iPhone 6 vs. iPhone 4: Early Look at What to Expect

Sometime later this year, Apple will announce, and release, a brand new iPhone. It does so every year. This year’s iPhone is currently dubbed iPhone 6 though that name, like its release date and features, is far from confirmed. When the iPhone 6 does arrive, it will join a number of devices on the market including the aging iPhone 4. More importantly, it will serve as another option to those who may have held onto the iPhone 4 and will be looking for a new smartphone later this year.

In the summer of 2010, Apple introduced a new iPhone dubbed iPhone 4, a device that replaced the iPhone 3GS with a host of new specifications including a revamped design made of plastic, metal and glass. The iPhone 4 also debuted with iOS 4, an operating system that has been replaced three times over.

In September of last year, after a solid run, the iPhone 4 was discontinued in favor of an iPhone lineup that features the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and the iPhone 4s. The iPhone 5 was also killed off. The iPhone 4 is still available through places not called the Apple Store, Apple has also killed off support for the aging relic, something that has likely started to force many owners into looking for a new smartphone in 2014.

One of those devices is likely 2014′s iPhone, the phone that is currently being dubbed iPhone 6. While rumors remain fairly scarce, there is still some very credible information out. There is also a ton of Apple history to look at when making educated guesses about any incoming iPhone model. With that in mind, we want to take an early look at how we expect the iPhone 4 to match up against the iPhone 6, something that we think should help those thinking about finally ditching their old iPhone while also persuading some consumers to pass on the iPhone 4 right now.

Release Date

The iPhone 4 is old. For those curious, the iPhone 4 was first announced on June 7th, 2012 at Apple’s WWDC conference in San Francisco. In true Apple fashion, it was released just a few weeks later on June 24th, 2010. In February of 2011, Verizon put the iPhone on sale for the first time with its own CDMA version of the iPhone 4. While many iPhone 4 owners have come off contract and bought into something else, Apple’s lengthy software support means that the iPhone 4 is likely still in the hands of a lot of its original users.

It’s also in the hands of many people who bought the iPhone 4 at some point between its launch in 2012 and today. No, the iPhone 4 is not on sale through Apple but that doesn’t mean that it has completely vanished. There are still plenty of ways to buy the device. And there are likely still plenty of people that are considering it as their next smartphone, even though it was released over three years ago.

Point is, the iPhone 4, despite its age, is still relevant. Relevant because there are still people who tote it, still relevant because it’s on sale through third-party vendors. And that means that it’s going to be sized up against the iPhone 6, in one form or another.

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The iPhone 6 release date rumors span 2014.

The iPhone 6 release date rumors span 2014.

Maybe the first thing that current iPhone 4 users, and those trying to decide between a new phone, will be wondering is when this year’s iPhone will be out.

Rumors haven’t narrowed anything down just yet with iPhone 6 release date rumors spanning across the entire 2014 calendar. However, in our opinion, there are two release dates that consumers can circle on the calendar.

The first one, in the summer, in and around Apple’s WWDC conference. Apple hasn’t announced an iPhone at WWDC since the iPhone 4 so it would be a change but it’s still a possibility nonetheless. The second, sometime in the fall like the iPhone 4s, iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s before it. Anything sooner would be incredibly shocking and anything extremely late in the year the same.

What’s key is that it should be a few months before the iPhone 6 comes to “challenge” the iPhone 4 and a few months before current iPhone 4 owners can decide on it as a replacement.

Display

When the iPhone 4 arrived, it brought major changes to the iPhones display. While it kept the same 3.5-inch display size, it introduced the iconic Retina Display which at the time offered some of the best looking mobile content that money could buy. Thanks to its 326 pixels-per-inch and 960 x 640 screen resolution, the iPhone 4 display was one of the device’s major selling points.

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Since the arrival of the iPhone 4, Apple has kept the Retina Display though it has changed the size of the iPhone’s screen. Now, instead of a tiny 3.5-inch display, the company has installed a 4-inch display, a size found on the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5. While it’s not clear what size screen the iPhone 6 will use, rumors suggest that Apple will be going even bigger this year in an effort to compete with the larger Android phones that have proven to be popular with consumers.

Reports have indicated that the iPhone 6 will finally introduce the massive display that many consumers have been waiting for. So far, iPhone 6 display rumors have centered around a 4.5-inch to 5-inch display though a specific size has yet to be decided upon, likely because Apple is testing different sizes.

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NPD DisplaySearch, which accurately predicted the iPad 3′s Retina Display, claims that Apple is working on two different display sizes including a 4.7-inch 1280 × 720 display and a 5.7-inch 1920 × 1080 display. Respected KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo believes Apple is planning an iPhone 6 with a 4.5-inch to 5-inch display in 2014. Kuo accurately predicted many of the iPhone 5s features ahead of the launch. NPD and Kuo are not alone.

These rumors have been echoed by publications like The Wall Street Journal, a known Apple mouthpiece, and a publication that often helps to set iPhone expectations.

Nothing is set in stone but we expect the iPhone 6 to have a larger, better display than the one found on the iPhone 5s. Given that Apple is unlikely to shrink the iPhone 6 or make the display worse, we have to figure that it will be larger and better than the display found on the iPhone 4 as well.

Design

When the iPhone 4 first arrived, it was a huge change from the plastic smartphones that consumers had grown accustomed to. The previous iPhone model, the iPhone 3GS, was made entirely out of plastic. So the iPhone 4 design, which is made up of plastic, a metal band and a glass back was seen as a monumental shift in quality.

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For a phone that is now more than three years old, the iPhone 4 remains fairly sleek. No, it can’t compare to some of the flagships of last year when it comes to build quality and size but it’s solid nonetheless. For those into specifics, the iPhone 4 is a slim 9.3mm thin and weighs a manageable 137 grams.

That said, it has nothing on the smartphones of 2013 and it’s unlikely to compare to the smartphones of 2014 either. iPhone 4 users making the switch to the iPhone 6 should expect a device that features a premium build. Whether that’s the same anodized aluminum or something better, we can’t say, but there is no way that Apple will backtrack with its premium iPhone model.

That also means that it should be thin and lightweight. Apple should be able to keep the overall size of the iPhone 6 down by thinning out the bezels, much like it did on the iPad Air. The company continues to strive to make its mobile products more portable and we can’t imagine an iPhone 6 that is any bulkier or heavier than the iPhone 4.

iPhone 6

Given the size of the display, whether it’s 4-inches or larger, we expect it to be larger overall, but don’t expect it to be a device that requires two hands to use or feels like its anything less than a $200 piece of hardware.

Specs

When the iPhone 4 first arrived, it featured some of the best hardware around. A 5MP camera that could shoot solid photos and video. A single-core Apple A4 processor. 512MB of RAM to help add horsepower and provide great performance. Its battery also provided great battery life as well, at least at the time. Remember, this was over three years ago when this phone came out.

We’re now in 2014 and mobile technology has come a long way. Quad-core processors, 13MP cameras, 3GB of RAM, massive batteries, and more are the absolute norm. Users have come to expect superb performance whether it’s during multitasking or gaming. And while we don’t have an iPhone 6 spec sheet sitting in front of us, we can confidently say that the iPhone 6 will best the iPhone 4 in all of these areas.

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It will come with a 64-bit processor that will offer high performance and take full advantage of Apple’s new iOS software that was built with 64-bit in mind. It will come with a camera that is either on par or better than the one found on the iPhone 5s which is already much better than the camera found on the iPhone 4.

The iPhone 4 also only came in 8GB, 16GB and 32GB form. The iPhone 6 will more than likely come in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB though there is a chance that we could finally see a 128GB model.

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What this means is that consumers can expect just about everything on the iPhone 6 to be faster, better, and more efficient than anything on the iPhone 4. That’s the beauty of mobile technology.

Software

The iPhone 4 currently runs iOS 7, Apple’s latest software update. And while we have heard good things, we’ve also heard about performance issues and bugs that have frustrated iPhone 4 users. This isn’t a surprise. This is an old phone running a new piece of software that was built for 64-bit processors. It’ll run but it’s not going to run as well as it does on a phone like the iPhone 5s.

Furthermore, Apple’s iPhone 4 is going to stay on iOS 7 too. It has received three major software updates which is the max that iPhones receive. That means that this year’s iOS update, likely iOS 8, will probably not come to the iPhone 4. That means iPhone 4 users will not only miss out on bug fixes but also features, possibly hundreds of features.

The iPhone 6 on the other hand will come with iOS 8, stock, and it will likely run beautifully on Apple’s brand new smartphone. Throw in the fact that the iPhone 6 is going to get three years of support like the iPhone 4 did and it’s easy to see why buying the iPhone 4 right now would be a huge mistake.

Performance and longevity are two key components of every smartphone. And while the iPhone enjoyed both, itss time has passed.

Carriers

The iPhone 4 does not run on a 4G LTE network and instead uses 3G and HSPA. These pull down data speeds that are much slower than those found on the prominent 4G LTE networks in the United States. In the U.S., AT&T, Sprint and Verizon all utilize the iPhone 4 though it’s not officially available for T-Mobile or U.S. Cellular. It is, however, compatible with several regional carriers in the United States.

The iPhone 6 will almost certainly arrive for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon, just like the iPhone 5s, in addition to various smaller carriers that dot the landscape. It will also run on their 4G LTE networks, unlike the iPhone 4. This isn’t confirmed but it’s seems incredibly likely.

Price

Finally, the price. The iPhone 4 is still available through some carriers, Virgin Mobile being one of them, where it’s being sold off-contract. Virgin Mobile is selling it for $199.99 and we imagine that it can be found for cheaper through other places.

The iPhone 6 price may jump in 2014 due to a larger screen.

The iPhone 6 price may jump in 2014 due to a larger screen.

This all but ensures that the iPhone 6 will be more expensive than the iPhone 4. On-contract, we expect the iPhone 6 to command at least $199.99 for the lowest model. This is the price that Apple has set over the years though its one that is in flux due to the new technology that is on board. High resolution displays aren’t cheap.

Off-contract, we expect the iPhone 6 to be no cheaper than $500 and it will likely command upwards of $600. This is reasonable given that the iPhone 6 is new and the iPhone 4 was introduced in 2010.

Comments

  1. Patrick says

    This whole article was a complete waste of time and full of nothing but dribble. Good job making all the same CRAP GUESSES everyone did on the 5, lol, still didn’t get your big screen then either! Get a real job, you suck at this one!

  2. Hardy says

    Agreed…this was kind of a waste of time. Why would you compare a four year old phone to one that has not even been released?

  3. David says

    Nice article, I’ve been holding onto my iPhone 4 since I bought it new in 2010 although since then I’ve had one replacement model from apple after an idiot spilled beer on the first one. The geniuses at the apple store couldn’t fix it but only took £135 for a brand new replacement (same day) and my insurance company wanted £100 (2 weeks) so it was a no brainer. Both phones survived multiple drops but the recent one got cracked and apple wouldn’t replace it. They tried to sell me the 4s but I went to a local phone repair shop and got it fixed for £30.

    To me the 4s,5,5c and 5s have not been worth the upgrade so far but the iPhone 6 is definitely looking promising. I see a lot of new apps aren’t compatible with the 4 so your probably right about IOS 7 being the last update. 4G is pretty much guaranteed if not some other technology which is just as fast or faster. I’m also fairly confident the camera will be miles better even if it’s not 3D along with the screen size. I just hope the casing is more durable and the battery life is much better, anything else is a bonus.

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