Rumors suggest the iPhone 6 release date is still months away in fall 2014, but the first quarter of 2014 arrived with important iPhone 6 rumors and leaks that offer a look at what Apple is planning for a new iPhone, or more likely in two new iPhones for 2014.
The iPhone 6 rumors started to arrive as far back as 2012, but in the last 90 days the leaks and reports started to agree on specific iPhone 6 features and details that help illustrate where Apple is in the process of designing and manufacturing the iPhone 6, and what consumers might see on store shelves later this year.
Tim Cook promised “big plans” for 2014 in a memo he sent to employees in late December, and according to the leaks those very employees could be handing out a larger iPhone 6 with a bigger and better display later this year.
New iPhone 6 rumors arrive daily, and while they may not always agree, this is part of the process we use to piece together what we can expect from the iPhone 6 later this year. We still have a few months before we expect to see much of the device come together, but here are 10 important details that arrived in the last 30 days.
iPhone 6 Release in the Fall
Two rumors in the last 30 days point to an iPhone 6 release date in the fall. If your contract is up and you can’t wait to buy a new phone, the iPhone 5s is the best iPhone you can expect to find on the market for a while.
This is not a done deal, but with no iOS 8 beta in the hands of developers and the past three iPhone 6 models arriving in September or October, these rumors make sense.
An Apple partner is the source of the best information about a potential iPhone 6 release date. GT Advanced Technologies is a U.S. company that Apple invested over half a billion dollars in during 2013, and which many expect will be the source of a Sapphire display cover for the iPhone 6. In an earnings statement the company shares expectation of profits tied to Sapphire production in the second half of the year.
“The company expects that revenue and profitability will be back end loaded, with its sapphire materials business ramping as the year progresses, and with improving financial performance during the second half of 2014.”
Tom Gutierrez, president and CEO shared information about the company and Apple saying, “Our arrangement to supply sapphire materials to Apple is progressing well and we started to build out the facility in Arizona and staff the operation during the quarter.”
This is not the only iPhone 6 release rumor to arrive in February and March, but it is by far the most interesting and the closest to Apple.
iPhone 6 with a 4.7-inch Screen
We continue to hear about an iPhone 6 with a larger display and a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 model is one of the most discussed rumors to date. In early March Andy Hargreaves, an analyst at Pacific Crest shared information with Business Insider which discusses a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 model.
That same day Japanese Apple blog Macotakara shared information about a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 as well. Macotakara also talks about an iPhone 6 with a 5.7-inch display, but suggests it could arrive as part of an expanded product line. This larger iPhone 6 model might offer iPhone 5c colors, but would not necessarily come in plastic.
The iPhone 6 display size could be a major feature for the device and drive a new design.
iPhone 6 Features From a Fast A8 Chip
The iPhone 6 will use a new Apple A8 64-bit processor to deliver the features that Apple will ultimately use to sell the new iPhone according to multiple rumors. The Apple iPhone 5s website copy and ads focus on the camera abilities and other popular features like Touch ID which use the 64 bit A7 processor to deliver a good user experience.
Two iPhone 6 reports in March focused on a new Apple A8 processor that may be made by Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC). Each year we hear about Apple shifting away from Samsung, due to the tough competition between the two companies, but it looks like Samsung may still play a role in the iPhone 6 production.
Ctee Business Times reported that Apple was using (TSMC) instead of Samsung, but a report several days later from ZDNet Korea claims Samsung and TSMC will split the production of the Apple A8 processor, which will likely drive new iOS 8 and iPhone 6 features.
According to well-known Apple leakster Sonny Dickson, the chip will use a 2.6Ghz clock speed that is faster than the iPhone 5s processor.
iPhone 6 Could Tempt Android Users
The iPhone 6 could help Apple tempt Android users to switch away from Android to an iPhone with a new look and a larger display. MacRumors published a report from Brian Marshall of ISI Group which discusses 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 models and the effect it coudl have on upgrades and switchers.
“Large-screen envy” is prevalent among the iPhone installed base and we believe a ~5” form-factor iPhone would spark a massive upgrade cycle as well as many “Android switchers” returning back to the iPhone (we refer to this as the “mother lode” of all Apple upgrade cycles).
Earlier this month Gotta Be Mobile wrote about the iPhone 6 competition, and how Apple is facing a more refined set of devices in 2014 which could counter this draw.
iPhone 6 Price Could Climb
If Apple delivers an iPhone 6 with a bigger display users may also see a bigger price tag at the store, according to Hargreaves. This new iPhone 6 with a larger Sapphire screen could cost more to make, which could lead to a higher price on contract and off. This report suggests the larger display model may demand a $100 premium on contract bumping the iPhone 6 price to $299.
Apple notoriously charges big mark ups for more storage, often $50 to $70 more than its competitors do for storage upgrades. The iPhone 5c did not capture the same attention as the iPhone 5s i the U.S., pointing to customers that are not as price sensitive. Samsung just announced the Galaxy S5 price on contract in the U.S. at $199, which means there is not going to be a race to the bottom for flagship smartphone prices in 2014.
iPhone 6 Dimensions Rumored
While the overall iPhone 6 design remains a mystery, we are hearing about possible iPhone 6 dimensions that show us how tall and wide an iPhone 6 with a bigger display might be, and how this might combine with new technology to offer a thinner device.
The Macotakara report shares two possible sets of iPhone 6 dimensions for both 4.7-inch and 5+inch models. With a larger overall size the device may be thinner while still offering room for components and a larger battery. The rumored iPhone 6 dimensions are below.
- iPhone 4s - 115.5 × 62.1 × 9.3mm
- iPhone 5s - 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6mm
- iPhone 6 (4.7) -140 x 70 x 7mm
- iPhone 6 (5.7) - 160 x 80 x 7mm
Sonny Dickson claims that the iPhone 6 may be as thin as 5.5mm, down from a 7.6mm thick iPhone 5s. This smaller size could ocme in part from new display technology that reduces the thickness needed for display backlighting, as shared in a report on LEDInside of TrendForce.
iPhone 6 Camera Upgrades
The latest rumor is that Apple will not join the race to push more megapixels in 2014. AppleInsider reports that Apple is planning to focus on, “image-enhancing components” based on discussions with people familiar with the matter. While the Galaxy S5 features a 16MP sensor and we could see a higher megapixel count on a Note 4, expect Apple to go for quality without boasting about megapixels.
One rumor that arrived this month is that the iPhone 6 will arrive with Optical Image Stabilization. This is based off supply chain chatter, and could allow users to take better looking photos and videos and enhance low light photography by using a special gyroscope and technology in the iPhone 6 camera. The video above outlines how this could work.
Partners Ready for iPhone 6
One of the earlier Apple A8 chip rumors included a mention of production starting for the processor, and a report from China adds to this claiming an Apple manufacturing partner is planning to hire thousands to staff an iPhone 6 production line.
This report is sparse on details about the device, but it includes talk of iPhone 6 production hitting volume in the third-quarter, which would mean a fall release window.
iOS 8 Coming Together
We expect to see iOS 8 arrive days ahead of the iPhone 6 release, just as Apple’s iOS and iPhone release cycle has been for the past several years. Apple is likely planning to show off iOS 8 at WWDC 2014 in June, but many details are already leaking. We share the latest in our iOS 8 rumor roundup.
Mark Gurman at 9to5Mac shares many details about the new version of Apple’s iPhone and iPad software. Health and fitness are a major focus and a collection of iOS 8 mock ups show what a Healthbook feature could look like. Other iOS 8 rumors flowing from Gurman and his sources include plans for a better Apple Maps, a standalone iTunes Radio app and more.
T-Mobile Will be Ready with Better 4G LTE
T-Mobile is offering interesting plans and incentives to get users to switch carriers, but without a major 4G LTE network it is a tough sell. Earlier this week the company announced that it plans to expand 4G LTE coverage dramatically in the next year.
With a plan to replace half of the current Edge and 2G coverage with 4G LTE by the end of 2014, and completely replace this network with LTE by the middle of 2015, T-Mobile is making a major case for users to look at switching when the iPhone 6 release arrives.
iPhone 6 Concept Shows Small, Medium and Large
iPhone 6 rumors point to a larger display and this iPhone 6 concept is one of the first to show us what the iPhone 6 might look like with three sizes. If Apple introduces two new iPhone 6 models, it is likely that one smaller iPhone 5s type device will remain at a cheaper price.
This iPhone 6 concept from ConceptsiPhone on YouTube shows us what two larger iPhone 6 models could look like next to a mini model that offers a 3.5-inch display. We typically see Samsung and HTC offer three sizes with different versions of a similar phone, so it would not be out of the question. Still, it is more likely that Apple would stick with a 4-inch display on the smallest iPhone they sell in 2014.
Check out more about this iPhone 6 concept.