Apple’s iPhone 5s and 5c launch marked some noteworthy firsts for the company. It was the first time Apple offered two new handsets at the same time, and it’s also the only time we’ve seen so many color choices, including gold. More important, the iPhone 5s became the world’s first smartphone capable of 64-bit computing. Apple’s next major release, likely to be called the iPhone 6, promises to to be bigger and better. From a larger phablet-sized display to new camera features, here’s a roundup of all of the most believable rumors so far.
The most prevalent rumor surrounding the iPhone 6 is that Apple will yet again release two new smartphone models. Over the past several months, reports from Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg (among other publications) have said that Apple is currently testing smartphone displays in two sizes for two new phones. While most rumors are consistent in saying that Apple will release two smartphones in different sizes, there have been some discrepancies in the exact display measurements. A report from Reuters in June said that the company is experimenting with 4.7-inch and 5.7-inch displays, while Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Acruri says the iPhone 6’s display has been “locked down” at 4.8 inches.
A newer report from The Wall Street Journal pegs the smaller of the pair as having a 4.5-inch display, adding that Apple is scrapping the plastic shell found on the iPhone 5c for a metal design on both new iPhones. The larger iPhone would sport a 5-inch screen, the same size as the Galaxy S4. If this were true, even the biggest iPhone 6 would be considerably smaller than competing Android phablets, such as the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 3 and 6-inch LG Flex.
MORE: 25 Best iOS 7 Apps
The iPhone 5 and 5s were the first smartphones to launch with Apple’s first 64-bit processor, the company’s A7 chip. And according to rumors, the handset maker is pushing the envelope even further with its iPhone 6. Apple may include a blazing fast 20-nanometer quad-core, 64-bit A8 CPU in its next-generation smartphone. If the rumors are true, the iPhone 6 would be the first iPhone to pack a quad-core processor. Reports suggest that the next iPhone will also have quad-core graphics, making it one of the most powerful smartphones–if not the most powerful–on the market. We can’t wait to test the iPhone 6 versus the Galaxy S5’s Snapdragon 801 chip.
Apple fans have been hoping for a Liquidmetal iPhone since the company acquired Liquidmetal Technologies in 2010. Now, about four years later, Apple may be closer to reaching an iPhone design based on such materials. In January 17 patents were published that outlined various applications for Liquidmetal technology related to mobile devices. According to the documents, Liquidmetal could be used to improve the pressure sensors in the iPhone’s home button, the touch sensors in the display and the binding components used to hold the phone together. The collection of patents aren’t directly linked to Apple just yet, but the inventors listed are Apple employees that have been involved in the company’s work with Liquidmetal alloys in the past, as MacRumors notes.
Say goodbye to cracked iPhone screens. Apple recently opened a new manufacturing plant in Mesa, Arizona for producing sapphire crystal displays, meaning the iPhone 6′s screen could be much more durable and scratch resistant than current models. The facility could pump out as many as 116 million 5-inch displays per year, as 9to5Mac reports.
The iPhone 6’s display isn’t only expected to grow in size; it should see a long overdue resolution bump as well. According to DisplaySearch’s predictions, Apple is currently mulling two possibilities for its next iPhone—a 4.7-inch 1600 x 900 resolution screen or a 5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 resolution display. Of course, this is merely a projection, so there’s no telling whether or not we’ll actually see an improved display resolution on the next iPhone. But if Apple does decide to breach the phablet territory with a 5-inch or bigger display, it’s pretty much a lock that we’ll see more pixels. Developers will also need to optimize their apps.
Apple Insider says that the iPhone 6 could come with optical image stabilization like the LG G2 and Nokia Lumia 1020. In other words, it should be easier to avoid shaky images and video footage while moving.
A more recent rumor posted by the Chinese website IT168 Mobile and reported by MacRumors points to the iPhone 6 having a larger 10-MP sensor with a f/1.8 aperture lens. The same report further claims that the iPhone 6 will feature a resin lens filter rather than the hybrid IR filter found on the iPhone 5s. If Apple produces two versions of the iPhone 6 as it did with the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, the high-end version could get the 10-MP camera, while the budget-friendly model may keep the older phone’s 8-MP sensor.
Apple also recently patented a new kind of camera technology that uses two separate image sensors to capture a single photo. According to the filing, one sensor would capture luma data (brightness), while the other would capture chroma data (color). The data would then be combined to form one image. The technology is expected to allow Apple to make thinner cameras, and by extension, thinner iPhones.
Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 6 this fall, which would mark one year after the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c were announced. However, Chinese analyst Sun Chyang Xu says a new iPhone could debut as early as this summer. According Xu, Apple may begin trial production of an iPhone 5s successor in February and could even roll into full scale mass production in May. If this holds up to be true, Apple would announce the iPhone 6 at WWDC 2014, although this is merely speculation.