Sunday, July 13, 2014

iPhone 6 Rumor Roundup


There have been months of rumors regarding the next iPhone, dubbed the "iPhone 6" by bloggers and the media. Increasingly the rumors are coming from reliable sources, and some are now being supported by leaked images. Here's a roundup of what the rumors are saying.

As always, it's important to realize that rumors fall short of fact and that we won't know for sure what the new iPhone will be until Apple announces it, which will most likely be in September. Accompanying this post is a rendering by Martin Hajek based on the cases that manufacturers are already making and purported specs. It shows what a bezel-free, 4.7-inch iPhone may look like. You can see more renderings on NWE.


The rumors have converged around the new phone having a 4.7-inch display. Concrete evidence began surfacing in April, which I covered in a post on leaked photos of molds used to make the casing. The image at right shows the mold in comparison to an iPhone 4s. While earlier rumors said the phone would have a 1,920 x 1,080 display, most recently a credible rumor said it will have a resolution of 1334 x 750 (326ppi). You can read more in my post about Apple's roadmap for 2014, which relays information from Ming Chi Kuo, who usually has solid inside knowledge of what Apple is coming out with. Also, my post on leaked specs noted the iPhone 6 could sport an "ultra-retina" display at 389 ppi.

In addition, rumors have converged around Apple releasing a second new phone later in the year (or early next year) that would have a 5.5-inch display, which Ming Chi Kuo affirmed. In February I passed along the rumor that this "phablet" might not carry the iPhone moniker. Kuo also said that the phablet's display will be made of sapphire crystal or have a sapphire crystal laminate and a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (401 ppi). However, he said Apple may not use sapphire crystal in their 4.7-inch phone. In late February, I posted a hot rumor that the iPhone 6 display may use Quantum Dot technology, which renders colors much more accurately. Finally, in a post in early February, I passed along the rumor that said the phablet will be a 2K device, with 2,272 x 1,280 pixels.


In February we also began to get rumors that the iPhone 6 would have narrower bezels (the left and right borders on the display) or even no bezels. This would mean that while the display would be larger, it would keep the overall size of the phone as small as possible.

I also posted a photo of an iPhone 6 case that suggests the sleep/wake button will be moved to the right side of the phone opposite volume-up button. And I passed along the rumor that the shape of the phone's volume buttons will be an elongated pill shape, similar to the iPhone 5c. In that post I also reported noted that the iPhone 6 will emulate the iPhone 5c's holes on the bottom for the speaker and microphone as well as the iPhone 5c's back, rounded edges. In my post on the bezel-free design, I passed along the rumor suggesting that the Touch ID would be incorporated into the bottom of the display, and that there would no longer be a Home button.


Pretty much everyone expects the phone to have a new A8 processor. In March I passed along the rumor that new processor will be a quad-core chip with quad core graphics. I also posted in March some leaked specs, which included the tidbit that the processor will be a speedy 2.6ghz.


In a post in early February, I passed along some leaked specs that said the there would be a 128GB option for the new phone.


Some rumors have suggested it will be even thinner than the .3 inches of the iPhone 5s, as in this post about leaked specs in which I reported it will be in the range of .22 inches thick.


Rumors suggest the camera will continue to be 8-megapixel but will be much improved and will include optical image stabilization.


In mid-April reported that Apple was talking with the carriers to see what they'd think about a $100 price increase for the iPhone 6. So far, the carriers are balking, but it's possible Apple could succeed in getting them to agree to at least a small increase in price.

Bottom line

Everything points to a 4.7-inch iPhone 6, and a larger 5.5-inch iPhone that would come out late this year, or even possibly early next year. Of course it will have a faster chip, and I'm betting we'll see the A8 processor. I also think it's a good bet that the appearance will change, such as the bezels, button shape, and edges. It will come with iOS 8, a feature of which will be the new Healthbook app for monitoring health and performance, as well as a new version of the Maps app.

What we don't know

There has been little news about the battery, but I think it's safe to assume the battery life will be longer, as Apple adopts new, more energy-efficient technologies. I expect them to use IGZO technology in their future displays, maybe even the iPhone 6. An IGZO display would use up to 90% less energy.

What it means

So is Apple copying Samsung, who's been making larger smartphones for several years? Steve Jobs was pretty clear that he thought a phone should be small enough that you could easily hold it in one hand. But larger phones and phablets have become extremely popular, so much so that a court document in Apple vs Samsung revealed that Apple explicitly acknowledged they needed a device to compete in this segment of the market. Not only does a larger phone seem to contradict the direction Steve Jobs gave, it also goes against Apple's long-held tradition of keeping its product line tightly focused. This has helped Apple be more profitable, as well as sell more devices. Research suggests that when there are too many options, consumers actually make fewer purchases. By the end of the year, we could have three phones to choose from: the iPhone 5s, the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, and a 5.5-inch phablet. That's quite a change for Apple.

Market analysts seem pretty much agreed, though, that the iPhone 6 is going to create the biggest splash of 2014 in the smartphone market. Many are already expecting huge sales for the device, and there are rumors that Apple will be making some 70 million of them. That's a lot of phones. In the meantime, the world awaits breathlessly to hear what Apple announces.

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