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.
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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 has employed an 8-megapixel camera sensor for three consecutive iPhone generations, and the iPhone 6 may uphold this trend. The China Post reports that Apple’s next-gen smartphone will use the same camera sensor as its predecessors, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see any enhancements. 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.
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.