Those thinking about buying an iPhone in the next few months are going to face some tough decisions. For some, it will be choosing between the iPhone 5s or Apple’s 2014 iPhone, currently dubbed iPhone 6. While the iPhone 6 is still shrouded in a whole lot of mystery, we want to take a look at how the rumored device is progressing next to the iPhone 5s, Apple’s current iPhone.
Every year, Apple releases a new iPhone. In the case of last year, it was iPhones as the company debuted not one, but two new iPhone models to take on the likes of Android and Windows Phone. The iPhone 5c is the company’s plastic budget option. The iPhone 5s represents the company’s flagship model and the one that attracts the most attention. And while the iPhone 5s is the company’s flagship for the time being, there will come a time when it passes the torch.
Rumor has it, the iPhone 5s could be relinquishing the top spot as early as this summer, and it’s those rumors, and others, that have prospective smartphone shoppers on edge.
For weeks, we’ve been asked the same questions by family and friends: “Should I buy the iPhone 5s or wait for the iPhone 6?” “When is the iPhone 6 coming out?” “What will the differences be?” While we can’t answer those questions exactly, we can offer those with similar questions a look at how the iPhone 6 currently stacks up with the iPhone 5s.
Here, we do just that. While the iPhone 6 and its upcoming release date are still moving parts, we feel like we have enough information to make some comparisons in a few key areas this early. So here, we take a look at how the rumored iPhone 6 is currently matching up with Apple’s current iPhone, the iPhone 5s.
While the iPhone 6 isn’t as exposed as the Samsung Galaxy S5, there are still some very credible rumors that allow us to start painting a picture of the device, comparing it to the iPhone 5s. Maybe the most important piece of information that smartphone shoppers seek in the early days is the release date.
Well, iPhone 6 rumors across the board point to a release either in the summer or the fall. This makes sense because Apple always announces, and releases, its new iPhone either in the summer or the fall. The company has not released a new iPhone in the summer since the iPhone 4 all the way back in June of 2010.
The Wall Street Journal claims Apple is preparing two iPhone 6 models with larger screens and that the smaller one is, “further along in development, and is being prepared for mass production,” while the larger iPhone 6 is in, “preliminary development,” according to the sources. This could explain why we’ve heard rumors that point to one iPhone release this summer with another in the fall.
Still, specific dates remain out of reach, and they likely will remain out of reach until much later in the year. Specific iPhone release date rumors typically don’t emerge until a few weeks prior to launch.
So, if these rumors are dead on and there is likely some truth to them, the earliest we’ll see a new iPhone is this summer and the latest that we’ll see an iPhone 6 is the fall. In other words, the iPhone 5s has quite a bit of life left in the tank. It also means that those who decide to wait will likely be waiting for several months.
The iPhone 5s kept the same design as the iPhone 5 like ‘S’ iPhone models tend to do. However, this year’s iPhone is expected to be an iPhone 6 and Apple always changes the design with the numbered version of its iPhone. We saw it change after the iPhone 3GS launch with the iPhone 4. And we saw it changes after the iPhone 4s launch with the iPhone 5.
The iPhone 5s is one of the lightest, thinnest smartphones on the market thanks to its 7.6mm frame that weighs a mere 112 grams. Its industrial design also makes it feel like a piece of $200 hardware.
We haven’t heard too much about the iPhone 6 design but it’s reasonable to think that Apple will make some design tweaks. Just how much different the design will be is up for debate.
According to a Wall Street Journal report the iPhone 6 will use the same anodized aluminum material. A 9to5Mac report recently revealed that Apple is fast tracking the output from the Sapphire factory that it invested in during 2013. This points to the possible use of Sapphire with this year’s iPhone. Sapphire is a strong material that could be used with the iPhone 6′s display, making it nearly impossible to break.
Reports also suggest that the iPhone 6 will come with a larger display. If that’s the case, we could see a new design with thinner bezels and a new look that helps Apple keep the overall size of the iPhone down, even with the addition of a larger screen. A recent iPhone 6 concept shows what a larger iPhone could look like next to the iPhone 5s.
A recent report from LEDInside of TrendForce claims that the iPhone 6 will be thinner than Apple’s previous iPhone models thanks to a shift from 0.6 mm thick LED backlights to backlights that are just 0.4 mm thick. It’s not clear how much thinner the iPhone 6 is expected to be.
At the moment, the differences are tough to gauge, but it does appear that the iPhone 6 could take design cues from the iPhone 5s, could feature a more durable screen in front, and offer a larger but thinner form factor.
It’s not set in stone but it’s looking like the iPhone 6 will offer a larger screen than the 4-inch Retina display found on the iPhone 5s. Sources can’t agree on a screen size just yet, likely because Apple is still testing prototypes, but they do offer a pretty specific window that Apple is working with for its next iPhone.
The Wall Street Journal believes the company will deliver a 4.5-inch and a 5+-inch iPhone 6. NPD DisplaySearch believes that two iPhone 6 models with higher resolution displays will be coming in 2014. A KDB Daewoo Securities report uncovered by OLED-Display includes two iPhone 6 display sizes. Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who accurately predicted many iPhone 5s features, thinks Apple is planning an iPhone 6 with a screen between 4.5-inches and 5-inches.
Here’s how that breaks down:
- 4.5-inch display – WSJ
- 4.7-inch display – 1600 x 900 resolution – NPD
- 4.7-inch to 4.8-inch display - 1920 x 1080 resolution – KDB
- 4.5-inch to 5-inch display – Kuo
- 5+ inch display – WSJ
- 5.5-inch display – 1920 x 1080 resolution – NPD
- 5.5-inch display – 2272 x 1280 resolution – KDB
The video below shows what iOS 7 looks like on larger screens from 4.5-inches all the way up to 5.7-inches. A larger iPhone 6 above 5-inches will challenge Apple to design a phone, and software, that continues to support the one-handed use current iPhone owners love.
A research note from KDB Daewoo Securities claims a great number of possible iPhone 6 specifications. Drawing from that note and from other reports, here is a list of features currently rumored to be on board the iPhone 6.
- Apple A8 64-bit processor
- iOS 7.2 or iOS 8
- 4.5-4.8-inch and 5 -5.5-inch displays
- 2GB RAM
- 16GB / 32GB/ 64GB / 128GB storage options
- 3.2MP front-facing camera
- 8-10MP rear-facing camera
- 1,800 mAh battery
- 802.11ac WiFi
- Touch ID
Here is how the iPhone 5s matches up:
- Apple A7 64-bit processor
- iOS 7
- 4-inch Retina Display
- 1GB RAM
- 16GB / 32GB / 64GB storage options
- 1.2MP front-facing camera
- 8MP rear-facing camera
- 1570 mAh battery
- 802.11 a, b, g, n Wi-Fi
- Touch ID
The biggest differences from the iPhone 5s would include the change in processor. The iPhone 5s utilizes a 64-bit A7 chip and an upgrade to a new A8 would likely offer even better performance. Apple’s current iPhone uses 1GB of RAM so an increase in RAM would also help be key to areas like multitasking and gaming.
Another big change could be the inclusion of 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Timothy Arcuri of Cowen and Company claims that the iPhone 6 specs are “locked in” and that 802.11ac will be on board. This is a feature that enables faster Wi-Fi speeds and it’s a feature that is currently found on Apple’s new Mac lineup.
iOS 8 will almost certainly be the software that debuts with the iPhone 6 and from the looks of things, it’s not going to be another major overhaul to the iOS operating system.
According to 9to5Mac, the iOS 8 update will not bring a lot of visual changes. Instead, it will pave the way for health and fitness tracking. Apple is working on an app code named Healthbook which may connect with sensors in an iPhone 6 or iWatch to help users track and manage a number of things including steps taken and calories burned.
It’s not clear whether or not the iPhone 6 will boast any unique features though it would not be surprising to see Apple tailor some of its apps for the larger display.
One thing that we should note is that when and if iOS 8 arrives, it will be the first major iOS update for the iPhone 5s which debuted with iOS 7 back in September. What this means is that iOS 8 will serve as a strike for the iPhone 5s. Apple tends to give devices three years of support before killing it off and that should mean a longer life for iPhone 6. That’s something prospective buyers need to keep in mind.
iPhone 6 Price
Chris Caso of Susquehanna Financial Group thinks the price of the iPhone 6 could jump up from the iPhone 5s. Caso says that his firm sees ” the potential for the iPhone 6 price point to move higher,” adding, “we think Apple could get away with a $50 to $100 premium for a larger screen size iPhone 6.” Apple’s iPhone 5s starts at $199.99 on-contract.
Thus far, this is the only iPhone 6 price rumor that we’ve seen. However, it does make sense. Apple could perhaps shift the iPhone 5s to $99, introduce a 4.5 to 4.8-inch iPhone 6 at $199 on contract and a larger than 5-inch model at $249 or $299 on contract. That’s just speculation but it makes sense given Samsung’s pricing for its Galaxy S and Galaxy Note.