There are a few things in life you can eternally rely on: 1) your phone is never where you left it, 2) your train will be the only one crippled by "adverse weather" and 3) Apple will launch a new iPhone every year until humans master the art of telepathy. A few months after the launch of the iPhone 5S, it's time now to start rummaging down the back of the rumour sofa to fish out all there is to know so far about the iPhone 6.
What Will the Next iPhone be Called?
We've had the iPhone 5 and we've had the iPhone 5S. With the "S" class version of the iPhone 5 out of the way, you geniuses should be able to figure out that the next on Apple's list is the iPhone 6. However, with rumours circulating that there will be more than one iPhone launching this year, at more than one screen size, Apple may have to introduce another name to act as a differentiator. Could we see an iPhone 6 and an iPhone 6 Plus or iPhone 6 Max launch this year?
What to Expect From the iPhone 6's Specs
The nosiest rumour surrounding the iPhone 6 today is the possibility that it will launch in two sizes, both bigger than what's currently seen in the 4-inch iPhone 5S. The most-often rumoured screen sizes are 4.7-inches and 5.7-inches, though we've also heard word of a 5.5-inch iPhone 6 and a 4.8-inch device too. There's sense to the rumour of an iPhone 6 landing with a larger screen -- Apple need a new selling point to encourage those looking to upgrade, as well as offer an alternative to rivals' popular "phablet" devices. However, there's also the potential for a larger iPhone to cause fragmentation across iOS for developers -- something Apple has been keen to avoid in the past, allowing most apps to cohesively run across multiple generations of its devices.
Other rumours point to the iPhone 6 sporting a curved display, while the chassis to the new iPhone is thought to have a curvier finish that would bring it in line with the iPad Mini design, according to a number of leaks.
Elsewhere, Apple is said to have made moves to improve battery life by moving to take over low-power component specialists Renesas Electronics. This could possibly help push the iPhone's battery life further -- a selling point in itself. Apple is also said to have put new environmental sensors in the iPhone 6, to monitor temperature, humidity and pressure levels, in an effort to improve its health and fitness monitoring capabilities -- and possibly to aid a companion iWatch wearable. Possible schematics have leaked online too -- check them out below:
Other than that, it should be business as usual -- expect the iPhone 5S's TouchID fingerprint scanner to return, and Apple's reversible Lightning connector to be used for charging and data transfer. It's also very likely that there will be a an update to the processor onboard, likely jumping from the A7 to the A8. The A7 was Apple's first 64-bit processor, accompanied by the M7 motion co-processor -- expect to see a continued push to health and fitness tracking sensors within Apple's smartphones too.
What to Expect From iOS 8
Moving on from the the minimalist, flat design of iOS 7, the iPhone 6 is likely to land with a new iOS 8 operating system onboard. We've heard multiple rumours around what could be included here, from in-built Shazam song recognition to an overhauled Maps app.
Perhaps most interesting of all however are rumours pertaining to the inclusion of a health and fitness monitoring suite of features called the Healthbook. Tying in to the rumours of an iWatch companion and environmental sensors being included in the iPhone 6, the app could track oxygen saturation, blood work and even blood sugar levels according to early leaks -- metrics that haven't yet been approached by smartphone tracking systems.
What Will the iPhone 6's Camera be Like?
While the megapixel count for the iPhone 6 remains uncertain (a 13MP sensor would be the likely jump from the iPhone 5S's 8MP snapper, seeing as that's where most of the competition sits at the moment), it's been suggested that Apple will drop optical image stabilisation in favour of electronic image stabilisation. This would allow for a smaller camera module, potentially allowing Apple to shrink down the entire thickness of the phone.
In addition to replacing the OIS system, the iPhone 6's camera could also feature larger, 1.75um sized, pixels. For comparison, pixels on iPhone 5S's camera measure only 1.5um. Bigger pixels allow more light to be drawn in, resulting in better quality images with more natural colours and less noise. It's something that HTC is currently exploring with its HTC One range and their Ultrapixel cameras. Recently, Apple also poached Nokia camera specialist Ari Partinen. He'd spent seven years working across with the Finish company, including on its class-leading PureView smartphone photography tech. His expertise could yet lead to substantial advances in the quality of iPhone technology.
When Will the iPhone 6 Release and Go on Sale?
Shock horror, expect a Spring release for the iPhone 6 according to the latest rumours, either in late August or (more likely) early September. This is the traditional launch window for the phone line, giving Apple just enough time to work people up into a frenzy in time for the Christmas present buying rush. It's a few months away yet, but that hasn't stopped some idiots fans from already starting to queue up outside Apple stores.
How Much Will the iPhone 6 Cost?
Apple's iPhone pricing has stayed pretty consistent over the years, usually starting at around $860 for the 16GB iPhone 5S model and going all the way up to $1100 for the top-of-the-line 64GB option. The "budget" end of the market for Apple these days is covered by the $569 iPhone 5C and $350 iPhone 4S. Don't be surprised if the iPhone 4S gets discontinued this year, though.
However, it's been suggested that Apple will be asking retailers for an extra $100 / £60 per device when ordering stock. If this is true, it may not necessarily result in a price increase for consumers (networks have the means to absorb such rises through add-ons, accessories, data cost increases and ridiculous contract lengths), but it ay be worth putting aside a little more cash than usual for this year's iPhone.
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