Rumors related to the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 6 release dates, specs and features have been doing rounds since before the company launched the iPhone 5S and 5C last year. However, as the expected launch date approaches, more and more news surrounding the next-gen iPhone can be heard. There has been a series of reports from different analysts and experts over the probable launch of the iPhone 6. The latest ones are discussed below:

iPhone 6

New expected features based on patents

Recently Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) filed a patent in which it gave a hint to readers about what to expect from the iPhone 6. A couple of weeks ago, the company secured 46 new patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. One can gather from these filings and patents that Apple is making efforts to embed a slide to unlock the phone and push-to-talk technology in the iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2. Other patents filed by the tech giant are regarding social networking editing, avatar creation, video gaming and conferencing, says a report from IBTimes.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been a pioneer among smartphones and brought the much popular and adopted slide-to-unlock feature. According to a new patent, the iPhone 6 from Apple could have touch-sensitive display featuring an unlock image. The user would be able to control the panel with the help of a pre-defined gesture, and the system would detect a pattern and respond accordingly.

A report from Patently Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) suggested that Samsung and Apple are in a tussle over the patent. Apple claims that it filed 30 patents, including this one. Inventors Scott Forstall, Imran Chaudhri, Bas Ording, Marcel van OS, Greg Christie and Freddy Anzures are credited with the patent, which is patent number 8,694,923. However, it is not clear if the company will be able to integrate this technology with its Touch ID feature, as this dual slider method is quite a complicated thing. Apple has dragged Samsung in the court over the alleged infringement of the “slide to unlock” mechanism.

Another patent granted to the iPhone maker is related to Avatar creation and would present the user’s reflection in the mobile device. The avatar would be created by using various methods, including computer-readable media, for development and customization of the avatar.

Another technology expected to debut on the iPhone 6 is Push-to-Talk over cellular, which is a service option for mobile phone networks. This feature would allow users to use smartphones as walkie-talkies without a range limit. There has not been an official proclamation from Apple regarding the use of this technology, however.

iPhone 6 accessories already on the market

According to Japanese website Macotakara (via AppleInsider), at the recent Hong Kong trade show, various vendors were selling iPhone 6 accessories, which suggests that the release date of the phone is just couple of months away.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is yet to announce the features and specifications of the iPhone 6, but a few sources claim to have a metal mock-up of the handset. One of the vendors at the show claimed to have a physical metal mock-up of the iPhone 6 developed by an unknown manufacturer. The so called iPhone 6 mock-up is akin to the allegedly leaked picture of the device chassis which was revealed in the last month or so.apple iphone 6 crystal

“Both the mockup and the alleged case back include a protruding rear-facing camera lens and single round flash module, inconsistent with current models that sport a flush-mounted lens and pill-shaped True Tone dual-LED flash,” according to a report from Apple Insider.

How much will the iPhone 6 cost?

As always, there has also been conjecture over the price of the iPhone 6, and according to some reports, it would be $100 more than the iPhone 5S. Jefferies analyst Peter Misek claims Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is in talks with various carriers to boost the upfront selling price of the iPhone to $299 instead of the usual $199. The analyst further said Apple is in the process of manufacturing two variants of iPhone 6: one with a 4.7-inch display and the other with a 5.5-inch display. Other features expected in the iPhone 6 are an A8 processor, iOS8, and Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

Two variants, bigger one delayed

Reuters, citing Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) supply partners, reported that iPhone 6 production will start in May. There may be be a 4.7-inch display launched first, while the larger 5.5-inch version may get delayed. Companies that have supposedly been contracted by Apple are Japan Display Inc, Sharp and LG’s Display Company.

Apple iPhone 6c

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is reportedly trying to use in-touch panel technology to make a thinner iPhone compared to the iPhone 5S and 5C. However, it is said to be facing issues for its 5.5-inch iPhone 6, which is supposedly why production will be delayed for a few months. The larger display iPhone might have film sensor technology instead of the in-cell technology which is expected for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6.

Business Insider noted that Apple will likely use a new screen which would ensure a super colorful display. At present, the company has five patents, and all of them are related to Quantum Dot Display. Bezels will probably not get a place in the upcoming iPhone 6 if rumors are to be believed. The Korean Herald reported that Apple is testing an iPhone without a bezel.

Apple to debut iOS 8 soon

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iPhone 6 is expected to have iOS 8, which will probably debut few months from now. Apple will kick off its Worldwide Developers’ Conference (WWDC) this June in San Francisco. The event is scheduled to run from June 2 to June 6. Just like in previous years, it is expected that the iPhone maker will show off new SDK and software applications for developers at the event.  The software released during the event is more often than not the Beta version, and the global launch comes few weeks later.

iOS 8

Some of the most-talked-about features expected in iOS 8 are Healthbook, enhanced mapping software, Voice over LTE and Messages.The Healthbook feature will likely be able to collect and store the user’s health data from various hardware accessories and applications. It will probably work like Passbook in terms of design and user interface. Because of rumors about the Healthbook app, recently there were also reports claiming that health insurers could subsidize the price for the iPhone 6.

The mapping software is expected to be better than its predecessor, including having better bus stop notations, labeling and cartography. It is also expected to be able to map out airports and train stations better.

As of now, there have been no official words from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) about the iPhone 6. The work behind the scenes has been going so secretively that not even the name of the next-gen model is confirmed, whether it will be called iPhone 6 or iPhone Air or any other name.