Buy the iPhone 5s now or wait for the iPhone 6, it’s a question that we’ve been asked time and time again. And while we can’t make that decision for you, we can arm you with information that can help you choose between buying last year’s iPhone 5s and the rumored iPhone 6 that’s expected to debut later this year.
For most of last year, the iPhone 5s, like the iPhone 6, existed in the rumor mill. Leaks and rumors all pointed to an iPhone 5 successor but it wasn’t until Apple took the stage in September that the iPhone 5s was confirmed as the company’s brand new flagship smartphone and the iPhone 5’s successor.
The iPhone 5s, like all ‘S’ model iPhones, kept the design of its predecessor while offering a number of significant upgrades aimed at enticing consumers into an upgrade. The iPhone 5s also utilizes the same 4-inch Retina Display as the iPhone 5 but it comes with a better camera, a 64-bit processor, Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and different color options. It’s one of the top smartphones on the market and a device that many consumers are considering as we head deeper into the new year.
As iPhone 6 rumors have picked up, so have the questions from consumers. Friends, family and readers have all chimed in, asking us about the next iPhone and how it might compare to the iPhone 5s. While nothing is set in stone, there are enough credible details out to warrant a quick look at how it might stack up with 2014’s rumored smartphone.
These are not only the most credible details but the most important and those thinking about buying or ditching the iPhone 5s later this year would be wise to absorb the information as we inch closer to the inevitable iPhone 6 release date.
Typically, the first question that we get about the iPhone 6 is in regard to its release date. This isn’t surprising at all. People want to know how long they’ll have to wait before they’re able to compare, or buy, the next version of the iPhone. While we still don’t have a definitive iPhone 6 release date but what we do have is an assortment of leaks, clues and rumors to pull from and almost all of them point to an arrival this fall after Apple takes the stage at WWDC.
Years ago, Apple used to announce the iPhone on stage at its annual developers conference during the summer. WWDC, which takes place in San Francisco, has shifted away from hardware in recent years and is now aimed at Apple’s OS X and iOS software and the developers that drive the App Store.
When Apple announced dates for WWDC 2014, it made it clear that the event would be about OS X and iOS. And indeed rumors suggest that the event will be the launch pad for OS X 10.10 and iOS 8 for iPhone and iPad. Hardware is rumored for the event but those hoping for an iPhone surprise are probably going to wind up disappointed.
iPhone 6 release date rumors almost exclusively point to an arrival this fall. While we initially heard whispers about a summer release, those have subsided and given way to an avalanche of iPhone 6 rumors that all point to a release sometime this fall.
Rumors have recently firmed up around an arrival in September. We’ve also heard about a potential early release in August but a majority of rumors, at this point, point to September, or the same month that Apple released last year’s iPhone 5s.
In other words, iPhone 5s owners looking to swap their device for a new iPhone 6 are likely going to have to wait several months. Same goes for those of you that are looking to physically compare the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 6. Until Apple takes the stage, the closest you’ll probably get are the numerous mockup comparisons that have emerged in recent weeks.
Keep in mind, nothing is set in stone but it says something when every single rumor points to a specific window. Don’t expect the iPhone 6 any earlier than August.
A fall release isn’t the only iPhone 6 detail that’s virtually set in stone. iPhone 6 rumors also exclusively point to an increase in screen size. Rumors have continually pointed to a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and a 5.5-inch iPhone 6 and at this point, it’s probably worth buying into the rumors. There’s simply too much smoke to dismiss a fire.
The iPhone 5s utilizes a 4-inch Retina Display with 1136-by-640 resolution and 326 ppi. It’s still one of the best displays in the business though DisplayMate, one of the leading voices on display technology, says that this year’s Samsung Galaxy S5 Super AMOLED Plus display finally surpassed the Retina Display in quality.
In an effort to compete with its Android rivals, Apple will apparently push the resolution of the iPhone 6 up to 1704 x 960 resolution. As we’ve explained, this would help to make Apple’s Retina Display crisper and sharper than the Retina Display currently found on Apple’s iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5.
Thanks to a series of leaks, we’ve seen just how a larger 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 could compare to some of the top devices on the market including the iPhone 5s. The increase in size and resolution will offer more, and better, real estate for activities like gaming but it also should make for a much larger footprint.
The iPhone 6 itself remains out of view and will likely stay out of the public eye until its shown off on stage later on this year. But that doesn’t mean that leaks and rumors haven’t helped to paint a possible picture of the iPhone 6’s design.
iPhone 6 rumors suggest that Apple could deliver an iPhone 6 that is up to 26% thinner than the iPhone 5s. A recent leak from Ukrainian website suggests Apple could be targeting a 6mm design, but Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities believes a 6.5 – 7mm thickness is easier for the company to achieve. Kuo is the same analyst that accurately predicted many of the iPhone 5s’ features ahead of launch.
A recent Macotakara report shared two possible sets of iPhone 6 dimensions for both the 4.7-inch model and 5+inch model. Here is how they stack up with the iPhone 5s.
- iPhone 6 (4.7) -140 x 70 x 7mm
- iPhone 6 (5.7) – 160 x 80 x 7mm
- iPhone 5s – 124 x 58 x 7.6mm
While the iPhone 6 might be slimmer than the iPhone 5s, it’s likely going to be larger than the iPhone 5s due to the display size increase. However, analysts believe that Apple will work to keep the size of the iPhone 6 manageable. One of the benefits of the iPhone 5s’ smaller size is that it’s easy to use with one hand. It’s something that many consumers covet.
In a note shared by MacRumors, Kuo says that he believes that the iPhone 6 will come with a power button on right and narrower bezels. This lines up with what we’ve seen on several leaked iPhone 6 mockups. The thinner bezels would allow for Apple to increase the size of the display without making the device a monster.
Apple will also reportedly utilize sapphire for the iPhone 6 display. A Sapphire display would mean a more scratch-resistant display. If true, we could wind up seeing a iPhone 6 that not only comes with a bigger sized, higher-resolution screen but a display with improved battery efficiency and image quality. This, in addition to the protection that a sapphire display would provide.
Every single year, Apple has worked to improve the iPhone’s camera. The iPhone 3GS camera trumped the camera on the iPhone 3G. The iPhone 4 camera bested the camera on the iPhone 3GS. The iPhone 4s camera was better than the iPhone 4′s camera. The iPhone 5 camera beat out the iPhone 4s’ camera. And last year’s iPhone 5s is better than the iPhone 5′s. In other words, there is a very good chance the iPhone 6 camera will beat out the iPhone 5s’ camera.
The iPhone 6 camera could take photos that are sharper and ultimately much better looking than the current iPhone 5s thanks to a new image stabilization that when combined with software, could help to produce a “super-resolution” photo that is better than the limitations of the hardware would normally offer.
We are hearing that Apple could use a larger pixel size on the sensor in addition to image stabilization technology. By using electronic image stabilization instead of optical image stabilization Apple should be able to make a thinner iPhone 6.
There are many iPhone 6 rumors that focus on the camera. In a report from April, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told investors to expect an 8MP camera with the same Aperture as the iPhone 5s, but to expect optical image stabilization. Another report from January also includes optical image stabilization and an 8MP sensor. In March a report suggested that Apple is partnering with Invensense for Optical Image Stabilization parts on the iPhone 6.
Translation: If you value your camera, if you take a ton of photos and video, it might be wise to stick around until September. There is a very good chance that the iPhone 6 camera will beat out the iPhone 5s’ camera and many of the other cameras on the market.
iOS 8 is expected to debut in just a few short days at WWDC 2014. Apple recently announced that it would be hosting a keynote at 10AM on June 2nd and that is where we expect Tim Cook and company to showcase not just iOS 8 but a number of new products including its upcoming OS X 10.10 update.
The iPhone 5s will get iOS 8, of this we have no doubt. That said, it’s important for buyers to know that Apple often brings unique software features to its newest iPhone. The latest iPhone also always gets the full iOS feature set while older devices, like the iPhone 5s, will often get stripped down versions of the software.
Long story short, the iOS 8 update for the iPhone 6 could very well be better than the iOS 8 update that arrives for the iPhone 5s. Unfortunately, we probably won’t find out until much later in the year. Remember, Apple isn’t expected to roll out the iPhone 6 at WWDC.
Furthermore, the iPhone 6 will be set up far better for the future from a software standpoint. The iPhone 5s is new which means that its a shoo-in to receive iOS 8 later on this year. However, iOS 8 will represent one strike against it. iPhones typically get three strikes before they are cast aside and left behind on an older version of iOS.
So, by waiting for the iPhone 6, consumers will get a device with three years of upcoming software support rather than two. Keep this in mind before paying full price for an iPhone 5s, a device that already has one strike against it. We’re not sure how the iPhone 5s will fit into Apple’s lineup but it will almost certainly drop in price later on this year, making the year against it a little easier to swallow.
Speaking of price, it’s important to note that as of right now, the iPhone 6 doesn’t have a price tag. It’s also worth noting that analysts simply cannot agree on the price of Apple’s next iPhone.
In November, shortly after the iPhone 5s release, Chris Caso of Susquehanna Financial Group told investors that he believed that the price of the iPhone 6 could jump up as much as $100 from the price of the iPhone 5s.
Caso’s prediction was recently backed up by well known Jefferies analyst Peter Misek who says that he also believes that there is a potential for a $100 price jump. Others though believe that the iPhone 6 might stay at $199.99, its usual on-contract price point and a price point that Apple has kept for years.
For the moment, the important takeaway is this: The iPhone 6 probably isn’t going to be given away for free so start saving. Given the specifications that are rumored to be on board, we highly doubt it will drop in price. $199.99 is logical, $250-$299.99 is possible, that’s the best that we can offer right now.
It’s also important to note that because we’re only a few months out from an iPhone launch, it would be in your best interest to avoid paying full price for the iPhone 5s. We’re starting to see iPhone 5s emerge more frequently and with a price cut likely on the way and a year of software support down, it would be wise to look for a deal.