With Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) having just released their sales figures from October to December last year, many fans of their products are already looking forward to a release that can be expected later this year. The chance of a year passing by without a new iPhone release is pretty slim nowadays, and sure enough the iPhone 6 is due to hit the shops at some point later this year.

apple iphone 6

There are currently no plans to name this device anything other than iPhone 6. This is such a strong brand that this hardly comes as much of a surprise, but at some point, maybe around the time that the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 27 is due out, the company might think about changing the name, just for a bit of variety. In all seriousness, we haven’t seen a piece of consumer electronics endure to this degree, but the number of smartphone iterations that are released means that such a number of iPhones is not only possible but likely. It will be interesting going forward to see if Apple sticks with the iPhone name indefinitely, but in the meantime expect no surprises here.

May / June unveiling?

However, already there is some disagreement on when we can expect to see this new Apple smartphone offering. It had been proposed quite recently that the iPhone 6 would launch about a month or so before Christmas, or certainly in the last quarter of the year, in line with previous smartphone releases from the corporation. But it now seems that this estimate might have been misguided, and that we can probably expect the iPhone 6 sooner than that, and quite possibly considerably sooner.

There are already rumors circulating that the iPhone 6 may surface as early as May or June. Obviously this would be considerably earlier than previous offerings, which have usually been announced by Apple around September or October. It seemed inevitable that this would occur again with the iPhone 6.

However, the media has been ablaze over recent days with the revelation that an analyst has predicted that the new Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) handset will hit the production lines in May, ready to be released by September at the latest, with even July a possible release date. There have been further murmurings from companies involved in the iPhone supply chain which suggest that Apple could even release the iPhone 6 as early as May, 2014, although this sounds incredibly unlikely given that this would necessitate a mere six-month gap between iPhones 5 and 6.

Nonetheless, during the month of June Apple is expected to hold its annual Worldwide Developer Conference. For many years Apple has held these events without dispensing any important iPhone news, but rumors persist that this year will be very different and that we will see the next big Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) smartphone being revealed here. The proof will be in the pudding, but at this point in time it does seem that the iPhone 6 might be surfacing sooner than we expected.

iPhone 6 Display rumors intensify

Meanwhile, some of the facets of the new device that were previously rumors now seem to have a more solid basis in reality. The first of these is the screen used in the iPhone 6, which now looks certain to be a sapphire display. Apparently, the Chinese manufacturer Foxconn Technology Co., Ltd. (TPE:2354) has already begun producing iPhones with sapphire displays according to the Taiwanese media, and the company is expected to make 100 iPhone units with this cover display glass. It seems reasonable to assume that this is being done to test production capabilities, a sort of prototype, and that once this process is put in place successfully it will be part of the iPhone 6’s arsenal. This would be concurrent with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s recent patent applications for such a procedure.

Additionally, the sapphire suppliers Synopsys and Bern Optics have been reported by the Taiwan publication ‘Apple Daily’ to have invested in cutting machines and other sapphire-related machinery. This would naturally suggest that they are preparing to fulfill a major contract, and it is likely that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) are looking to them to supply the materials for the iPhone 6.

Wall Street Journal weighs in

Another couple of rumors which now seem to have solidified are those surrounding the screen size and the release of two separate iPhone models. The Wall Street Journal took the opportunity to report on this prospect this week, quoting a source close to Apple on the matter. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple plans to release one iPhone model with a 4 ½ inch screen, and a second premium version with a 5 inch display. They also suggested that both models will be based around metallic designs.

Many of these elements of the iPhone 6 have been rumored for some time, but the Wall Street Journal reporting on them will naturally give them more credence. The notion of both versions of the iPhone being metallic would certainly be consistent with the notion that the iPhone 5c has not sold as well as hoped, reported on earlier today by ValueWalk.

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) has already earmarked 2014 as being a key year in which it intends to superseded Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), and the iPhone manufacturer is hardly likely to take this lying down. The plans for the iPhone 6 indicate that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is ready to come out with all guns blazing.