As 2013 draws to a close many consumers are already asking when the iPhone 6 release will arrive, with hope for an all new design, a larger screen and the possibility of bringing some of Apple’s incredible patents and purchases to life.
The iPhone 5s is just two months old, but as we approach the rumored 2014 iPhone 6 release, leaks and rumors are flowing as well as speculation about how Apple can integrate the companies acquired in the last year and what the iPhone 6 will offer that the iPhone 5s doesn’t.
At this stage, these are simply iPhone 6 rumors, speculation by analysts based on sources in the Apple supply chain and conjecture from insiders who follow the Apple release cycle closely.
Here is a rundown of the iPhone 6 rumors and other news that could play into the iPhone 6 that Apple eventually releases.
iPhone 6 Release Date
The iPhone 6 release is likely in 2014 for no reason other than the fact that Apple releases a new iPhone every year. For the past three years Apple released a new iPhone in the fall, after showing off new iPhone software at WWDC in June. There is no reason to expect that Apple will skip the iPhone release in 2014.
There are two big questions about an iPhone 6 release. When will it arrive and will it be called the iPhone 6?
When it comes to the name of what many are calling the iPhone 6, Apple could change things up in 2014 to follow the iPad Air and iPad mini naming scheme. This makes sense if Apple plans to release two iPhone versions, one with a larger screen. There are no rumors on this, but Apple likes to play around with the names of new products, and to be fair the iPhone 6 that users are expecting is not the sixth iPhone. The iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s are the seventh and eight iPhones since the launch of the iPhone in 2007.
Whatever the iPhone 6’s real name is there is a lot of speculation and rumors of the iPhone 6 release date.
The iPhone 6 release date rumors range from early 2014, perhaps as soon as Q1 according to one analyst, to better compete with the rumored Samsung Galaxy S5 which could arrive as early as April according to a well placed source, into the summer of 2014, There is also a rumor of a fall iPhone 6 release date in 2014, which would line up with Apple’s last three iPhone release dates.
Aside from a new iPhone in 2014, the release rumors are not solid enough to provide an accurate look at when the iPhone 6 will arrive. It will be easier to judge the timing when Apple shares news of a new version of iOS, likely iOS 8. In the past Apple used the months leading up to the release to offer several betas of new software to iron out many bugs.
iPhone 6 Display & Design
What will the iPhone 6 look like? Well, it’s hard to answer that question unless you can sell Tim Cook or Jony Ive a shirt with a button-hole camera sewn in, but there is one thing that many analysts can agree on, which will influence the overall design of the iPhone 6.
Nearly a year ago, the first rumor of an iPhone 6 with a larger display surfaced in a report from Jefferies analyst Peter Misek who claimed several iPhone 6 prototypes were in the works including one with a 4.8-inch display with a higher than Retina resolution. At the time Misek claimed the iPhone 6 with a larger display could be in the hands of users in 18 to 24 months, which lines up with the release rumors. Misek reiterated the 4.8-inch iPhone 6 display size in October.
The Wall Street Journal also claims the iPhone 6 will come with a bigger display. In a report from early September we see the 4.8-inch screen size appear again, along with claims Apple is testing screens larger than that found on the Galaxy Note 3. The article states,
“The electronics giant has begun evaluating a plan to offer iPhones with screens ranging from 4.8 inches to as high as six inches.”
Another report from NPD DisplaySearch, the same group who accurately predicted the iPad 3 Retina Display ahead of the release, claims Apple is working on two iPhone 6 display sizes. This could line up with an iPhone Air and an iPhone mini or simply an iPhone 6 and iPhone 6c. David Hsieh claims Apple is planning the following screen sizes and resolutions for two iPhone 6 models.
- 4.7-inch 1280×720
- 5.7-inch 1920×1080
Gene Munster predicts a larger screen on the iPhone 6, as does Glen Yeung of Citi Research. Both of these analysts predict the iPhone 6 with a larger display will come before the fall. Two additional rumors claim the iPhone 6 display will measure 5 inches, and one of the sources claims the iPhone 6 resolution will be 1920 x 1080.
Of particular note is a report from 9to5Mac which shares that Ming Chi Kuo believes Apple is planning an iPhone 6 with a 4.5-inch to 5-inch display in 2014. Kuo predicted many of the iPhone 5s features ahead of the launch.
What we aren’t seeing are claims that the iPhone 6 display will be the same 4-inch size that Apple introduced on the iPhone 5 last year. Apple is slow to make changes to the iPhone but anecdotal evidence suggests many consumers would like an iPhone with a larger screen and design technology allows one-handed use of phones with a screen in the 4.8 to 5-inch range.
If Apple upgrades the iPhone 6 to a larger display we can expect smaller bezels as part of an overall redesign of the iPhone. Apple uses the same design or two years in most cases, which leaves us expecting an iPhone 6 with a completely new look in 2014. There are many iPhone 6 concepts that imagine what the iPhone 6 will look like, but they are merely artistic visions based on rumors.
We expect Apple will use the same tactics Samsung used in the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S4, and that many Android manufacturers are using to add a larger screen without creating a dramatically larger phone. The image above shows a Moto X with a 4.7-inch display next to the iPhone with a 4-inch display. The Moto X is only 5.5mm taller and 6.7mm wider, which still makes one handed use quite easy on the Moto X.
iPhone 6 Features
The most recent iPhone 6 rumors come from Apple’s acquisitions and patents which may point to where Apple is going with mobile technology and what the company may add to the iPhone 6 and iOS 8. Below are a number of patents and purchases from Apple in 2013 which could influence iPhone 6 features, but it is worth noting that some patents never come to life on a product that hits retail shelves and an Apple acquisition may take a year or longer to provide technology that is integrated into a new iPhone.
Apple made a half billion dollar investment into GT Advanced Technologies, a U.S. firm that specializes in Sapphire glass production. The firm previously demoed an iPhone with a Sapphire screen standing up to concrete, as shown in the video below.
It’s not clear if the company will be able to deliver the yields needed at the right price to make it to the iPhone 6, but it’s clear Apple has something planned with Sapphire beyond the current use on the iPhone 5s camera.
Speaking of the camera, a new patent shows Apple is at least experimenting with a camera that could allow the user to change the point of focus after taking a photo. This would help a user bring someone into focus even if the camera accidentally focused on the wrong spot. The Lytro camera currently does this but it is a standalone device. The Apple patent as reported by Apple Insider, would take an image in a lower resolution which allows the user to change the focus. Notably the patent is for an adapter, and not something built-in to the iPhone.
Apple recently purchased PrimeSense, the company is best known for their work on the Kinect which debuted on the Xbox 360 as an accessory that can detect user motion and their place in a room. The video below shows a Primesense sensor on a tablet. The sensor is capable of taking a 3D photo. The video shows the Kinect-like sensing capabilities.
Perhaps the most impressive use of this sensor in an iPhone 6 is the ability of the sensor to determine the size of an object with a tap. Imagine using this tech to measure the size of a couch you want to replace, a window you need blinds for, or anything else where you need to take a size, but don’t have a measuring tape.
There are many other Apple patents and acquisitions, but these are the most interesting in terms of mobile use inside an iPhone 6.
If there is one thing we can count on when it comes to the iPhone 6, it is a plethora of rumors and analyst notes in the next three to nine months with leaks from Sonny Dickson, @evleaks and other connected insiders.