Apple is planning an iPhone 6. The iPhone is too successful to think the company will stop with the iPhone 5S we expect this year. There’s even word that Steve Jobs left instructions for the iPhone 6 before he passed away, making it possibly the last iPhone he played a role in.
While the iPhone 5S is a short-term prize, the latest iPhone 6 rumors point to a phone that will be well worth the wait for iPhone users, even those looking longingly at the larger screens of the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4.
When we talk about the iPhone 6, we are talking specifically about the iPhone for 2014. Even if Apple surprises us and announces a device called the iPhone 6 later this year, these rumors are about an iPhone that is at least one more model out. The iPhone 5S is going name for the next iPhone. This is based on Apple’s naming system of releasing a smaller upgrade every other year with an S name.
iPhone 6 rumors give hope for a radically different iPhone, much the same way that rumors of a Jony Ive iOS 7 makeover offer the promise of exciting new software later this year. Here are the biggest iPhone 6 rumors to date, described in more detail below.
- iPhone 6 release in 2014
- A larger display, possibly 4.8-inches
- A Retina+ HD display
- Fingerprint reader for enhanced security
- No home button, gesture controls
- Faster processor
- Wireless charging
- Fewer Samsung parts
Nothing about the iPhone 6 is set in stone, but with what we know about Apple’s past actions, input rom analysts, leaks and Apple’s business practices, we are able to piece together a picture of what to expect from the iPhone 6.
iPhone 6 Release Date
Despite early talk of an iPhone 6 release date for late 2013, we expect the iPhone 6 in 2014 based on Apple’s actions, timing of the iPhone 5S and word from analysts.
During the most recent Apple Earnings call Tim Cook told investors and media that Apple is planning exciting products for the fall, one of which we expect is the iPhone 5S, an iPhone that looks much like the iPhone 5, but with new features.
While it is odd to see such a specific date this far out, one analyst is claiming the iPhone 6 release date is set for June 2014. Peter Misek of Jeffries tells investors, “iPhone 6 will not launch until CY14”, pointing to June specifically later in the note.
Glen Yeung, analyst with CitiGroup Capital also chimes in, stating that the iPhone 6 is more likely for 2014, and adding input that the iPhone 6 will feature a larger display.
At this point, even with talk of the iPhone 6 release in June, expect these analyst predictions to shift by as much as 3 months depending when the iPhone 5S release takes place and supply chain issues in 2014.
iPhone 6 Design & Display Rumors
The iPhone 6 will likely feature an entirely new design. Apple typically re-uses an existing design for the “S” model and then delivers something completely new for the full number release. We saw this with the iPhone 5 last year, which arrived with a new aluminum back and a larger display.
According to statements from the San Francisco District Attorney, George Gascón, the Steve Jobs reportedly influenced the iPhone 6.
The most interesting news we have about the iPhone 6 design comes from late 2012, when Misek shared news of iPhone 6 prototypes in use, telling Business Insider that there are, “several iPhone 6 prototypes appear to be floating around.”
One of these rumored iPhone 6 prototypes included a 4.8-inch display, the same size as the Samsung Galaxy S3. This larger display also sported a Sharp IGZO display with Retina+ resolution. Misek isn’t clear on what that is, but there are rumors Sharp and Apple are working together on IGZO display technology.
If Apple plans to increase the screen size and resolution in 2014 it would be a shock to see anything lower than 1080P. During the Earnings Call Tim Cook left the door open for a larger display in the iPhone 6, calling out tradeoffs in the current screen technology. This partnership could address those issues, especially considering Sharp IGZO displays are said to be more power efficient.
In addition to a bigger display, one of the iPhone 6 prototypes features a no home button design. This rumor has since popped up in many iPhone 6 concepts which show off a larger screen and no home button. Depending on the concept a clickable screen or bottom bezel replaces the home button. The most interesting design is from nowhereelse.fr, which packs all of these rumors into a single iPhone 6 concept with a clickable screen instead of a home button.
The concept is especially interesting given Bloomberg’s report that Jony Ive is investigating gesture controls for future versions of iOS. This may not make it into iOS 7, which should debut in early June, but if Ive plans to marry hardware and software more, the iPhone 6 and iOS 8 would be a good starting point.
If Apple is able to move the home button off the front of the iPhone we could see a larger screen without a significantly larger iPhone 6 body. Apple repeatedly points to the ability to use the iPhone 5 with one hand, something that is tough on a 5-inch display and impossible on a 5.5-inch display for most users. An iPhone 6 design that shrinks bezels and cuts the home button could help Apple address this common big-screen smartphone problem.
Read: Best iPhone 6 Concepts
As we push into 2014, the possibility of a flexible displays. LG is planning to release a smartphone with a flexible display in late 2013 and Samsung may include this technology in the Galaxy Note 3. Apple could use a flexible display to deliver a radical design change or to provide a display that doesn’t break as easily. Sharp showed off flexible smartphone displays at CES 2013.
This prototype also featured a quad-core Apple A7 processor. This is something that may change as Apple is reportedly prepping the Apple A7 processor for the iPhone 5S. Some rumors indicate Apple is shifting the Apple A7 processor production away from Samsung and that it won’t start up until early 2014, but it is not clear if that is an improved processor or the first version of the Apple A7. The iPhone 5 features and Apple A6 processor and the iPad 4 uses an Apple A6X processor with quad-core graphics.
iPhone 6 Features (Rumored)
Nailing down the specific iPhone 6 features is difficult this far in advance, even though it’s possible Apple board members have already gotten a glimpse at the iPhone 6.
Much of what to expect in the iPhone 6 rides on what Apple is able to pack into the iPhone 5S. Apple is reportedly prepping a fingerprint reader for the iPhone 5S or iPhone 6 which would secure the smartphone and allow users to securely us a mobile payment system. Analysts are split over whether this will make it into the iPhone 5S or iPhone 6. A recent job posting points to an iPhone 6 release, given how late this is in the product cycle.
Apple could also include NFC, a technology that is in most Android smartphones. NFC in the iPhone 6 would allow faster sharing by tapping two phones next to each other, as shown in the video below and could also play a role in a mobile payment system, though some rumors claim Apple will use a barcode based payment system instead.
Another feature that we may see in a redesigned iPhone 6 is wireless charging. Apple sidestepped this technology in the past. After the iPhone 5 launch Apple SVP Phil Schiller told All Things D, “Having to create another device you have to plug into the wall is actually, for most situations, more complicated,” explaining issues with wireless charging.
Other possibilities include eye-tracking technology and technology that could track gestures like the Samsung Galaxy S4 does. With Ive currently looking into gesture control, Apple could use technology similar to the video demo below to let users control more of the iPhone 6 with their eyes.
There are no concrete iPhone 6 camera rumors at this point, though a new front facing camera sensor could come to the iPhone 5S with 1080P HD video support. If this sensor misses the iPhone 5S, expect it or a similar one to arrive in the iPhone 6.
The iPhone 5S is rumored to feature an improved rear-facing camera, possibly a 12MP one with better low light performance. An iOS 7 rumor suggests Apple will use the front and rear cameras for a dual shot mode. Expect to see additional improvements into an iPhone 6 camera sensor in 2014.