Over the last several weeks many new details came together about potential iPhone 6 features that buyers can expect this fall. As iOS 8 and WWDC 2014 approach in less than a week many new iPhone 6 rumors cast light on potential features.
Although it may seem early to know what Apple plans for the iPhone 6, the last two major iPhone upgrades, the ones without an “s” on the end leaked out by mid-summer. We showed readers what the larger iPhone 5 looked like in July 2012 and in April 2011 Gizmodo showed the world what the iPhone 4 looked like — months before the official release.
At this point we don’t have a tell-all leak that shows off all of the rumored iPhone 6 features, but several well placed analyst reports, a report about the new screen resolution and countless design leaks come together to show off an array of potential features.
The new iPhone for 2014 is one that should bring a lot of upgrades to catch up to Android phones like the Galaxy S5 and possibly a pre-emptive strike against the Galaxy Note 4 this fall. Although the iPhone remains a popular choice for many shoppers a secret Apple document shows that the company knew it was falling behind consumer demand in several areas as far back as 2012.
The biggest anticipated iPhone 6 feature is a bigger screen, and rumors suggest Apple is planning to go all out with two new iPhone 6 screen sizes this year, and a collection of small, but useful upgrades to stay ahead of the competition which is rapidly increasing the quality and features offered on new smartphones in 2014.
With the new iPhone release rumored for the fall there are still several months for leaks to show more information about the new device, but here is a closer look at the seven most interesting iPhone 6 features that analysts and leaks suggest are coming this fall.
Two New iPhone Sizes
The new iPhone, may actually be the new iPhones in 2014. Many reports suggest Apple plans to follow the playbook from last year and release two iPhone 6 models, but with one big difference. Instead of an iPhone 6 and a cheap plastic iPhone 6c, we expect to see two larger iPhone 6 sizes.
The primary new iPhone will come with a 4.7-inch display according to multiple leaks, analysts and rumors. This is the most repeated size and at this point it would be a shock for Apple to deliver an iPhone 6 without a 4.7-inch display. This is the same size as the Moto X and while it is slightly smaller than the Galaxy S5 it is still large enough to deliver many of the same benefits like a bigger screen to read on, watch movies on and to game on.
This is not the only new iPhone that Apple is working on. According to a variety of sources Apple is planning a phablet device like the Galaxy Note 3 and the rumored Galaxy Note 4. While the first iPhone is one that is designed to make one-hand use easy, this larger iPhone is more of a mix between a small tablet and a phone. Most reports suggest Apple plans to deliver a 5.5-inch iPhone 6 this year, but the release date may come slightly later due to issues getting screens or battery technology ready.
iPhone 6 Screen Resolution
The bigger iPhone 6 screens need another big upgrade to be more than just a bump in size. A high-resolution is a key feature for any smartphone with a bigger screen and eyes are on Apple this year. The company arguably made it cool to care about the screen resolution and the pixel densities when Steve Jobs announced the Retina Display on the iPhone 4 in 2011.
By packing in more pixels in a small screen, Apple made it nearly impossible to see the individual pixels. To the average consumer this simply means a better looking display that doesn’t make reading, watching and gaming look like an old pixelated Mario game. Since 2011 a move to higher resolutions brought Android competition in line with Apple and this year DisplayMate called the Galaxy S5 display the best performing mobile display ever,
For the new iPhones in 2014 Apple is reportedly upgrading the 1136 x 640 resolution found on the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s to 1704 x 960. Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac shares this new resolution in a report formed from sources within Apple or Apple’s supply chain. In the report Gurman shares why Apple picked an odd resolution, at least compared to the 1920 x 1080 seen on most Android phones, and how this could work on a larger iPhone.
Ultimately a higher resolution should allow developers to pack more information on a larger screen, making it easier to see more of a book or fit controls onto a game without covering up as much of the action.
iPhone 6 Camera
After a bigger screen, the camera is one of the most important iPhone 6 features for millions of potential buyers. The iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s are the most popular cameras on Flickr and perhaps in the world thanks to the pocket-ability and relatively good performance of this small camera. It’s not a professional level DSLR, but it can produce amazing looking photos.
For the iPhone 6 Ming Chi Kuo believes Apple will keep the iPhone 6 camera at 8MP and the aperture at f2.2. He does predict an upgrade of optical image stabilization to help deliver better looking photos.
Sun Chang Xu of ESM-China believes Apple will keep the iPhone 6 camera at 8MP as well, but that the company plans to make the pixels larger, similar to the HTC One. Larger pixels can capture more light and produce better looking photos. Xu predicts Apple will use electronic image stabilization instead of optical. Electrical stabilization would allow for a thinner iPhone.
It May Finally Be Your Wallet
Shoppers may love this rumored iPhone 6 feature. Multiple reports suggest Apple plans to put NFC in the iPhone 6 which could allow it to act as a virtual credit card or debit card while you are shopping at a brick and mortar store. Instead of pulling a card out of your pocket, just tap the iPhone 6 on the reader and presto you’ve paid.
Every year we hear rumors that Apple is ready to add NFC to a new iPhone, and for the past several years this did not happen.
This year we have Apple CEO Tim Cook and head of Apple Retail Angela Ahrendts are interested in mobile payments, Apple’s new point of sale system reportedly accepts NFC payments and Ming-Chi Kuo and Morgan Stanley analyst Craig Hettenbach believe Apple is finally ready for NFC.
With Touch ID on board to add to the security and broader support for mobile payments — as well as Chinese carriers demanding support for mobile payments it looks like the 2014 iPhone may finally offer this feature.
iPhone 6 Specs
The iPhone 6 specs are not completely firmed up, but thanks to reports from Ming-Chi Kuo and other sources we have a good idea what to expect from Apple’s new iPhone in 2014. Even if Apple does plan to release two different size iPhone 6 models it looks like consumers can expect them to share similar specs.
- 4.7-inch or 5.5-inch screen with
- 1704 x 960 resolution
- Sapphire display cover for scratch protection
- 64-bit Apple A8 processor with motion coprocessor
- 1GB RAM
- 8MP rear camera, f2.2 aperture, larger pixels, new stabilization
- Touch ID
- 16GB, 32GB and 64GB of storage
- Multiple colors
- 6mm to 7mm thick
These potential iPhone 6 specs are incomplete and may change, but if you want to get a good idea about what may be under the larger display this is it.
Better Sounding Calls
If you still talk on the phone Apple and carriers are likely ready to offer you better sounding phone calls with the iPhone 6 and iOS 8. This may not be an exclusive iPhone 6 feature as the iPhone 5s should also support it. VoLTE is a method of making voice calls over the LTE data network and it allows for better sounding calls that may include the HD Voice name when it is marketed.
AT&T launched VoLTE in some markets this month, Verizon announced VoLTE is coming by the end of 2014 and T-Mobile rolled out VoLTE in Seattle as well. In short, the carriers are ready to deliver better sounding phone calls with the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 5s later this year.
It looks like VoLTE support will be a part of iOS 8 and this update will enable the better calling when it arrives on the iPhone 6 and as a free update to the iPhone 5s this fall. For Verizon customers this will also make it possible to talk on the iPhone and use the web at the same time.
New iPhone Design & Buttons
Last but not least expect a new iPhone design in 2014. Though you may not think of the iPhone 6 design and style as a feature, with consumers concerned about looks, materials and fashion it as much a feature as a great screen.
Thanks to a plethora of iPhone 6 mockups there is currently a good idea of what the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 may look like. Expect a thinner iPhone between 6-7mm and more metal with curved edges that make it look more like an iPad Air or iPad mine.
The new volume buttons are slimmer to fit on the new edge and the power button is now on the right side. This new power button placement is important as it allows users to more easily reach the button while holding a bigger phone. The Galaxy S5 and Note 3 use this placement but the new HTC ONE M8 does not. It is very easy to hit the power button on Samsung phones, but not as easy on the HTC One M8.