Later on this year, Apple will likely release a new iPhone to replace the iPhone 5 and thus far, signs have pointed to the device being an iPhone called the iPhone 5S, an incremental update from the iPhone 5 rather than an redesigned iPhone 6. Here, we take a look at what we believe are the five most important things to know pre-launch about Apple’s iPhone 6.
Over the course of the past half year or so, Apple iPhone rumors have swirled as they always do after the release of a brand new iPhone. In September, Apple released the iPhone 5, its first iPhone with 4G LTE, its first with a 4-inch display and its first with an aluminum back, complimented by both metal and glass. The device also ushered in the era of iOS 6, a piece of software that brought in over 200 new features from the previous version, iOS 5, and a piece of software that has been updated as recently as this week.
Thanks to these features, Apple’s iPhone 5 has been selling well and will be taking on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One. However, despite being on shelves for less than a year, the device hasn’t been a stranger to rumors of succession. Already, we’re hearing copious talk of a replacement for the iPhone 5.
Rumors have pegged a next-generation iPhone launch for sometime later this year with Tim Cook hinting at a launch at some point in the fall which would mean that it would not come until September, the same month as the iPhone 5 launch. So, at the very least, consumers will be starring at a new iPhone in a few months time. But what will it look like and what will it be called?
Speculation is that it will be called the iPhone 5S and feature a number of incremental upgrades from the iPhone 5 including an improved camera, faster processor, a fingerprint scanner for added security and of course, iOS 7 which may or may not include a killer, unique feature.
The iPhone 5S is not thought to be the iPhone 6, a moniker that history would suggest would be saved for an overhauled iPhone. We’ve already taken a look at what to expect pre-launch from the iPhone 5S and now, it’s time to take a look at what to expect from Apple’s other rumored iPhone, the iPhone 6.
iPhone 6 Release Likely Won’t Come This Year
Those that are expecting an iPhone with a bevy of new hardware features and the name ‘iPhone 6’ should have tempered their expectations a long time ago. Right now, all signs point to a more incremental iPhone release this year, something that would fall in line with what Apple typically does with its iPhone.
In the past, Apple released ‘S’ versions of its iPhone the year after a major iPhone overhaul. In the case of the iPhone 3G it was the iPhone 3GS, in the case of the iPhone 4 it was the iPhone 4S. This doesn’t necessarily confirm an ‘iPhone 5S’ for this year but it does make it extremely likely. It also helps that just about every rumor and every analyst thinks that Apple won’t pull an iPhone 6 out of its hat this year.
We also know that this year will likely be all about software as former iOS Chief Scott Forstall departed the company and was replaced, in part, by Jony Ive who has said to have initiated an overhaul of iOS complete with a more flat design. With a new piece of software on the way, the iPhone 5 design remaining one of the best on the market and with additions upgraded camera, processor, antennas perhaps, and more, Apple can keep the iPhone fresh without drastically altering its appearance.
So, while there might be lots of cries for Apple to release something drastically different than an iPhone 5S, namely an iPhone 6, consumers should know that the company isn’t likely to do that. Instead, the iPhone 6 is likely going to come sometime in 2014, leaving those looking for a major overhaul waiting a year or more for one to arrive.
Bigger Screen Is Possible
Many Apple fans and smartphone consumers have been waiting for Apple to follow the likes of HTC and Samsung and release an iPhone model that features a larger display. In a world dominated by beautiful apps, video, and the web, and with the success of such phones as the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note, demand for a larger screen iPhone has never been stronger.
And while Apple will likely keep its larger 4-inch display around with the iPhone 5S, there is a very good chance that Apple will offer something larger with the iPhone 6.
Instead of slamming the door closed, Apple Tim Cook left the door open for a bigger iPhone in the future by saying that the company was content with the size of the iPhone display right now, only because there were too many compromises that companies were making in terms of quality when jumping up in size.
And once Apple figures out those compromises, then a larger screen iPhone is possible. Already, we’ve heard that the display could be 4.8-inches in size, as large as the Galaxy S3 display and there is talk of it featuring even more impressive resolution than the Retina Display, possibly Retina+ resolution.So while nothing is confirmed, folks looking for a large screen iPhone should know that it’s possible with the iPhone 6.
It Could Ditch iPhone 5 Design
While some want a larger screen, others may want a different design from the iPhone 5. Maybe it’s because they simply don’t like the aluminum or maybe it’s because they don’t like its durability, or maybe something else entirely. Whatever the case may be, there will always be a demand for something new, something fresh.
With the iPhone 6, Apple could deliver. History says that Apple keeps two iPhone designs before ditching it and it could be that this year’s iPhone 5S keeps the iPhone 5’s design before the company embarks on something new.
Smartphones continue to get thinner and more durable and companies like Apple continue to find ways to improve on their older designs. They also know that keeping a design around for too long can make the product look stale so don’t be surprised to see an iPhone 6 with something that’s drastically different from the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5.
It’s unclear just what this design will entail and Apple likely has a bunch of different prototypes. But whatever the case may be, consumers should know that a redesign is possible for next year and likely won’t be coming this year with the iPhone 5S.
Lots of Carriers
Earlier this year, T-Mobile started offering the iPhone 5 after years without the iPhone. And today, U.S. Cellular confirmed that it would be hosting the iPhone on its network, likely its 4G LTE network, at some point in 2013. Whether that means the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5S or both remains to be seen. However, what this means is that the path is clear for a massive iPhone 6 release in 2014.
One of the strengths of the Samsung Galaxy S series has been that it’s been available on a wide swath of carriers. And with Apple reaching agreements with carriers like T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular, it not only broadens the choices for potential iPhone customers but it also may dip into Samsung’s sales, something that Apple would be happy to see.
So what this means is that while the iPhone 5S may have the most launch carriers in history, the iPhone 6 will certainly follow suit which means that those who just signed contracts or are looking to move in 2014 should have a boat load of options when the time comes.
Prepare to Endure
Because the iPhone 5S is likely going to be the iPhone model that arrives this year, we should see iPhone 6 rumors last well into 2014. Yes, there are quite a few whispers out about the iPhone 6 and what it may have on board, but these are likely just rough sketches of what the iPhone 6 will actually be.
What this means is that those who either choose not to buy the iPhone 5S will have to endure a year or more of iPhone 6 rumors, some of which will likely be accurate and some of which won’t pan out.
Unfortunately, that’s a long longer of a time frame than most rumored iPhones which typically are rumored in the months after the launch of their predecessor, not over a year beforehand.