iPhone 6 vs. iPhone 4: What We Know Right Now

Later this year, Apple is expected to release a brand new iPhone, a device that is currently being dubbed iPhone 6. The iPhone 6 is likely going to appeal to many current iPhone owners including those who are still holding onto Apple’s aging relic, the nearly four year old iOS 7-powered iPhone 4.

Back in June of 2010, Apple still used WWDC to announce brand new iPhone hardware. At WWDC 2010, Steve Jobs took the stage and showed off the device that the company would use to replace the iPhone 3GS, its popular smartphone that had debuted the year before. The iPhone 4 was a whole lot different than the iPhone 3GS and it ushered in a new era of iPhone design.

Instead of using just plastic, the iPhone 4 utilized a combination of metal, plastic and glass which helped to give the iPhone 4 a more premium feel than many of the high-end smartphones on the market. The iPhone 4 was also the first iPhone to come with a high-resolution Retina Display, a display that has withstood the tests of time and remains on Apple’s current iPhone.

In the months and years since the iPhone 4’s arrival, consumers have scooped up Apple’s former flagship. This is in part due to the iPhone 4’s features but mainly due to the fact that it received software support through iOS 7. iOS 7.1, Apple’s latest iOS 7 update, recently landed for the iPhone 4. While we don’t recommend buying it, the iPhone 4 is certainly still an option, especially for those that want an iPhone but don’t want to fork over tons of cash.

More importantly, it’s still in the hands of many consumers who skipped the iPhone 4s, iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. And given that the iPhone 4 is likely on its last legs, many iPhone 4 owners are finally thinking about making the switch.

Rumors suggest that Apple has a bigger, and better smartphone of its own planned for 2014. Over the past month, we’ve started to hear a lot about the company’s alleged plans. The iPhone 6 release may still be months away but there are still enough credible rumors to warrant an early comparison to the iPhone 4.

This comparison aims to help set the expectations of current iPhone 4 owners as we head deeper into the year and closer to Apple’s inevitable iPhone 6 announcement.

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Release Date

The iPhone 4 is no longer sold through the Apple Store. The iPhone 4s serves as Apple’s budget smartphone option for the moment. And when we say budget, we mean that it’s being given away for free.

Those looking to buy the iPhone 4 shouldn’t have too hard of a hard time. The device is available through third-party routes like eBay and Craigslist though finding one new and in pristine condition could take a little bit of work. Again though, this comparison isn’t aimed at those who are thinking about buying a almost four year old phone. It’s about those who currently own the iPhone 4 and are thinking about upgrading to the iPhone 6.

iPhone 4 owners who are thinking about finally upgrading will likely have to wait several months before they’ll be able to upgrade to the 2014 version of the iPhone.

A 5.5-inch iPhone 6 may not arrive in time to compete with the Galaxy Note 4 on day one.

A 5.5-inch iPhone 6 may not arrive in time to compete with the Galaxy Note 4 on day one.

iPhone 6 launch rumors almost exclusively point to the fall and as we’ve pointed out several times already, the rumors make sense given that Apple’s past three iPhones all launched in the fall. Apple tends to stick with a very particular release cycle so consumers can assume that the iPhone 6 will debut sometime after WWDC.

One of the more credible iPhone 6 release date rumors comes from the CEO of a company that partnered with Apple to sell the iPhone in Russia. Earlier this year, he claimed that the iPhone 6 release date would land in September, 2014 though he declined to offer a release date, probably because he doesn’t have one. The rumor is extremely interesting given that this is the second Apple partner to point to the fall iPhone 6 release date. The information represents the most direct iPhone 6 release date claim because it comes from a company that has an instrumental role in helping Apple sell the iPhone.

While iPhone 6 release rumors have pegged its arrival for the fall, they haven’t gotten specific just yet. In other words, it’s not clear exactly how long iPhone 4 users will have to wait before they can compare the brand new iPhone to their iPhone 4.

We’ve seen a number of recent iPhone 6 release date rumors emerge but here is a rundown of the latest:

  • iPhone 6 release date as early as September – Nikkei
  • iPhone 6 release date in August or September – Steve Milunovich UBS via Barrons
  • iPhone 6 release in the fall – Andy Hargreaves at Pacific Crest via Business Insider
  • iPhone 6 scheduled for third quarter 2014 – ZDNet Korea

Nothing is set in stone but iPhone 4 owners should expect the need to hold onto the iPhone 4 for several more months as Apple prepares its latest creation.

Display

The iPhone 4 was the first iPhone with Apple’s 3.5-inch Retina Display. The display is smaller than the 4-inch Retina displays found on the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s and is significantly smaller than most of the displays found on flagship smartphones of 2014.

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Back in 2012, DisplayMate called the iPhone 5 display, “the best smartphone display we have tested to date.” The publication’s claim carried over to the iPhone 5s which sports the same 4-inch Retina Display with 640 x 1136 pixel resolution at 326 pixels-per-inch. So while the iPhone 4 display is good, it’s not even the best iPhone display on the market right now.

The iPhone 6 display is rumored to be bigger, and better, than the displays found on the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5. Reports suggest that Apple could introduce two new iPhones at two new sizes.

This concept from Martin Hajek shows a iPhone 6 4.7-inch vs iPhone 6 5.5-inch size comparison.

This concept from Martin Hajek shows a iPhone 6 4.7-inch vs iPhone 6 5.5-inch size comparison.

One iPhone 6 model is rumored to have a display that’s between 4.5-inches and 4.8-inches in size. A majority of rumors specifically point to a 4.7-inch display. That model is rumored to have a higher 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution which would put it on par with many of the top Android devices on the market in 2014.

Rumors also point to a larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 that would compete against Samsung’s Galaxy Note. However, it looks like this model could be delayed into next year.

This could resemble the real iPhone 6.

This could resemble the real iPhone 6.

A report from Reuters claims that while Apple is planning a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 release for this fall, the larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 may be delayed. In fact, rumors are starting to point to two possible release dates. EMSOne, Reuters, Ming-Chi Kuo, Steve Milunovich from UBS, and a new report from The Commercial Times all point to a delayed release for the larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6. The Commercial Times suggests that the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 may have been pushed into 2015.

Galaxy S5 vs. iPhone 6 model.

Galaxy S5 vs. iPhone 6 model.

Apple will also reportedly utilize sapphire for the iPhone 6 display. A Sapphire display would mean a more scratch-resistant display. If true, we could wind up seeing a iPhone 6 that not only comes with a bigger sized, higher-resolution screen but a display with improved battery efficiency and image quality.

Design

If the iPhone 6 comes with a larger display than the iPhone 4, it will almost certainly come with a larger overall footprint.

An iPhone 6 with a 4.7-inch display will likely be bigger than the iPhone 5s and iPhone 4s.

An iPhone 6 with a 4.7-inch display will likely be bigger than the iPhone 5s and iPhone 4s.

iPhone 6 design rumors remain inconclusive despite several alleged iPhone 6 design leaks. A recent Macotakara report shared two possible sets of iPhone 6 dimensions for both the 4.7-inch model and 5+inch model.

This iPhone 6 concept incorporates the latest iPhone 6 rumors.

This iPhone 6 concept incorporates the latest iPhone 6 rumors.

While it might come with a larger overall size, the device could be much thinner than the 9.3mm iPhone 4, while still offering room for components and a larger battery. The rumored iPhone 6 dimensions are listed below, compared to both the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 4s.

  • iPhone 4 – 114.3 × 58.6 × 9.3mm
  • iPhone 5 – 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm
  • 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

Well known leakster 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 come 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 rumors suggest Apple may be able to deliver a new iPhone that is up to 26% thinner than the iPhone 5s. A recent leak from Ukrainian website suggests Apple is aiming for a smartphone as thin as 6mm, but Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities believes a 6.5 – 7mm thickness is easier for Apple to achieve.

The iPhone 6 could be as much as 26% thinner than the iPhone 5s.

The iPhone 6 could be as much as 26% thinner than the iPhone 5s.

In a note shared by MacRumors, Kuo says that he believes that the iPhone 6 will come with a power button on right and narrower bezels. The thinner bezels could potentially lead to an edge-to-edge display, something that we’ve seen pop up in rumors as of late. Alleged iPhone 6 photos and mockups claim to show the exact look of the upcoming iPhone but thus far, they are inconclusive given that they could be based on rumors rather than inside information.

Camera

When the iPhone 4 first came out, it had one of the best cameras around. Its 5MP camera sensor came with bells and whistles that allowed users to capture striking photos and video. Unsurprisingly, camera technology has come a long way in the years since its arrival and the cameras on devices like the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S5 put the iPhone 4 camera to shame.

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Some companies have been keen on delivering sensors with high megapixel counts. The 16MP camera sensor on the Galaxy S5 is a prime example. Rumor suggest that Apple may 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. So while the iPhone 6 may not have a 16MP camera sensor like the Samsung Galaxy S5, its camera will almost certainly be better than the shooter found on the iPhone 4s.

A new rumor suggests Apple could offer optical image stabilization in the iPhone 6 to improve photos.

A new rumor suggests Apple could offer optical image stabilization in the iPhone 6 to improve photos.

iPhone 6 rumors also suggest that the iPhone 6 will arrive with Optical Image Stabilization, a feature that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 doesn’t have. Only a few flagship smartphones boast OIS including Google’s Nexus 5 and the LG G2.

Specs

The iPhone 6 will likely come with more than just a new display, new design and a new camera. Apple should perform its yearly hardware maintenance and offer some improvements over the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5. In fact, rumors are already pointing to a number of potential iPhone 6 feature upgrades.

Here, we take a look at how the iPhone 6′s rumored specifications compare to the specifications on the iPhone 4. The point is not to make the iPhone 4 look bad, it’s to highlight potential differences.

iPhone 6

  • Apple A8 64-bit processor
  • iOS 8
  • 4.5-4.8-inch and 5 -5.5-inch Sapphire displays
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB / 32GB/ 64GB / 128GB storage options
  • 3.2MP HD front-facing camera
  • 8-10MP rear-facing camera
  • 1,800 mAh battery
  • 802.11ac WiFi
  • Touch ID Fingerprint Sensor
  • VoLTE

iPhone 4

  • Apple A4 Processor
  • iOS 7.1
  • 3.5-inch Retina Display
  • 512MB RAM
  • 16GB / 32GB/ 64GB storage options
  • 0.3MP front-facing VGA camera
  • 5MP rear-facing camera
  • 1,420 mAh battery
  • 802.11 a, b, g, n WiFi
  • Regular Home Button
  • No LTE

Software

Last year’s iOS 7 update represented the third major update for the iPhone 4. If Apple sticks to its usual pattern, the iPhone 4 won’t get the next iOS update. Again, Apple typically offers three years of support before it ends that support.

What this means is that there is a good chance that the iPhone 4 will not get the next iOS update, presumed to be called iOS 8. iOS 8 is widely expected to debut on June 2nd at Apple’s WWDC 2014 conference in San Francisco. It’s an update that figures to deliver a number of new features and an update that should arrive stock on board the iPhone 6.

IOS 8 Feature Wishlist

Health and fitness are said to be a major focus of Apple’s new iOS 8 update and a collection of iOS 8 mock ups show what the company’s Healthbook feature could look like. Reports suggest that Apple has plans for a better Apple Maps, a standalone iTunes Radio app and more.

There is also talk of a much improved Siri. Techcrunch recently reported that Apple bought Novauris last year for an undisclosed sum. Apple is also rumored to be including Shazam support inside iOS 8, a feature that would let iPhone and iPad users use Siri to detect the song that is playing. Rumors also suggest that the iPhone 6 will come with support for VoLTE.

Mark Gurman from 9to5Mac adds that the software will work in conjunction with a brand new A8 processor from Apple. He claims that the processor will be focused on power consumption and efficiency something that is important if Apple is planning a larger, thinner iPhone 6.

He also says that the iPhone 6 and another device, possibly the rumored iWatch, will feature something known internally as “multi-resolution support.” The feature is said to be aimed at improving app performance and iOS across different resolutions.

This Healthbook mockup shows what Apple's app may look like in iOS 8.

This Healthbook mockup shows what Apple’s app may look like in iOS 8.

The iPhone 4 may not get any of these features while the iPhone 6 would get the entire feature set. And given that the iOS 8 will likely be stock on the iPhone 6, it too should get three years of software support before it’s kicked aside. That’s something that iPhone 4 owners need to keep in mind as we get closer to WWDC in June.

Price

The iPhone 4 is almost four years old which means that its price tag is nowhere close to what it once was. Those looking to buy an iPhone 4 should encounter an extremely cheap price point. We still don’t know how much the iPhone 6 will cost, but it’s safe to assume that it will be an expensive piece of machinery.

Apple’s iPhones have historically landed for $199.99 on-contract but some analysts believe that we could see a price jump with the large-screen iPhone 6.

The iPhone 6 price is a hot topic, with analysts predicting different decisions by Apple.

The iPhone 6 price is a hot topic, with analysts predicting different decisions by Apple.

In November, shortly after the iPhone 5s release, Chris Caso of Susquehanna Financial Group made a bold prediction. He claimed that the price of the iPhone 6 could jump up as much as $100 from the price of the iPhone 5s. He also added that “the potential for the iPhone 6 price point to move higher,”  and that “we think Apple could get away with a $50 to $100 premium for a larger screen size iPhone 6.”

Caso’s prediction was recently backed up by well known Jefferies analyst Peter Misek who says that he also believes that there is a potential for a $100 price jump. A $100 price jump would put the iPhone 6 at $299.99 on-contract, or, the current price of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

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Others believe that the iPhone 6 might stay at $199.99.

Comments

  1. Mike W says

    If my iPhone 4 still ran ios6 then I would wait for the 6 model. However with the lethargic ios7 forced on me by the #gotofail patch my device is almost unusable even if apps didn’t crash all the time.
    In the meantime I’ve tried a Samsung tablet and found how painlessly I can move to Android. Being free of iTunes just makes life all around better.

  2. Kevin says

    this actually was really useful, i have an iphone 4, been using it forever, and i’m finally feeling it’s time to switch for the 6. I didn’t think the 4s, 5, and even the 5s were worth the money. Thanks for the informative article.

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