Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s next-gen iPhone or the iPhone 6 has been in the news since before the company even launched the iPhone 5S and 5C. Week after week, there have numerous reports and rumors claiming that various features might be included in the iPhone 6. As of now, there have been no official words on the iPhone 6; also, no one is even sure that the next iPhone will be called iPhone 6, iPhone Air or any of the other suggested names.
However, there has been a trend that, as the launch date nears (although it is not official now), rumors and speculations tend to be more reliable. So, here is the roundup of this week’s rumors, reports and speculations;
iPhone 6 to be slimmer
The most recent news regarding the iPhone 6 was the leaked images of the metal frame. A website called C Tech claims the images are of the iPhone 6's metal frame, which is thinner, around 6mm. The screen fixed on the frame is speculated to be around 4.7 inches or even 5-inches in size.
Another report from the South Korean website ET News claims that the iPhone 6 could just be 6mm thick. According to the report, the next-gen iPhone would be significantly slimmer. The report, citing sources in Chinese companies within Apple's supply chain, says the new model would be called the iPhone Air.
Translating the South Korean report, Forbes said, "To earn the moniker already bestowed upon the top-of-the-line iPad and Mac models, the new iPhone will reportedly measure only 6 millimeters thick.”
A 6mm thick iPhone will be a huge improvement over the previous versions; the iPhone 5S is 7.6mm thick, while the 5C model measures 9mm. The iPhone 3GS measured 12mm, which was double the size of the proposed new model.
8 or 16 megapixel camera
Another rumor appearing this week claims that Apple would retain the 8-megapixel camera sensor for the iPhone 6. However, some enhancements in the features may be expected, like improved optical image stabilization, says a report from the Chinapost. Previously, the reports claimed that Apple may go for a 16-megapixel camera for the next-gen iPhone.
The report comes from Nomura Securities and notes a drop in shares of Largan Precision, which is a major supplier of the camera lens modules for smartphones, tablets, digital cameras and other devices. According to the report, the rumors that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) would retain 8 megapixels instead of using Largan Precision's new module for its next version of the iPhone forced the shares of the manufacturer to drop. The report broadly contradicts the ongoing belief that Apple would certainly boost the iPhone 6's camera sensor as the company has been going with an 8-megapixel size for the last three generations, since the iPhone 4S in 2011. The iPhone 5S also uses an 8-megapixel sensor, but with improved features like increased pixel size, a larger aperture, a new "True Tone" dual LED flash, software enhancements, and more.
A new patent which appeared this week reflects that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is indeed working hard to improve the camera for its next iPhone. The patent application titled “VCM OIS Actuator Module” was filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on July 6, 2012, reveals UnwiredView. The patent relates to a method of enhancing the autofocus (AF) and adding optical image stabilization (OIS) to the cameras.
“Miniature cameras are becoming increasingly common in mobile electronic devices such as smartphones. There is a constant drive to improve performance of such cameras, while still maintaining the same envelope,” the patent document says.
Pegatron or Foxconn--Which is more important to Apple?
Almost half of the iPhone 6 supply could come from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) supplier Pegatron, claims a report from Taiwan's Liberty Times. As of now, Foxconn is responsible for assembling the iPhone 5S, while Pegatron manages Apple's iPad mini and iPhone 5C. The report fails to mention the name of the supplier responsible for manufacturing the other half, but it is largely believed to be Foxconn. As of now, it is still not clear how Apple would split its production or how it would bifurcate the product lineup, which currently includes the iPhone 5S and the mid-range iPhone 5C.
The iPhone maker moved the production of the iPhone 5C to Pegatron in 2013, to better manage the supply chain risk. The move allows Apple to improve its product lines and minimize potential supply chain issues. Pegatron is expected to build a new plant in Kunshan, China to meet the growing demand.
The Liberty Times says, “In order to meet the demand, Pegatron has started building a new plant at Kunshan, a satellite city near Shanghai where all its iPhones are assembled.” According to the report, the plant would be operational by the middle of the year and would be ready for mass production a few months later, when Apple is expected to launch the iPhone 6.
Release date: May or September
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) generally releases the next iteration of the iPhone in September, but for the iPhone 6, it is widely believed that Apple might deviate from the trend. Digitimes, citing a source in Apple’s supply chain, claims that a larger iPhone may make an appearance in May 2014. The report suggests the device would use a 20nm processor which will be manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. The report also notes that the iPhone 6 would be bigger in size than the iPhone 5S and 5C. Presently, there have been rumors favoring a 5-inch display.
A release in May 2014 looks a bit surprising as the iPhone 5S and 5C models were released just six months back, in September 2013. Also, a bigger display is questionable as it would take over from the flagship model, or there might be a possibility for two iterations of the handset similar to the 5S and 5C.
There are a lot of questions surrounding the iPhone 6, and the questions will remain until Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) officially puts a seal on the next-gen iPhone. The wait might not be long. In fact, it might only be a few more months, but until then, we have to live with these rumors and speculations.
(Raza will post)