It doesn’t seem that long ago that hordes of tech addicts were queuing ’round the block to get their hands on the iPhone 5S. But you can’t afford to rest on your laurels in a fast-moving marketplace such as the mobile sector, and thus the Internet is already abuzz with rumors about the iPhone 6, which Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will likely be releasing at some point in 2014, which is just around the corner.

Apple iPhone 6

iPhone 6 rumors flying already

Gadget fiends are definitely going to want to get their hands on what will almost certainly be the defining tech release of 2014. So what can we expect from the latest Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) smartphone? What will it cost, when will it come out, and what functionality will it deliver? Naturally, Apple is keeping a fair bit of information under wraps, but we already have a surfeit of information about the next big Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) handset.

Breaking down what we know by category

Screen

iPhone 6

All of the available evidence points to the fact that the iPhone 6 will have the largest screen of any iPhone released to date. Early rumors coming from Japanese tech publications have indicated that the screen may be as big as 5 inches. It also seems certain that it will be a full HD screen, offering a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080, particularly as ultra HD is now on the horizon.

New Technology

One of the most interesting rumors surrounding the new iPhone, and one that would seem to have some substance, is that the iPhone 6 will embrace gesture technology. This notion has been given legs by the fact that Apple has bought the company behind the Microsoft Kinect, which enables video gamers to play games without a physical controller. Apple paid $360m to buy PrimeSense, although it has yet to confirm the reason for this purchase. It’s far from impossible that Apple could be considering a move into video games at some point, but it seems more likely that they’re looking to incorporate their technology into future mobile devices.

Another rumored feature is gaze detect technology. This has been included in previous Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) devices, and could be considered essential with the new iPhone’s larger screen likely to sap battery life pretty rapidly. It would also provide an obvious counterpoint to the Samsung Galaxy, which has already embraced this feature.

Construction

Apple’s devices are praised highly for their build quality, but of course pretty much all smartphones are breakable. So another rumored aspect of the iPhone 6 is new technology to ensure that it is as hard as possible to break its screen. It has been reported that Apple has come to an agreement with GT Advanced Technologies to produce sapphire glass in a plant in Arizona, which would suggest that the iPhone 6 will benefit from an extremely tough sapphire screen. Apple has forked out over half a billion dollars to secure this deal, so evidently is it something that the tech giant is taking extremely seriously.

In addition to a toughened screen, it has also been rumored that Apple is looking to manufacture a more durable case for the iPhone 6 which will incorporate liquid metal. It has been reported that Apple has submitted five patents for liquid metal, and this will enable the iPhone 6 to be based around a multi-layered case which will be extremely tough to break. Liquid metals are featured in the iPhone 5S, but it seems likely that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will step this feature up in the new iPhone.

Design

iPhone 6

This is where Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) excels, of course, and the new screen size for the iPhone 6 will almost certainly necessitate a new design for the phone. This will obviously be a massive selling point as the iPhone perhaps has the biggest street cred of any tech device in the world.

Various sources on the Internet have produced possible renders of what the iPhone 6 could look like, but it all honesty these are completely worthless and we will simply have to wait for the actual device to be revealed before we have any idea what it’s going to look like. Such information is carefully guarded; for example, Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) (TYO:6758) didn’t even reveal what the PS4’s case looked like during its launch event.

Operating System

iOS 7 has just been released with the iPhone 5S, so a brand new version is highly unlikely, but we may see an upgraded iOS 7 for the iPhone 6.

Storage

Apple have yet to release an iPhone with more storage than 64 Gb, but the iPad 4 has embraced a 128 Gb version, so it’s possible that the iPhone 6 could offer a premium version with double the storage of its previous top-of-the-line models. There has been alleged leaked packaging confirming this suspicion, but such information often turns out to be bogus.

Price

Historically, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has released new handsets at the same price point as their predecessors. This would suggest a launch price of around $750 for the 32 Gb model. It has been rumored that the 16Gb model will be dropped completely, and this would support the notion that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will release a 128 Gb handset, but there is no concrete indication of whether or not this is accurate yet.

Release Date

Finally, when can we get our hands on the iPhone 6? Well, this is probably the area where this is the most disagreement, with many sources putting forward completely differing viewpoints. Although it would generally be expected for the iPhone 6 to come out roughly a year after the previous model, which would suggest a Q4 release, it seems that Apple’s strategy with the iPhone 6 is to market it as a companion to the 5S.

Thus, some sources believe that we may see it far earlier in the year, possibly around May, 2014. On the other hand, others utterly disagree with this verdict, and predict a late Q3 or Q4 release. It seems to me that the latter is more likely, with the iPhone 5S still selling well.

By Christopher Morris