iPhone 6 preview: What to expect

iPhone 6 preview: What to expect

Summary: Apple's next-generation smartphone remains one of the hottest and most highly anticipated products of the year. In between the slow drip of leaks and rumors, here's what we think we know.

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iPhone 6 mock-up render (Image: Martin Hajek)

Make no mistake: Apple's next iPhone could determine the near future of the company itself.

At more than half the company's first quarter revenue, Apple is more focused on keeping the iPhone refreshed than any other device it has in its roster. Thankfully during one of its quietest fiscal quarters, the company was still able to vastly surpass Wall Street expectations, and year-over-year results, by millions of devices.

Keeping the public interested in the iPhone remains a major challenge. What Apple has up its sleeve for the fall remains much of a mystery. However, there have been substantial leaks that could leave audiences pleasantly surprised.

All eyes are on the premium model, what we believe to be called the iPhone 6. Following prior naming patterns — each major version has its own number and iterations are alphanumerical — things took a turn when the lower-cost iPhone 5c was announced. Thus far it has been widely considered a flop. Whether or not Apple will continue the model remains unknown.

Here's what we think we know about the iPhone 6, to date:

A brand new, larger, thinner design? 

Many leaks have pointed to a brand new metal chassis and shell, perhaps taking a leaf from the iPhone 3G's book, in that it may land with slightly rounded corners and a thinner overall depth.

The outside bezel remains a mystery, but some have pointed to a thinner edge between the shell and the display.

It's also expected to land in a larger 4.7-inch display, which would keep video aspect ratio perfect, but also add another row of icons.

Recent Apple v. Samsung documentation showed the company was pushing for a larger device to compete with the "phablet" range of devices, notably from its main Korean smartphone maker rival. Another rumor points to the possibility of an even larger 5.5-inch model, but mainstream reports have widely dismissed the idea. 

Increased screen resolution?

In his latest reports, 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman — a reliable source of pre-release Apple news — suggests a new sharper 1704x960 resolution display is in the works.

This particular resolution means developers would have no additional work to make their apps run on a larger screen. This would give a resolution density of between 356-416 pixels per inch, significantly higher than the 300 pixels per inch limitation of the human retina. 

The size is important because this reduces the fragmentation of display and resolution screen sizes that has previously angered Apple developers.

A stronger sapphire-crystal screen? 

A new sapphire screen would make the iPhone 6 screen significantly stronger and scratch resistant.

The scratch-proof crystal technology is already embedded in the Touch ID fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 5s, designed as such to prevent it from deteriorating.

Reports pointed to Apple ramping up sapphire crystal manufacturing in recent months, which could create as many as 200 million 5-inch iPhone 5 displays. Exactly where that leaves Corning's Gorilla Glass — presumably now a former Apple supplier — remains unclear.

Canonical, the maker of the Ubuntu operating system, which recently dipped into smartphone development, said Apple had bought up three years' worth of sapphire screens — allegedly for the iPhone 6.

Faster 802.11ac networking?

Wall Street and industry analysts, including Cowen analyst Timothy Arcuri have pointed to the iPhone supporting the latest 802.11ac wireless networking standard, which reaches speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second. It falls in line with Apple's efforts to bring the next-generation networking technology to its other devices, including AirPort routers and storage units.

Topics: Apple, iOS, iPhone, iPad, Mobile OS, Mobility, Smartphones

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  • Not sure I understand the point

    No one seems to know, other than it is predicted to be bigger, what the next iOS products will be. Just wait and see. Now the "what I want to see..." stories are fine and they are just opinion pieces but the baseless speculation is just pointless.
    Rann Xeroxx
  • Not Enough of a change

    I was so looking forward to the next iPhone. I had to trade in the 4s for a Samsung Note 2 simply because the screen was larger.
    Now the Note 2 has screen burn in which is a common occurence for Samsung's AMOLED displays.

    I've been anticipating this new iPhone but from every thing I hear its going to be some super duper phone that gives great health readings. Now that is all wonderful and good if I'm some 57 year old statin popping old guy who jogs way too much and am worried about dropping over of a heart attack.

    And song recognition? really? So the iPhone 6 is going to be a glorified iPod?

    Look, smartphones are capable of being so much more than just cameras and walkmans.

    I may just have to stick with Android. I hear the LG G2 uses LCD technology. I may grab one of those and see if there is any visibility outdoors because the Samsung AMOLED is quite dim in the sunlight.
    Pierre194
    • Samsung Note II Screen Burn

      It wouldn't have screen burn if you set the power features correctly on the device.
      Screen burn is your fault.
      Labrynth
      • Screen Burn

        Could you give some more information on power settings to prevent screen burn?
        Honeyboy Wilson
      • Screen Burn

        If you use a certain app enough (like, for many hours every day) and it has static elements, it makes little difference what the power settings are. It's a well known issue with Samsung's screens.
        fawlty70
      • asinine assertion

        Another apologist blaming the user, probably after experiencing the same thing himself.

        So did he go in and change the "power features" to some damaging ones? Because of course the phone ships with the "right" ones by default, to prevent this mishap, doesn't it?
        dgurney
      • Is that the Samsung version

        of "you're holding it wrong?"
        baggins_z
      • Screen Burn an inherent problem with the OLEDs

        The OLEDs are cheap and easy to make but they have 2 major problems

        Poor colour rendition

        Screen burn

        At the current technology level they aren't suitable for high end devices.
        Henry 3 Dogg
        • " the Galaxy S5 is the Best performing Smartphone display that we tested"

          www.displaymate.com/Galaxy_S5_ShootOut_1.htm

          What do you want to put in a flagship device other than the best?!
          AleMartin
    • iPod

      "So the iPhone 6 is going to be a glorified iPod? "
      ---
      The iPhone has always been a glorified iPod, it's just an iPod with a phone app. That isn't necessarily a bad thing by the way.
      sandmich
      • hmm not really.

        Yes, the iPhone is an iPod Touch with a phone in it.

        But the iPhone came out well before the iPod Touch.

        And the iPhone certainly isn't any earlier form of iPod, with a phone in it.

        So really, its more reasonable to say that the iPod Touch is an iPhone, without the phone.
        Henry 3 Dogg
    • It used to be a good iPod, but Apple screwed that up.

      Apple inexplicably REMOVED the audio line out from the dock connector, when they released this crippled and embarrassing new one.
      dgurney
      • You can see how misinformation is propagated about Apple products.

        The audio line is still there.

        If you don't think so, look on the back of an iPhone 5/5s dock. The audio output works fine.

        The lightning connector was a significant improvement.

        The original iPod connector was too wide to feel and as a result felt insecure. The locks could be a problem. It wasn't easy to get it the right way round without looking. And they were too easy to damage, both the plug and the socket.

        The lightning connector socket takes up a lot less space in the device. It is much faster, and has the potential to be driven faster still. And it resolves all of the issues above.

        How can that be an embarrassment? Except to someone from Samsung's marketing department. Are you from there?
        Henry 3 Dogg
    • The iPhone has always strongly been an iPod

      that was one of its original selling points. Surely you never expected them to degrade that focus, did you? Np chance that was ever going to happen.
      Mac_PC_FenceSitter
    • I haven't seen this on my Note?

      I wasn't aware of this issue and have not seen any screen burn with my handset.

      Do you have your screen on full brightness all the time?

      I was tempted to do this, but have kept my screen brightness set to "auto". If so I will keep doing what I'm doing!
      slamba
  • catching up

    The song recognition and camera software would be merely playing catch up to Nokia and WP. WP has had built in song recognition along with song recognition via Shazam that allowed one click downloading of the song from the Xbox music store. And camera software - the level of control that the Nokia Pro Cam software provides is unsurpassed on a phone, along with having the same style of optical stabilization as DSLR cameras.

    Beyond that most of the other features are playing catch up with Samsung, so if the rumors are true then for the third year running Apple will be playing catch up with very little firsts for themselves (they've had what Siri, Fingerprint security and Retina Display - all of which were matched of surpassed in less than 6 months anyway)
    aesonaus
    • Throwing Down

      After Apple first threw down, everyone loved watching Samsung and the entire industry play catch up. So apparently playing catch up ain't such a bad game to play.
      oNutz
      • Problem is that, Apple "threw down" 7 years ago, and they've

        been playing catch up ever since. That will eventually start hurting them.

        Being an also-ran can only take you so far.
        adornoe@...
      • yeah

        Apple did really get the smartphone moving along and on the software side set the benchmark others then aspired to compete with.

        Problem was - the old Windows Mobile phones had better hardware in less than 12 months (4"+ screens, better processors, as good or better cameras) just the software wasn't up to scratch and by the time of the iPhone 4 the Android phones had caught up and were starting to surpass them.

        So while its good to be first, the challenge is to stay there (just ask MS about tablets and smartphones and how being first didn't result in much for them in the end - as they had to basically restart from scratch in the end)
        aesonaus
    • If the song was available that is

      as no one else has a catalogue the size of iTunes, except perhaps Amazon.
      Mac_PC_FenceSitter