comes with chamfered edges, which was quite iconic when iPhone 4 was launched in 2010.
This is likely to change with the launch of the iPhone 6, as it may sport an all-new design with thinner bezels and rounded edges as opposed to the chamfered edges. Some reports have suggested that iPhone 6 display could be curved along the edges to fit seamlessly with the rounded edges of the back casing.
Sleep/Wake (Power) button
Since the new iPhones will be a lot bigger than the iPhone 5s, the Sleep/Wake (Power) button may be relocated to the upper right side of the device to make it easier to use it with one hand.
iPhone 6 could also be significantly thinner than iPhone 5s thanks to the increase in the size of the device, and the use of advanced LED technology, with one report claiming it will be just 5.59 mm thick, almost 26% thinner than its predecessor. Leaked schematics also suggest that the camera lens will come with a rear-facing camera lens that protrudes by less than 1 mm due to the ultra-thin design.
If the leaks turn out to accurate then the new iPhone will resemble the 5th generation iPod touch and iPad Air/Retina iPad mini with the rounded edges and redesigned pill-shaped volume buttons.
The iPhone 6 may feature Apple’s next generation A8 chip, the successor to the 64-bit A7 chip found in the iPhone 5s. The A8 chip will reportedly be based on a 20 nanometer process, manufactured at TSMC’s fabs, and will be both smaller and energy efficient than the current generation of A-series chips.
Initial reports suggested that the A8 processor could be a quad-core 64-bit processor, but recent reports suggest that it may still be a dual-core processor running at a frequency of 2.0GHz, which would still be a significant jump from the 1.3GHz dual-core A7 processor, which powers the iPhone 5s.
The iPhone 6 could also feature an improved PowerVR GPU from Apple’s long time partner Imagination Technologies, that boasts of up to 50 percent speed boosts. The two companies recently announced that they had extended their licensing agreement. The A8 chip may also include an additional secure enclave that may be used to store credit card details for Apple’s rumored mobile payment system.
Apple reportedly plans to use an 8-megapixel camera in iPhone 6 like the iPhone 5s, but it may come with improvements such as Optical Image Stabalization (OIS) instead of the current software-based stabilisation solution. As the acronym suggests, it’s a way of stabilizing a still image (to try and avoid blurring) or videos (to help avoid shaking effects) using optical methods, and so keeping 100% of the quality. Smartphones have used either accelerometer-based digital stabilisation, where the software adjusts the image framing in response to up/down/left/right input from the phone’s accelerometers, or pure software-based digital stabilisation, where high contrast objects in the frame are ‘tracked’ and used as reference points. Unsurprisingly, OIS produces vastly superior results.
Leaked parts have revealed that the LED flash will be circular, which suggests iPhone 6 will come with a single-LED flash instead of the pill-shaped dual-LED True Tone flash seen on the iPhone 5s, unless Apple has incorporated the True Tone flash in a circular design.
There haven’t been any rumors about iPhone 6 and Touch ID other than the leaked parts. However, Ming-Chi Kuo claims that iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3 will come with Touch ID, and also claims Apple will tweak the Touch ID module design, and use tin instead of the chemicals used previously to enhance durability. So I expect iPhone 6 to also come with the improved Touch ID fingerprint sensor.
A recent study found that improved battery life is the number-one feature prospective buyers of the iPhone 6 are hoping for. However, leaked photos of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 battery have suggested that it will come with a 1,810 mAh battery, a modest improvement over the 1,570 mAh battery in the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c as the larger battery capacity in the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will likely be necessary to power the smartphone’s larger display.
ESM-China electronics analyst Sung Chang Xu claims that iPhone 6 will feature a 2100 mAh battery, 34% larger than iPhone 5s’ battery. He claims that the photos of the battery that hit the web were for the test units.
Meanwhile, leaked photos have revealed that the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 could come with a massive 2,915 mAh battery.
Every year it is speculated that the next iPhone will come with an NFC chip for mobile payments. This year, it hasn’t been any different, but photos of the leaked logic board and reports by reputed publications like the Wall Street Journal, seem to suggest that iPhone 6 may finally come with NFC technology. In fact, according to Wired, NFC for mobile payments will be one of the hallmark features of the device.
Gruber has also suggested that iPhone 6 could have NFC, and a new secure enclave in Apple’s A8 chip that may be used to store your credit cards. Apple may use Dutch chipmaker NXP’s NFC chip in the new iPhones. Apple is reportedly partnering with Visa, MasterCard and American Express for its mobile payments system.
Reports and leaked schematics suggest iPhone 6 will be available with a 128GB storage option. It remains to be seen if Apple will offer a 128GB model for both the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6, as rumors have suggested that Apple may offer the 128GB iPhone 6 model previously, but only for the high-end 5.5-inch model.
iPhone 6 will most likely also come in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB storage capacities like the iPhone 5s.
Leaked parts such as the SIM card tray and Home button have indicated that iPhone 6 may be available in the Space Gray, Silver and Gold just like the iPhone 5s.
iPhone 6 Physical Mockups
This year, the level of leaks has been just unprecedented. While in previous years, we got a good idea of what the next iPhone may look like based on leaked schematics and cases, this year the leakers have taken things to a whole new level with the physical mockups of the iPhone 6. Though the ugly antenna bands are a reminder that the final product will look more finished, the physical mockup give us a good idea of iPhone 6’s form factor.
The video below does a great job at illustrating the differences between the old and new design, showing the protruding camera sensor, the relocated power button, the larger display, the new pill-shaped volume buttons, the rounded edges and more. It also the iPhone 6 physical mockup with every iPhone ever released and other flagship Android phones like Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8, Sony Xperia Z2, and Moto X.
Here’s a roundup of the iPhone 6 parts that have leaked so far:
- 4.7-inch iPhone 6’s rear shell
- iPhone 6 logic board reveals NFC chip
- iPhone 6 logic board showcases 16GB Flash storage
- iPhone 6 A8 chip shown off with 1GB RAM
- Photos of iPhone 6 logic board reveals Qualcomm MDM9625 LTE Modem
- iPhone 6 rear logo, internal speaker and vibrator leaked
- iPhone 6’s round TrueTone flash module
- iPhone 6 speaker assembly
- iPhone 6 SIM card tray and Home button
This hands-on video of the functional iPhone 6 assembled with the leaked parts, which even boots to the “Connect to iTunes” screen, gives the best glimpse of what the new iPhone will look like:
iPhone 6 will come pre-installed with iOS 8, Apple’s next generation mobile operating system which was unveiled at the WWDC 2014 in June. It includes hundreds of new features and improvements such as Interactive Notifications, all-new Messaging app, QuickType, third-party keyboard support, Notification Center Widgets, Family Sharing, and lots more.
It is not clear what changes Apple will introduce for the larger iPhone 6 models. A lot will probably depend on the resolution of the new screens, if Apple decides to opt for the 3x mode, then there might not much changes, but if Apple goes for the 1334 x 750 resolution, then there could be some changes in the user interface such as an additional row of app icons on the Home screen etc. The other unknown is whether the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 will behave more like a bigger iPhone, or like a bigger iPad. If it behaves like a bigger iPad then it could get features such as the rumored split screen multitasking, message list view in the Mail app in the landscape mode etc to take advantage of the bigger screen.
There have been reports which have indicated that Apple may raise the price for the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 by $100, which would mean the entry level 5.5-inch iPhone 6 will be available for $299 with a carrier contract or $749 for the unlocked version, and the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will be available for $199 with a carrier contract, and $649 for the unlocked version.
There have also been rumors that the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 could see a starting price of $750, while the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 could start at $950.
Release date and availability
Apple is expected to unveil the new iPhone at the media event on September 9, followed by the launch on September 19. Some reports have indicated that the launch of the bigger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 may be delayed, and may not go on sale alongside the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 due to production issues.
We expect U.S, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore and United Kingdom to be the first launch countries just like last year.
It will be interesting to see which of these rumored features and improvements will make it to Apple’s 8th generation iPhone. If most of these rumors turn out to be true then iPhone 6 could be one of the biggest upgrades since the launch of the original iPhone.
We’re super excited about iPhone 6, and can’t wait for September 9th. What about you?