iPhone 6 Release Date, Specs and Features: Apple Event Scheduled For September 9
An archive of what we've heard about Apple’s next-generation iPhone 6, including specs, release date rumours, and features
iPhone 6 Latest Release Date & Specs News
As we approach the Q3/Q4 launch of Apple’s next-generation iPhones, the rumour mill has kicked into overdrive. Below is a selection of this week’s hottest headlines. Enjoy!
- iPhone 6 Will Release September 9 - A report from Recode.net claims Apple has now scheduled a big media event for September 9, which many believe will see the launch of the iPhone 6.
- NFC Confirmed To Debut Inside iPhone 6? – Is this proof of the iPhone 6's latent NFC connectivity?
- Apple Puts In Orders For 80+ Million iPhone 6 Units – The iPhone 6 launch is going to be BIG. Foxconn says it can make up to 120 million iPhone 6 units for 2014 alone.
- iPhone 6 Release Date Pegged For Mid-September – Both iPhone 6 handsets will be in consumers' hands before the mid-way point of September
- iPhone 6 Price Might Be Lower Than iPhone 5s At Launch – Reports from China suggest Apple may retail its iPhone 6 at a lower price than last year’s iPhone 5s. In other news: snow forecast in Hell.
Fancy a more detailed breakdown of what the iPhone 6 is going to be like? Below is a synopsis of every bit of leaked information we’ve come across to date. It’s all broken down into sections and is designed to give you, dear reader, a fuller picture of what to expect once Tim Cook struts out on stage in a couple of months.
IPHONE 6 RELEASE DATE & PRICE
We're now seeing reports that the iPhone 6 will launch on September 9. Recode.net alleges that Apple has now scheduled a big media event for that date, and as Apple has previously launched iPhones during September it seems pretty likely one or more of its rumoured new models will show up, with the 4.7in iPhone 6 thought by many to be the forerunner. Whether the rumoured 5.5in iPhone "Air" might also be in attendence is open to interpretation.
IPHONE 6 DISPLAY
After a myriad of leaks we now know what we’re looking at come September: two iPhone handsets, one with a 4.7in display; the other a 5.5in setup. It is also looking likely Apple will name the latter handset the iPad Air, a move no doubt done to differentiate it from its smaller, more traditional iPhone stable mate.
Both versions are said to have displays constructed from Sapphire Glass, a new super-strong material currently being pioneered by Apple. At least... that was what everyone, for like the last three months, had thought. More recently, however, it’s looking increasingly likely that Apple may have to forgo its new, super-strong displays in favour of something more traditional, according a report over at The Telegraph.
Citing Trendforce’s LEDInside analysts, the report claims no Sapphire glass panels have been sent to Apple’s manufacturing partners in China, meaning one of two things: 1) Apple is secretly smuggling the magical displays over to China, under the radar of the all-seeing eye that is LEDInside, or 2) Apple’s sapphire glass plants in Arizona and Massachusetts are not yet firing on all cylinders.
“Disappointingly low yield rates of sapphire glass mean that while the material may be used for the display of later versions of the handset, the launch model will use another reinforced form of glass,” the report said.
IPHONE 6 & IPHONE AIR DESIGN
Another tantalizing question is how, beyond display size, Apple will differentiate the handsets?
Apple Insider published a report, citing Cowen & Co. analyst Timothy Arcuri, which outlines one major potential difference between the iPhone 6 and the iPhone Air.
Arcuri based his report on recent checks with Apple’s Asian suppliers.
“The 5.5-inch iPhone will feature a more powerful application processor than its smaller sibling,” said the report, “though no details were given as to the disparity. Apple has made similar moves in the past; the A7 processor in the iPad Air is clocked at 1.39 gigahertz, for instance, compared to 1.29 gigahertz for the otherwise-identical part in the iPad mini with Retina display.”
The larger could house a bigger GPU, implying Apple will target the iPhone Air at creative types that want to do more with their phones.
“Alternatively, it might suggest that Apple will make the two chips — believed to be the "A8" — in different fabrication plants using different processes,” the report added.
Last month a report from China, picked up by G For Games, claimed to shed some light on what we can expect from Apple’s next-generation A8 chipset. As expected, the silicon will be a 64-bit 20nm setup produced by TSMC. The BIG NEWS, however, was the SoC would boast core frequencies up to and – potentially beyond – 2GHz.
BEST IPHONE 6 LEAKS
This is apparently the FINAL version of Apple's iPhone 6, complete with the actual box it will ship in. “A source tells us that these photos were taken by an Apple beta tester, but declined to give more information,” reports Tech Radar – the source of the images.
“This is a new source for us, so we're not saying with 100% confidence that these photos are authentic. But after having checked EXIF data, photo manipulation and doing a little background check on our source, there's no reason for us to believe that these are fakes. Again, not 100% on that.”
IOS 8 – THE NEXT BIG THING
Now in its sixth beta, iOS 8 is the platform we were all hoping iOS 7 was going to be and from the looks of things, as noted in our iOS 8 Beta 5 Review, the finished article is going to be pretty spectacular. But unlike the five previous updates, iOS 8 beta 6 was not pushed out to developers. Nope. This one was done exclusively for networks (or, carriers, as they’re called in the US).
So what gives?
“This is something which historically hasn't happened until the Gold Master (considered ready-to-ship software) is released,” reports Developer Tech. “It is alleged beta 6 is "so close" to the final version that it was not needed to be shipped to developers in order to prepare their apps for the OS' release. Developers have been issued with five beta builds of iOS 8 thus far.”
New features like HomeKit, payments via TouchID and the iWatch-linking HealthKit add in a myriad of new capabilities. But perhaps the most compelling of all is HomeKit, which, as our piece iOS 8’s HomeKit Explained noted, aims to completely redefine how your interact with everyday objects inside your home.
The Internet Of Things is happening and Apple being Apple wants a large slice of the burgeoning IOT pie. With HomeKit inside iOS 8, you’ll be able to communicate with features in your home – bathroom lights, HDTVs and the central heating – through Siri; all you’ll have to do is issue a command and HomeKit will take care of everything else.
IPHONE 6 SPECS
A new leak from sources inside Apple's Asian supply network suggests that not only will the phone feature a larger battery cell but supports rumours of an all new handset design with a larger display panel.
The leaked info and images come via Chinese source MyDrivers.com, which reports the iPhone 6's battery will be rated between 1,700mAh and 2,000mAh, with the lower option being more likely. Certainly the 1,700mAh rating would be a logical step up from the previous iPhones as the iPhone 5S went up to 1,570mAh from the 1,440mAh of the iPhone 5.
Sung Chang Xu, an analyst for ESM-China, has spoken out about the battery on the 4.7in version of the handset. According to her supply-chain sources the next iPhone will likely sport a 2100mAh battery. Previous rumours have suggested it will have a 1810mAh unit inside whilst the iPhone 5s only has a 1560mAh battery inside.
Xu’s sources have suggested the previously leaked figure of 1810mAh is only on a production unit that is just being used for testing purposes.
This is only rumoured specs so far; we can’t confirm or deny anything just yet. Xu’s sources have previously suggested the iPhone 6 will come with a much larger range of sensors inside but it still remains to be seen if that's true.
There’s also no word just yet on how big the battery for the iPhone Air 5.5in edition will be. If the normal flagship device is getting a boost in battery it’s pretty safe to assume the new phablet will also come with a stronger battery.
Accoridng to G For Games, TSMC will now undertake production of Apple’s 20nm A8 chipset for the iPhone 6 – and that same chipset will presumably be used inside Apple’s next-generation iPads as well. Here’s a broader overview of what we can expect from the iPhone 6’s A8 chipset and what it'll mean for Apple's 2014 phones and tablets from AnandTech’s Anand Lai Shimpi:
“By now we know to expect an "A8" branded Apple SoC in the iPhone 6 and iPad Air successors later this year. There's little benefit in going substantially wider than Cyclone, but there's still a ton of room to improve performance. One obvious example would be through frequency scaling. Cyclone is clocked very conservatively (1.3GHz in the 5s/iPad mini with Retina Display and 1.4GHz in the iPad Air), assuming Apple moves to a 20nm process later this year it should be possible to get some performance by increasing clock speed scaling without a power penalty. I suspect Apple has more tricks up its sleeve than that however. Swift and Cyclone were two tocks in a row by Intel's definition, a third in 3 years would be unusual but not impossible (Intel sort of committed to doing the same with Saltwell/Silvermont/Airmont in 2012 - 2014).”
According to Morgan Stanley Apple will be adopting NFC with the help of NXP. The M7 motion-sensing chip within the Apple iPhone 5s was supplied by NXP so it’s likely the NFC wireless hardware will be supplied by the same company.
A Morgan Stanley analyst said “NXP is well positioned to participate in Apple’s mobile payments ecosystem. The company signed a licensing agreement with a customer in Q4’13, who we believe is Apple, related to its emerging ID business.
“A recent patent filing by Apple revealed potential use of NFC and secure element, which we think could be embedded. NXP has also accelerated R&D spend to support a new program related to the IP deal, with revenue expected in 2H, lining up well with the launch of iPhone 6. We see this potentially adding $250mn in sales and EPS of $0.25 in 2015.”
It’s not only Morgan Stanley though; various other analyst firms have been reporting the same kind of rumours.
IPHONE 6 CAMERA
Another source – this time Apple Insider – had this to say about the iPhone 6's imaging technology: "People familiar with the matter have told us Apple will likely forego a high-megapixel camera in its 2014 iPhone offerings, in favor of tweaking other image-enhancing components. In other words, megapixels are less of a priority for Apple than overall image quality."
Adding further legitimacy to the claims, the US Patent & Trademark Office has received a patent application from Apple for an OIS setup and improved autofocus technology. This will include "voice coil motor actuators" for allowing the lens to adjust with movement. The move is a believable one, as Apple has previously emphasised its reluctance to upscale the megapixel count, instead insisting it will concentrate on tweaking its existing hardware.
Apple's latest intriguing patent suggests it may be prepping Lytro-like capabilities for the iPhone 6's camera. Apple's patent details a "digital camera including refocusable imaging mode adaptor", according to AppleInsider. While no specific mention has been made of the iPhone 6, Apple will need to continue to enhance its camera technology in order to remain competetive.
Previously, Apple has outlined that it would rather tweak its 8-megapixel iSight hardware for better performance than simply up the megapixel count, and it's an approach which has been met with plenty of critical acclaim for the iPhone 5S's impressive imaging capabilities.
According to Techradar, the patent "even makes reference to the Lytro camera as prior art but adds that certain adjustments can be made in the quality of picture."
It's known that before Steve Jobs died he met with Lytro's founder to discuss a partnetship and this patent was filed in September 2011, just before Jobs' death. Numerous reports indicate many of Apple's products released since Jobs passed away have been developed in accordance to roadmaps he already laid out and it's feasible the iPhone 6, complete with a Lytro-like camera, could be part of his posthumous plan.