There may very well be a day when Apple executives set up an iPhone X rumour publication that consists of nothing but endless, daily, rumours of the next iPhone. They can call it the iPhone Bugle, or iPhone X Times. Just so long as ‘iPhone’ is in the title, Jimmy Tan has a grainy-picture gallery, and there’s a ‘Leaker Wars’ section where leakers accuse each other of leaking fake pictures of dummy models.
That would save us all a lot of time.
Until then, people like myself will have to diligently wade through the iPhone rumour sludge to present you, the eager public, with something to look forward to.
This year’s rumour-mill feels like it has been in overdrive for the last seven months. We’ve seen rumours ranging from haptic feedback on the iPhone 6, to wireless charging, to automatic location-based unlocking. Some likely, some rumour-mill fairytales. Here, I’ll rundown the most believable rumours reported so far. And be sure to check back here for updates as and when they come in.
The biggest and most likely rumour is that Apple is going to increase the size of the screen, possibly with two versions of the iPhone 6 on the way. We’ve seen dummy shots of both 4.7 and 5.5-inch versions, with the 5.5-inch device potentially scheduled for a 2015 launch because of production problems, according to Mac Rumours.
However Chinese publication, Economic Daily, said that iPhone assembler, Foxconn, is ramping up production and hiring new staff for a double launch later this year.
Dummy models from show off the different versions
Reports suggest that both handsets will have a resolution of 1704 x 906, which would give the 4.7-inch model a pixel density of 416 and the 5.5-inch version a pixel density of 365.
The new iPhone screen should be made of tougher stuff, too, with a sapphire glass display according to a South China Morning Post article in February this year. Tech blogger Marques Borwnlee uploaded a video last week testing an apparent iPhone 6 sapphire screen by vigorously rubbing it with sandpaper. The video shows that the new display fares a lot better after a sandpaper attack than its predecessor, the iPhone 5.
However The Guardian reported that the new display could be a blend of sapphire and glass, which explains why its possible for it to be scratched, despite reports that will be “unscratchable”. Professor Neil Alford, who was consulted by Apple about sapphire screens 18 months ago explained:
“Apple has patents for both sapphire lamination – taking two different cuts of sapphire to induce strain and increase its resilience – and for fusing quartz or silica (glass) to sapphire.”
Apple also submitted a patent for a wraparound display at the end of last year, citing different shapes outside of the standard rectangular phone. Although this may come too soon for the iPhone 6, especially given how many casing leaks there have been that show no space for a flexible display.
Processor, power and memory
It’s pretty likely that Apple will opt for a more powerful and efficient A8 processor, which should improve battery life. LaptopMag reported that it will include a 20 nanometer quad-core 64-bit A8 processor, although Chinese sitecnBeta.com suggests that the iPhone 6 will once again feature a 2GHz (or higher) dual-core processor.
There seems to be a consensus that there will be a big shift in available memory on the new iPhone, with the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch versions boasting 64GBs and 128GBs of space respectively.
The battery is likely to get a 15% increase in power with its new 1800mAh battery for the 4.7-inch model and the 5.5-inch getting a 2500 mAh battery, which gives it a huge 50% increase in battery life over the 5S. There’s also the improved chipset that should improve efficiency and reduce battery drain.
However, if reports of a QHD screen are correct, the same as the one in the LG G3, then any battery increases will be negligible given how much power a super-HD screen requires.
Leaked images of the iPhone 6 rear panel earlier this year show that Apple’s new handset could be the slimmest one yet. The leaked images show a cut out of the Apple logo on the back panel, which could indicate a reserved NFC or wireless charging being embedded into the logo. Photos from French blog nowhereelse.frrevealed similar images, which I wrote about a couple of months back.
Leaked shots of the iPhone 6 rear casing.
Naturally, with larger screens comes a larger body, and, according to an Amazon leak, the iPhone 6 will feature dimensions of 130 x 65 x 7mm and weighing in at 113g. Dummy photos emerged in May from Italian blog Macitynet.it, which compared the thickness of a round-edged iPhone 6 dummy unit and the iPhone 5 – showing a small change in thickness.
Perhaps one of the most credible design leaks was Jimmy Lin’s photo of himself holding up an iPhone 5 and an apparent iPhone 6. He pulled a similar stunt last year, just as the iPhone 5 was about to be launched which proved accurate.
Sonny Dickson also unveiled photos of a similar looking dummy, and YouTube techblog TechSmartt examined the 5.5 and 4.7-inch mockups in detail.
PCAdvisor speculates that the iPhone 6 could come with an automatic unlock feature, similar the Android L feature that Google demoed at its I/O in June. To do so, there would have to be a connecting device that prompts it to unlock, an iWatch perhaps?
Apple’s recent patent application also alludes to location based security, which means that your iPhone will detect when you’re at home or the office and not require a passcode. It reads: “The security level and/or other device behaviour, configurations, or settings on a mobile device can be modified based on the location of the mobile device.”
It continues: “In one example, a passcode is not required when the mobile device detects a current location corresponding to the user’s home. In another example, a simple passcode is used when the mobile device detects a location corresponding to the user’s office desk, but a longer or more complex alphanumeric passcode is used at other locations within the office, such as the cafeteria or conference rooms.”
The iPhone 6 camera is likely to see an improvement in the new device. Chinese website IT168 speculates that the iPhone 6 will come with a 10-megapixel camera with an f/2.0 aperture and improved filter. A rumour on Weibo also reported that the iPhone 6 may use Electronic Image Stabilisation (EIS), which should prevent images from blurring. If so, it looks as if Apple may be taking a page out of HTC’s book and not going with a high pixel count camera, but focussing on image enhancements and features instead.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that there’s a good chance Apple will include NFC in the new device, possibly in the cut out Apple logo on the rear panel. Although Apple has shied away from NFC, and many predicted that it will launch its own version, Kuo thinks that Cupertino tech giant will have to fall in line and adopt the technology.
Apple also recently announced a partnership with China UnionPay to add its banking service to Passbook, which means users will be able to make payments on China Union Pay’s NFC enabled QuickPass machines.
The iPhone 6 will likely ship with iOS 8, which means that it could ship with a rumoured health app that monitors your vital statistics that pull data from a variety of built-in sensors on the iPhone 6.
As mentioned earlier, Chinese publication, Economic Daily, said that Foxconn has confirmed that it is hiring an extra 100,000 workers to gear up for mass production of the iPhone 6. The report says that production for the 4.7-inch model will begin at the end of the July and the 5.5-inch version in the “first two weeks of August” – suggesting that larger iPhone may not be delayed until 2015 but will arrive with its little brother in September / October.
Authored by Jay McGregor via forbes.com.