While some were expecting the iPhone 6 at Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)'s big event back in October, the device won't hit the markets until 2014. There have been a lot of rumors and speculations about features, specs and the release date of the iPhone 6, which Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has already called a "blockbuster." Anyway, looking at the iPhone 5S and its features would give a fair idea of what Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) might be working on next. Let's look at all the media rumors and speculations and the possibility of those features appearing in the iPhone 6.
What's the name?
That's a big question: what Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is going to call its next handset, which for now we're referring to as the iPhone 6. We have seen that instead of naming its latest tablet the iPad 5, the Cupertino-based company went ahead with the iPad Air name. So there have been consistent speculations that the next iPhone may be called the iPhone Air. A concept design created by Set Solutions features a smartphone weighing just 70 grams with a slim design. The Italian designers say that this incredibly powerful and light device will be called the iPhone Air rather than the iPhone 6.
The iPhone 6 screen
The biggest rumor around the next iPhone has been about its screen size. The Android phablets are snatching market share from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). Media reports indicate analysts believe that the iPhone 6 will have a screen size of between 4.8 inches and 5.7 inches. The Cupertino-based company has never made a smartphone with a screen larger than four inches. But now it makes a lot of sense for the iPhone 6, as it can compete with the phablets from Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) and other vendors. The iPhone 5S will remain a smaller alternative to the next iPhone.
A large screen size affects resolution, battery life, brightness, compatibility with apps and screen longevity. But Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook has said that the company won't bring an iPhone with too many trade-offs. So analysts believe that the iPhone 6 may come with a Sharp IGZO screen that consumes considerably less power and is thinner. There have also been rumors of a curved screen. But Expert Reviews says that the iPhone 6 is unlikely to be as radical as the LG G Flex or Galaxy Round.
iPhone 6 with tougher than concrete construction
The biggest drawback of the iPhone 5S is that it has a scratchable, breakable screen which can crack after being dropped. But Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) seems to have found the solution. The company has already been using sapphire crystal in smaller components of the iPhone 5S, such as the camera lens and fingerprint scanner. Sapphire glass is considered to be tougher than concrete.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) recently signed a $578 million deal with GT Advanced Technologies to ramp up production of sapphire crystal in Arizona. The company may use sapphire to make the entire screen of the iPhone 6, making it scratch-proof. GT Advanced Technologies generates about $29 million from sales of sapphire annually. But the company forecasts sapphire sales to rise to between $600 million and $800 million in 2014. And the bulk of that is likely to come from Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL).
Gesture technology in the iPhone 6
iPhones already have voice technology with Siri. Now reports suggest that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may use gesture technology in the iPhone 6. The biggest reason behind this speculation is the $360 million acquisition of PrimeSense. PrimeSense is the company behind Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)'s Kinect technology in the original Xbox, which lets users play games with body movements. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may use the gesture technology of PrimeSense in the iPhone 6. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930)'s Galaxy S4 has some gesture-controlled features. For example, the video automatically pauses when the user looks away from the screen.
It may also help Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) increase the battery life of its smartphones, which has been a priority for the company. PatentlyApple says that the iPhone 6 may detect if you are looking at the screen or not. If you stare away from the screen, it may pause the video or turn off the screen to save battery.
TouchID in the iPhone 6
The fingerprint scanner was one of the highlights of the iPhone 5S. Currently it's used to unlock the device and authorize App Store and iTunes payments. But Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may use the TouchID technology to authenticate bank transactions through the iPhone.
However, some critics argue that the TouchID scanner may not be the perfect way to perform bank transaction on a smartphone. People leave their fingerprints on most things they touch, which could give unauthorized access to anyone who can lift their fingerprint and use it to access their device. Other reports suggest that the iPhone 6 may feature an eye scanner, which would be much safer than the TouchID scanner. If that's true, experts say the iPhone 6 will be the most secure smartphone ever.
iPhone 6 camera
As far as the camera is concerned, the iPhone 6 may go in an entirely different direction. According to 9to5Mac, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has won a patent related to a light field camera. As the iPhone 6 is expected to come with a bigger size, it would provide more space for pixel counts. Moreover, the tech giant has reportedly signed a deal with Japan's Sony Corp. that makes 12- and 13-inch camera sensors. Experts believe that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may increase the pixel count from 8 megapixels in the iPhone 5S to 12 or 13 megapixels in the iPhone 6. The camera allows users to refocus the image even after the initial shot, just like the Lytro light field camera. However, the patent doesn't reveal anything about what device Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will be using this technology in.
Other rumored features for the iPhone 6 include a revamped version of Apple's 64-bit A7 processor or an entirely new A8. The 64-bit chip in the iPhone 5S was highly praised. The top range of iPhones have maintained the maximum storage capacity of 64GB. But Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is expected to increase the storage capacity to 128GB. That would allows users to store large files for CAD, music production and other applications, apart from the storage of photos, videos and songs.
However, there is no clear indication about the release date of iPhone 6. Some analysts say that the device is likely to be announced in June 2014 at WWDC. Others suggest that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will maintain the late September release for the iPhone 6 because the company may unveil a larger, 12.9-inch iPad, the iWatch and Apple TV at WWDC.