As we get closer and closer to the fall, we’re starting to see consumers struggle with one decision in particular: Buy the iPhone 5s now or wait for the iPhone 6. While we can’t answer that question for you, we can help point you in the right direction. Today, we want to take an updated look at how the rumored iPhone 6 is stacking up with the iPhone 5s.
For most of 2014, iPhone 6 rumors have been swirling around, tempting those in the hunt for a new smartphone. The pace of iPhone 6 rumors should only pick up as we head further away from WWDC 2014 and closer to the fall. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good because it provides prospective buyers with potential details about the iPhone 6 ahead of time, bad because the rumors will only help to complicate a decision that many Apple users are currently struggling with.
In the past week alone we’ve heard from numerous smartphone buyers who are in the market for a new iPhone. Consumers are curious about the current iPhone flagship, the iPhone 5s, and they’re also interested in the iPhone 6 now that WWDC is in the rear view and rumors have begun to firm up.
As we’ve argued, there are reasons to be interested in both the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 6. The iPhone 5s is still a gem and should age well like iPhones before it. And there is the allure of the iPhone 6, a device that is said to feature a number of changes including a redesign, new processor, and more.
Unfortunately, you can’t walk into a store and compare the iPhone 6 to the iPhone 5s. It’ll probably be several months before consumers can do so. What this means is that those in the hunt are going to have to rely on rumors and Apple’s history to make an informed decision about whether to buy now or wait.
In the past six months, we’ve taken a look at how the iPhone 6 rumors stack up with the current iPhone in an effort to help those that might be on the fence. And today, we want to take an updated look at the match up.
A Wait for the iPhone 6 Release
iPhone 6 release date rumors point to the fall. Literally every single iPhone 6 release date rumor points to either to September, October or November. The timing makes a ton of sense. It’s before the holidays, it’s the same window that Apple’s used before, it lines up well with Apple’s fiscal year which ends on September 27, 2014.
We typically see the new iPhone release arrive early enough to count opening weekend sales on the final quarter of their fiscal year. Apple sold more than 5 million iPhone 5 units in 2012 and combined new iPhone sales topped 9 million with the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c in 2013. In other words, September is the safest bet in the book.
- New iPhone launch as early as September – Nikkei
- New iPhone launch in August or September – Steve Milunovich UBS via Barrons
- iPhone 6 launch in the fall – Andy Hargreaves at Pacific Crest via Business Insider
- New iPhone scheduled for third quarter 2014 – ZDNet Korea
- New iPhone launch in September – Ming-Chi Kuo via MacRumors
- New iPhone 6 in September – iFun
- iPhone 6 launch in August or September – Economic Daily News
- New iPhone in September – Industrial Commercial Times
Another key piece of the puzzle is the iOS 8 release date which was recently confirmed for the fall. New iOS software is always accompanied by new iPhone hardware. In other words, iPhone 6 release date rumors have firmed up around the fall and more specifically around September and October.
Keep in mind, Apple typically uses staggered release dates. Major markets like the United States are typically at the front while smaller markets usually lag behind by several weeks and occasionally several months.
iPhone 6 release date rumors point to two different months for a reason. Rumors point to the arrival of two new iPhone models, a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and a 5.5-inch iPhone 6. The 4.7-inch model is thought to be the one arriving in September while rumors point to an October or November release for the larger model. Both are expected to arrive ahead of the holidays.
Rumors have relentlessly pointed to an increase in screen size. The iPhone 5s features a 4-inch Retina Display that is much smaller than its Android competitors. Companies like Samsung have attacked the size of the iPhone 5s’ screen for being too small but it appears that Apple will be the one on the offensive this fall.
Sources have continued to rally behind 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 models and we’ve even seen supposed dummy units leak out ahead of time. Those dummy units have given us a look at how these two sizes might match up with the iPhone 5s.
What we’ve seen is that while the 5.5-inch iPhone might be a lot larger than the iPhone 5s, the smaller 4.7-inch model may not be that much bigger than the iPhone 5s. Apple could minimize the increase by thinning out the bezels and shifting buttons around. The power button, for instance, will supposedly move to the side.
One of the beautiful things about the iPhone 5s, and something that competitors like Samsung fail to mention, is that the iPhone 5s is very easy to use with one hand. But so is the Moto X.
As we’ve pointed out, the Moto X, which sports a 4.7-inch, is actually comparable in size to the 4-inch iPhone 5s. Thin bezels, button placement and other little nuances helped to free up the space to keep the device’s form factor compact and easy to use with one hand.
Here’s the takeaway for those trying to decide between the iPhone 5s and iPhone 6. If you’re going into this assuming that the iPhone 6’s size increase is going to turn the iPhone into a monstrosity, there’s a good chance that you’re going to be wrong. Apple knows how to please its customers and rumors tell us that it’s going to find ways to keep the size change to a minimum in an effort to keep both sides happy.
Better Looking Content
That’s not all. The iPhone 6 screen is rumored to have a sharper 1704 x 960 display with the same widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio that’s found on the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5.
If Apple does increase the resolution and the pixel count, and all signs point in that direction, then we’ll get a new Retina Display that delivers crisper, better looking content than the Retina Display on the iPhone 5s. We doubt that many prospective iPhone buyers are going to complain about that.
From the ashes of the plastic iPhone 3GS came the iPhone 4, a device made of plastic, metal and glass. And from the iPhone 4s came the iPhone 5, a device with an industrial design highlighted by its anodized aluminum back. See the pattern?
After an ‘S’ release we typically see Apple focused on hardware and specifically, on the design of the iPhone. So, in what should come as a surprise to no one, iPhone 6 rumors point to a major redesign that could leave the iPhone 6 looking more like the iPod touch than the iPhone 5s.
Just about every iPhone 6 design rumor and every iPhone 6 design leak, has pointed to an extremely thin smartphone. The consensus is that iPhone 6 will measure in and around 7mm. That’s .6-inches thinner than the iPhone 5s and thinner than most smartphones on the market. The Galaxy S5, for example, is 8.1mm thin.
The lack of bulk is something that would obviously keep the weight change to a minimum and it would make a larger iPhone extremely pocketable, a hallmark of the iconic iPhone.
We could describe the potential look of the iPhone 6 and how it might compare to the iPhone 5s but a visual comparison is probably much better. Below is how the iPhone 6 could look next to the iPhone 5s.
Rounded edges, a thinner frame, new button placement, and a larger overall size could be the most noticeable differences between the two.
Similarities could include the Lightning port, lack of a microSD card port, and a home button that includes the same fingerprint reader found on the iPhone 5s, Touch ID.
This is the iPhone that we’re talking about here so that means that you should expect Apple to perform the yearly maintenance that Apple always performs on the iPhone.
iPhone 6 rumors suggest that we’ll see the iPhone 6 deliver at least three key upgrades from the iPhone 5s including a brand new camera with image stabilization, a new A8 processor for better performance and battery life, and support faster data speeds. VoLTE is also expected to arrive with the iPhone 6 but there is a chance that iOS 8 will enable it for the iPhone 5s as well.
There are also two wild cards that we’ve heard could make the final cut on Apple’s new iPhone. One, NFC. Near-Field Communication would allow users to treat their iPhone 6 like a debit or credit card. The other, wireless charging. Wireless charging, like NFC, has been available on Android smartphones for a number of years now.
In other words, iPhone 6 rumors are telling us exactly what we thought they would be telling us. And those that are debating between the two are going to have to decide whether these potential hardware upgrades are worth the wait.