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What the iPhone 6 needs to stay ahead of the game

With rumors circulating that Apple will unveil the next iPhone in September, here's a look at what Apple's iPhone 6 needs to stay ahead of the game and beat off the competition.
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1 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Introduction

With rumors circulating that Apple will unveil the next iPhone in September, speculation as to what the iPhone 6 will bring to the table hitting fever-pitch, the usual tech websites are awash with mockups and what claim to be leaked parts from the next-gen handset.

Rather than wade through the gossips and conjecture, I'm going to approach my take on the iPhone 6 from a different angle and look at what it needs to stay ahead of the game.

Forget about pseudo-3D displays and smartwatch connectivity, here's what the iPhone 6 needs to stay ahead of the game.

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2 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

The threats

Let's start by looking at the threats facing the iPhone. Primarily I see the danger coming from two directions. First is Samsung and it's flagship Galaxy S5. Samsung has packed a lot of new sensors and gizmos into its flagship handset, which will no doubt appeal to those who like to have new toys to play with.

Another threat is from Amazon and the Fire Phone with its cool 3D-esque display. Sure, it comes across as a bit gimmicky, but gimmicks sell, and Amazon has access to a massive potential customer base at which it can push the handset.

While Apple hasn't been sitting on its hands over the past few years, it's time for the Cupertino giant to now leverage features such as the 64-bit processor, the fingerprint reader and M7 motion co-processor and take these to the next level.

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3 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Bigger screens

Apple kicked off the touchscreen smartphone revolution with the iPhone that originally featured a 3.5-inch screen. This was increased to 4-inch with the iPhone 5. However, the portability of the small screen has given way to a fetish for devices that no longer fit in the pocket.

Rumor has it that Apple will bump the screen of the iPhone up from 4-inch to 4.7-inch or possibly to 5.5-inch to compete with the large screen smartphones and phablets now available.

People want bigger screens, and Apple will I feel need to follow the herd and give people more display to interact with.

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4 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Better battery life

Apple has managed to keep the 3G talk time battery life of the iPhone at 10 hours for several generations, but once you start to make heavy use of the handset, the battery life plummets to a few hours.

At a time when there are handsets offering far better battery life, Apple needs to consider whether this is enough given that handsets such as the LG G2 can beat this by a couple of hours.  

I'd like to see Apple add a couple of hours to the iPhone battery life to reduce that anxiety I feel when I see the indicator fall as I'm using it. Ideally, I'd like a situation where I could use the iPhone for a full working day and only have to charge it up during the evenings.

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5 of 9 iFixit

Tougher screen

While the iPhone's screen isn't the most fragile around – some feel like they're made of cheese – Apple needs to get beyond the need for its devices to need screen protectors to prevent scratches.

If the rumor that Apple is planning to use sapphire displays is true, then screen scratches should be a thing of the past. And if Apple is going to make the display even bigger, then a stronger, tougher screen is even more important.

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6 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Wireless charging

About the only time I connect the cable to my iPhone is when it's charging, and given the frankly pathetic battery life, this is something I'm doing a lot.

Please Apple, add wireless charging to the iPhone. This would be so cool, and open up the way for awesome accessories such as an in-car charging cradle where I wouldn’t have to futz about plugging in the cable each time I use it.

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7 of 9 iFixit

More storage

Apple, please bump up the highest capacity you offer to 128GB. I know it will be eye-wateringly expensive, but I carry around a lot of apps and data on my iPhone, and even 64GB is feeling a little cramped.

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8 of 9 iFixit

More robust construction

Along with a tougher screen, I'd like to see Apple make the whole iPhone a lot more robust. A number of companies are making their smartphones waterproof and dustproof, and this is certainly something that would appeal to users, especially considering how common a problem water damage is.

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9 of 9 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Faster wi-fi

While 802.11ac – also known as gigabit wi-fi, which is three times faster than 802.11n – wasn't ready for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, we can expect that the new handset will support this standard. 

The flipside of this is that faster wi-fi will put a heavier drain on the battery.

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