Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) devices are now finally available on China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL) (HKG:941)’s network, setting the grand platform for the launch of the next-gen smartphone dubbed the iPhone 6. Apple CEO Tim Cook, at a recent event in the carrier’s headquarters, briefly discussed the iPhone 6. On being asked if the next-gen smartphone would have a bigger screen, the CEO said that the company does not talk about its future projects, but he did say they are working on “great things” and want to keep them a secret because “you will be so much happier when you see it.
So with such little official information available on the features of the iPhone 6, we have to rely on rumors and speculations to find out how this device will look and what it will feature. Here is the roundup of the latest news and rumors surrounding the iPhone 6.
iPhone 6 may be slimmer
A recent report from the South Korean website ET News claims that the next-gen device could be significantly slimmer, possibly as much as 6mm thick. Citing Chinese sources within Apple’s supply chain, the report says that the new model could possibly be called the iPhone Air. The latest offerings from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), the iPhone 5S and 5C, measure 7.6mm and 9mm respectively, while the iPhone 3GS was 12mm thick.
Forbes, translating the South Korean report, says, “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.”
Liquidmetal or aluminium
A patent application published by MacRumors this week claims that a few of the components within the ultra-slim frame might be made from Liquidmetal, which is much more durable and stronger than aluminium. The report suggests that the iPhone maker is working on its weak points and plans to deploy alloy in buttons and switches.
Some reports even suggested that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) might replace some parts or even the full aluminium shell with Liquidmetal. The use of the metal would surely make the iPhone 6 lighter and slimmer without compromising on strength and quality. However, fitting the Liquidmetal in a smartphone would not be easy.
Two years back, one of the inventors of Liquidmetal said that the cases based on such metal would be available by mid-2014; however, so far, use of the metal has been very limited.
Release date: May or October
There have been numerous reports and speculations on the release date of the iPhone 6, with each giving its own date. A report from The International Business Times claims the date is likely to be “May 2014 or even earlier,” as the iPhone 5S and 5C duo are failing to win the battle against the Android and Windows Phone mobile platforms. However, some other reports favor an October release, which would be consistent with Apple’s established pattern of annual upgrades. A report from BGR claims that an all-new model seems “improbable” in May, as the iPhone 5S was launched just seven months ago.
Bigger, but how much bigger?
The next iPhone from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will surely be bigger to help the company compete with other bigger-size smartphones. A 4-inch iPhone is popular in the U.S. and is getting impressive response from China, but as Apple goes global, more pressure is building for an iPhone 6 with a bigger screen.
Though Cook revealed no details of the iPhone 6 at the China Mobile iPhone launch event, it is believed the move to expand in China would be good news for U.S. consumers, who desire an iPhone 6 with a 4.7-inch to 5-inch display. A report from Bloomberg says that Apple lost market share in China due to users shifting to cheaper phones, and also the preference for large-screen phones played a part.
According to China Internet Watch, Chinese users’ preference for large-screen smartphones has been increasing, with the majority of users going for a screen size of 4.6-inches or larger. Even though the majority of experts and analysts agree on a larger-size iPhone 6, there have been disagreements over the screen size.
This year Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may also come up with two handsets, claims a report from, China citing numerous confirmations from Foxconn insiders. However, the two handsets will not be in the 4-inch category, according to that report. One will apparently be a 4.7-inch, while the other could be a 5.7-inch phablet-sized panel.
Apple might retain 8mp camera with improved features
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) won’t upgrade the camera sensors to 12MP or 16MP sensors as has previously been rumored, claims a report from the Asian supply and manufacturing network. A report from China Post, citing Chinese firm Nomura Security, says that Apple will use the existing 8-megapixel iSight sensor used in the iPhone 5S but make some adjustments to enhance the image quality, including the addition of optical image stabilization (OIS).
Giving further support to that report, a patent filed at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office showed an application from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) for an OIS setup and improved auto-focus technology. The technology would include “voice coil motor actuators,” which allow the lens to adjust with movement. The report seems believable, as previously Apple did mention that it might not increase the megapixel count and instead would focus more on improving its existing hardware.
Other important expected features
It has been talked about that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may feature technology in the iPhone 6 that would allow a user to adjust their car using the iDevice. A patent filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office shows technology to tune the radio into a preferred station and adjust their mirrors and seat position.
Other expected features in the iPhone 6 are a bigger battery–maybe up to 2,000mAh, compared to the 1,440mAh power pack used in the iPhone 5. It’s largely expected that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will launch the iPhone 6 on iOS 7 instead of going for iOS 8. It seems reasonable for the Cupertino-based firm to put the new device on iOS 7 or an incremental update as the OS, which has been launched recently, was a substantial overhaul from the earlier version.