When Apple unveiled the iPhone 5, the reaction was a bit muted: where previous phones were massive leaps forward, the iPhone 5 was a bit longer and a lot easier to scratch.
So what can we expect from the next iPhone, the iPhone 6 or 5S? Let’s see what the crystal balls are saying.
iPhone 6 and the iPhone 5S are two different phones
The rumour mill doesn’t seem too sure whether the next iPhone is going to be the iPhone 5S or the iPhone 6. Given the iPhone’s history – from the 3G onwards, there’s always been a half-step S model before the next numbered iPhone – we’d bet on an iPhone 5S first and an iPhone 6 a few months later.
It’s been suggested that there could even be three size variants of the new iPhone – check out these mocked up images by artist Peter Zigich. He calls the handsets iPhone 6 Mini, iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 XL.
iPhone 6 release date
Many pundits predict a summer iPhone 6 release date. It’s quite likely that Apple is moving to a two-phones-per-year upgrade cycle, but we’d bet on a springtime 5S model and a bigger, iPhone 6, update in the Autumn, probably September.
Even Digitimes reckons predicts a summertime reveal for Apple’s next generation phones, which again fits with a WWDC unveiling.
Reports in April also suggested that Foxconn has added as many as 10,000 assembly line workers per week to its Zhengzhou plant as it readies itself for the iPhone 6 release date.
iPhone 6 cases
Multiple rumours say Apple’s working on plastic cases for its next iPhone, mixing plastic and metal in such a way that “the internal metal parts [are] able to be seen from outside through special design.”
It’s unclear whether such cases would be for the iPhone 5S or iPhone 6, or if Apple is simply considering making cheaper iPhone 4s to sell when the iPhone 3GS reaches the end of its life.
Speaking in March 2013, a KGI analyst said it believed Apple would turn to manufacturer Pegatron to make up to 75 per cent of low cost iPhone products.
The iPhone 6 will finally do NFC
That’s what iDownloadblog reckons, quoting Jefferies analyst Peter Misek: it’ll have a better battery too, he says. Many Android phones now boast NFC.
The iPhone 6 will run iOS 7 and the iPhone 5S probably won’t
We’re expecting a September or October release date for iOS 7 in line with previous releases. We’ll almost certainly see a reveal at WWDC in early June. Apple has promised to give devs “an in-depth look at what’s next in iOS and OS X”.
iPhone 6 storage
We’ve already seen a 128GB iPad, so why not a 128GB iPhone 6? Yes, it’ll cost a fortune, but high-spending early adopters love this stuff.
iPhone 6 home button
According to Business Insider, of the many iPhone 6 prototypes Apple has made, one has a giant Retina+ IGZO display and a “new form factor with no home button. Gesture control is also possibly included” – more on that shortly. Mind you, it was mooted that Apple would dump the home button in time for iPhone 5, but it never happened.
iPhone 6 screen
The Retina+ Sharp IGZO display, would have a 1080p Full HD resolution. It’s also been widely reported that Apple could introduce two handset sizes as it seeks to compete with the plethora of Android devices now on the market.
Take this one with a pinch of salt, because China Times isn’t always right: it reckons the codename iPhone Math, which may be a mistranslation of iPhone+, will have a 4.8-inch display. The same report suggests that Apple will release multiple handsets throughout the year over and above the iPhone 5S and 6, which seems a bit far-fetched to us.
Patents show that Apple has been thinking about magical morphing technology that can hide sensors and even cameras. Will it make it into the iPhone 6? Probably not.
Could the touch screen even be transparent? Emirates 24/7 sin’t the first source we’d turn to for bone fide rumours about a new smartphone, but it claims that an ultra-sensitive transparent touchscreen will make it into iPhone 6. The site also believes the display will be made by Sharp, which wouldn’t be so surprising. One thing’s for sure – a potential wraparound screen is probably a pipedream.
iPhone 6 processor
Not a huge surprise, this one: the current processor is a dual-core A6, and the next one will be a quad-core A7. The big sell here is more power with better efficiency, which should help battery life.
Expect to see it in the 2013 iPad first, and expect to see an improved A6 processor, the A6X, in the iPhone 5S.
iPhone 6 camera
Apple’s bought camera sensors from Sony before, and this year we’re going to see a new, 13-megapixel sensor that takes up less room without compromising image quality.
iPhone 6 eye tracking
One thing seems certain – Apple can’t ignore the massive movement towards eye-tracking tech from other vendors, especially Samsung. It seems a shoe-in that Apple will deliver some kind of motion tech within the next iPhone, probably from uMoove.
The new iPhone will have better 4G LTE
On its UK launch, just one UK network had 4G LTE: Everything Everywhere, which currently offers 4G on the 1800MHz band. In 2013, all the other big names will be coming on board, offering 4G in other frequency bands. International iPhones already work across different 4G bands to the UK, so you can expect the UK iPhone 6 (and possibly the iPhone 5S) to be more promiscuous than the iPhone 5.
iPhone 6 Wi-Fi may be 802.11ac
Apple likes to lead Wi-Fi standards adoption – its Airport really helped make Wi-Fi mainstream – and there’s a good chance we’ll see ultra-fast 802.11ac Wi-Fi in Apple kit this year. It’s faster than Lighting, and not very frightening.
iPhone 6 wireless charging
Wireless charging still isn’t mainstream. Could Apple help give it a push? CP Tech reports that Apple has filed a patent for efficient wireless charging, but then again Apple has filed patents for pretty much anything imaginable.
The tasty bit of this particular patent is that Apple’s tech wouldn’t just charge one device, but multiple ones.
- Apple Sells Over 5m iPhone 5s During Debut Weekend (misco.co.uk)
- Apple iPhone 6 Release Date Rumors: Why September 2013 Makes Sense To … – International Business Times (ibtimes.com)
- Is This an iPhone 5S Prototype? [Rumor] (technabob.com)
- The iPhone 5S rumor roundup (reviews.cnet.com)