Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s next iPhone, the iPhone 6, remains the subject of many rumors. There are reports that the screen of the iPhone 6 could be tougher than concrete. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is also expected to make the iPhone 6 screen larger. The company is reportedly testing different prototypes ranging between 4.7-inch and 5.8-inch. There are also reports that the Cupertino-based company would release two iPhones next year. One will be similar in size with the current iPhone 5S. Another will sport a larger screen to compete with so-called phablets.

iPhone 6

Why iPhone 6 screen could be tougher than concrete

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) recently invested $578 million in GT Advanced Technologies, that makes sapphire crystal, to boost production. So far, the iPhone maker has used sapphire crystal for small components such as the lens cover. But now the company may use it to make the entire screen. It’s an extremely hard material that doesn’t scratch even if rubbed against concrete. According to the International Business Times, sapphire crystal is 2.5 times tougher than the Corning Gorilla Glass used in most smartphones. It will give Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) a clear advantage over competitors.

How big will the iPhone 6 screen be?

Though Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may launch an iPhone with a larger screen next year, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that the tech giant won’t go for a screen bigger than 5-inch. He says Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is likely to adhere to its principle of one-handed use. A larger screen size means the company will have to boost the pixel count to maintain the Retina resolution. So, app developers will have to redesign their apps to comply with the new screen dimensions.

Other reports suggest that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may go the Air way with iPhone 6. The latest iPad Air has been a blockbuster. So, the company may bring an Air range to the iPhone as well. Experts say that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may remove the Home button from the iPhone 6. However, that seems unlikely because Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) attached the TouchID sensor to the Home button. Removing it in less than a year would send a signal that the tech giant considers its TouchID fingerprint scanner a failure. What could happen is that the display itself becomes a TouchID sensor. Earlier this year, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) filed for a patent regarding a display with fingerprint scanner. The company is also expected to use the face recognition technology that will make your face your password.

Release date

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) refreshes iPhones once a year. So, we expect the iPhone 6 to hit the market in 2014. The company launched its iPhone 5S and 5C in September, 2013. But analysts say that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may launch the iPhone 6 before September 2014, maybe at the WWDC in June. That’s highly likely because the first four generations of iPhone have been launched in June. Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty said last month that she expects Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to refresh its iPhone lineup more frequently. That means the company may launch the iPhone 6 early next year, and iPhone 6S (or Air) by the end of 2014.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares were little changed at $566.04 in pre-market trading Tuesday.