The rumors are swirling as Apple is in line to announce its iPhone 6 this Fall. Since we’re now approaching the three-month mark before Cupertino’s September announcement, it’s a good time to look at what details we’ve regarding the next-generation iPhone. Apple’s iPhone is now seven years and running, but the rumors are as attention-grabbing as ever.
With that said, we’ll remind you to take any iPhone 6 rumors you here with some caution. While we do appreciate the publishing on the latest iPhone 6 rumors and information, we’ve been in the business of leaking rumors for some time – and we’re aware that every rumor doesn’t come to fruition when Apple announces its latest smartphone. We value leaking photos and charts, and believe that these are tangible pieces of evidence to give our readers. At other times, we hear isolated rumors from tech sites that seem to be novel ideas regarding a device, and we choose to release these from inspection because they don’t have tangible evidence that will weigh with our readers.
In years past, Apple maintained its 3.5-inch display for several iPhone iterations, leading analysts to predict (well, if not undisputedly) the display size of the next-generation iPhone. One piece of information that surfaced from the recent Apple-Samsung trial is that the company’s been aware that its iPhone display was sub-par and didn’t sit too well with most iPhone users. It is because of the emails and communication between Apple employees about its sub-par display that’s made analysts consider the idea that Apple’s iPhone would receive an increase in its display size. The iPhone 5 had a 4-inch screen, but even this screen size has been unappealing to a number of customers.
When the rumors started churning about Apple’s iPhone 6, we first heard that Cupertino may use a large display of 6 inches, but such a massive screen has been hidden and buried in recent days. We’ve heard that Apple could release anywhere from a 4.7-inch to a 6-inch display for the iPhone 6, but the size display range has now been chopped in half – particularly because the rumor about one iPhone 6 model has given way to two iPhone 6 models.
One iPhone 6 model is designed to be 4.7 inches, while the other is designed to be at least 5.5 inches (could be as high as 5.7). One leaker in particular has published a set of iPhone 6 case photos that he says place the larger iPhone 6 at around 5.7 inches instead of 5.5. The one company on the market right now that has a 5.7-inch smartphone would be Samsung Electronics, so it seems as if Apple’s targeting a larger iPhone 6 for the Samsung crowd that it hopes to sway away from Samsung and back into the Apple fold (or into the Apple fold, if coming for the first time). Others, such as Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri, say that Apple has settled on a 4.8-inch screen for the smaller iPhone 6 model. In other words, we could see a 4.7-4.9-inch iPhone 6 model for consumers who prefer a smaller screen experience than Apple’s “behemoth” screen will bring.
If the rumors are true, then Apple’s aiming for customer preference in a large way with its iPhone 6 display sizes. You can be sure that it’s a given that the larger iPhone 6 model (5.5-5.7 inches) will cost more than the smaller iPhone 6 model. How much more? We can’t say at the moment.
Sapphire Crystal Glass
It’s been an undisputed rumor (and thus, a probable one) that the iPhone 6 will feature a sapphire crystal glass display. As far back as last Fall (November), we heard that Apple paid sapphire glass maker GT Advanced Technologies $578 million to manufacture sapphire displays. We’ve been seeing a number of news rumors about Apple’s work towards securing an Arizona plant (building codes, and all) that only confirms our suspicions about the new glass material in the iPhone 6. If these details aren’t enough, Apple sat down in an ABC News interview back on January 24th (the 30-year anniversary of the Macintosh) and CEO Tim Cook said, “We’ve also announced a huge investment in Arizona. We haven’t said what it’s for.” When prompted by an ABC News reporter with the question “Is it sapphire displays,” Tim Cook finally admitted, “it’s the sapphire announcement.”
Apart from Tim Cook’s sapphire glass admission on national television, Apple’s also filed an interesting patent titled “Oleophobic Coating on Sapphire,” which, like Cook’s 30-year Mac interview, confirms what rumors have said all along.
Apple’s sapphire glass pursuits have placed Gorilla Glass manufacturer Corning in a sour position, particularly since Corning’s produced a few videos about the “fragility” of sapphire crystal displays. Corning, of course, has had a large measure of success from Apple profits with the last few iPhones, but this could now change if Apple’s attention turns to sapphire displays instead of Gorilla Glass.
Sapphire displays are said to be 2.5 times more durable than Gorilla Glass, and even provide anti-scratch protection so that your keys don’t damage the device. At the same time, however, Apple was keen at the time on keeping costs low. Rumors have circulated the Web that state that Apple may likely charge $100 more for the device, and the company may decide to charge an additional $100 across the board for all of its iPhone lineup. We’ve seen Apple raise the price of its iPad Mini from $329 to $399 when the company implemented a Retina display in the iPad Mini 2 this past Fall – so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Apple raise the price of its smaller-memory iPhone 6 model from the $199 on-contract ($692 off-contract) model to $299 on-contract ($792 off-contract), simply because of the sapphire crystal glass display. Increased durability comes at a cost.
Apple looks to increase its screen resolution in the new iPhone 6 with a bump up from the current 326ppi pixel density (1136 x 640) to 1704 x 960 for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 model. The 5+-inch iPhone 6 could see an increase of the current iPhone 5s screen resolution to the same, but the larger iPhone 6 model would have a slightly larger pixel density than the smaller iPhone 6 (389ppi vs. 326ppi, respectively).
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted that the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will see an increase in screen resolution from 1136 x 640 to 1334 x 750 (326ppi), retaining the same pixel density as current iPhones. The 5.5-inch (or 5.7-inch) iPhone 6, however, would see a screen resolution increase from the current Apple standard of 1136 x 640 to 1920 x 1080 (full HD resolution). At the same time, we’ve also heard rumors that Apple may retain the same new resolution for both devices, such that the 5.5-inch model won’t differ in screen resolution than the 4.7-inch model.
Ming-Chi Kuo has had his share of reliability at times, but he’s also known for mistakes in the past. Prior to Apple’s release of the iPhone 5C, he said that Apple would release a “budget iPhone” that turned out to be just $100 cheaper than the iPhone 5s. He did predict that it would come with a polycarbonate plastic design, but it wasn’t the “cheaper” iPhone to compete with Google’s Nexus line or Samsung’s lower-cost smartphones, for example.
What can we say about the screen resolution rumors? We know for sure that Apple will increase the screen resolution because these two new iPhone 6 models will have wider displays than any iPhone Apple’s ever released. If Apple wants to at least retain the 326ppi pixel density of its iconic smartphone, the company’ll have to increase the screen resolution so that the wider displays can meet the 326ppi standard that Apple declared when it began to implement Retina displays into the iPhone experience. At the same time, however, we can’t say for sure what the screen resolution will be, although the screen resolution below full HD is likely. Then and again, Apple is the King of the iPad screen resolution, and it would be nice to see the 2048 x 1536 screen resolution of the iPad arrive in the larger 5+-inch iPhone 6 experience. Regardless, we’re looking at a larger iPhone 6 screen resolution than anything we’ve seen before.
Build and Design
One feat Apple’s known for when it comes to the iPhone is the aesthetics and feel of the device. This may or may not change in the iPhone 6, depending on your impression of what we know about the upcoming device.
In iPhone 6 mock-ups that we’ve seen, the new iPhone mimics the design of the iPod Touch more than anything else. It seems as if the iPod Touch’s design will have more influence in the iPhone 6 than in years past, but Apple’s looking to use liquid metal to build the iPhone as opposed to aluminum metal used by the company in days past. The result of its utilization of liquid metal from its contractor LiquidMetal Technologies is that the iPhone will have more of a brushed aluminum look and feel that may make you think it’s somewhat similar to the HTC One M8. HTC does imitate the look and feel of Apple’s devices a lot, so this isn’t surprising.
While Apple’s commitment to an aluminum design isn’t surprising, what is surprising is that Apple may very well decide to implement water and dust resistance into the iPhone 6 model. A series of pictures from ePrice.com show a liquid metal iPhone out in the open air with some water drops on the display. One of the last photos shows the iPhone (with the Touch ID-embedded home button, the same on the iPhone 5s) being pummeled in a body of water. The liquid metal/brushed aluminum look of the iPhone in the picture (and it indeed mimics the look of older iPhones) is that Apple’s looking to shake things up with a water and dust-resistant iPhone of its own. This would indeed be pleasant news from Cupertino, and it might even make some iPhone defectors return to America’s beloved fruit company once more.
It’s undisputed at this point that the iPhone 6 will feature an 8MP camera, in line with the company’s 8MP camera that has been present since the iPhone 4. Apple has decided not to enter the megapixel war with Windows and Android manufacturers, and maintain the current 8MP camera but improve its camera technology for iPhone users.
We’ve seen Apple increase its megapixel count in days past, so why won’t Apple increase its megapixel count now? The issue isn’t that Apple can’t do it but that Apple won’t do it. The company is committed to keeping the iPhone 6, as iPhone past, thin and light, and with the addition of more megapixels comes some unwanted heaviness in the iPhone experience.
Take the Retina display, for example: Apple’s considering an increase in screen resolution, but former Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that 300ppi is the pixel limit for the human eye. 326ppi, in 2007, at the rise of the iPhone, was said to be extraordinary. With that said, however, we must ask ourselves: if 300ppi is the limit that the human eye can see, why is it that full HD displays (bearing a 1920 x 1080 screen resolution) are perceived by the user as providing a better on-screen experience than HD (1280 x 720) displays that often provide washed-out colors? Any Nexus 7 tablet user can distinguish between the 2013 Nexus 7 and 2012 Nexus 7 display, seeing that Google increased its display resolution from HD to full HD. If these changes are perceived by the human eye, then 326ppi, in and of itself, is only the tip of the iceberg for screen resolutions and the human viewing experience. LG made sure to point this out at last week’s G3 announcement, and we must agree with them.
There are other reputable sources that agree with us as well: when it comes to the 300ppi limit with the human eye, Steve Jobs’s statement was inaccurate. Think about it: if humans can’t see beyond 300ppi, how could Apple implement 326PPIs into its iPhone display? That fact alone testifies to the idea that the 300ppi standard was one that may have worked at the time, but new optics information and data in the twenty-first century confirm otherwise. Apple’s increase in the iPhone 6 screen resolution just goes to show that the statement Steve Jobs made back some years ago may have been more of a means of hype than anything else.
Looking at the screen resolution argument, then, we can say that Apple’s refusal to put anything other than an 8MP camera into the iPhone 6 is less about what Apple can’t do, or finds irrelevant, but rather, what Apple won’t do. To increase the megapixel count would impact Apple’s commitment to keeping the iPhone 6 “thin and light.” The iPhone 6 will be nearly 3mm thinner than the current iPhone 5s model (at 6mm thick). While more megapixels doesn’t translate into photo quality, there is one benefit: it provides better zoom quality and more attention to detail. If you still disagree with this statement, the Nokia Lumia 1020 is an excellent example. There’s a reason why Nokia’s commercials showed the power of capturing excellent photos at the back of the room instead of the front.
Other info you need to know
These are the most important pieces of the puzzle that we’ve detailed here, but there are other iPhone 6 rumors that may shed some light on whether or not the iPhone 6 is the device for you.
The iPhone 6 will run iOS 8, and the new upgrade looks to bring a new HealthBook app to iOS, along with an increase in Passbook capabilities that will now include mobile payments. The iPhone 6 will also feature an A8 processor that will still contain Apple’s 64-bit motion coprocessor chip and two processor cores (dual-core processor).
As for HealthBook, Apple looks to take on other manufacturers with its commitment to health at this year’s iPhone 6 announcement. With the need for HealthBook comes a need for health sensors, so we’re not surprised that one iPhone 6 rumor posits the use of pressure, humidity, heart rate, oxygen, and other sensors into the iPhone 6 experience. This would also make sense because of the long-rumored iWatch that’s been circulating for approximately two years now. With Apple’s recent FDA visit to discuss medical mobile applications, it’s obvious that health will be one of the most important topics of discussion at this year’s iPhone 6 announcement in September.
iPhone 6 release date
With all the information leaked above, you’re wondering about the release date. When can you get your hands on the iPhone 6? Sources say that September 19th is the release date for the iPhone 6 worldwide. Keep in mind that it may arrive at your carrier retail store later than that date, but it is the date in which Apple will release this model to any store. Since the iPhone’s release is often 10 days after it is announced, September 9th is the likely announcement date for the iPhone 6.
This is all we’ve for now on the iPhone 6. It looks to go head-to-head with the other smartphones we’ve seen already, and it’ll make for an interesting holiday season.
Are you ready for the iPhone 6? Have you been waiting for the iPhone 6, or some other smartphone? Let us know what you think in the comments.