iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus Out NOW In The UK!: Everything You Need To Know

News Richard Goodwin 12:49, 19 Sep 2014

IPHONE 6 RELEASE DATE & PRICE

Apple will announce its new iPhones on Sept. 9 at an event in California. As per previous rumours, there will be two handsets (one with a 4.7in display, the other with a phablet-sized 5.5in panel) and potentially the confirmation of Apple's long-rumoured iWatch, as well as new iPad. 

With respect to a release date, all roads (and history) point to a global release for the iPhone 6 on September 19. Previously, Apple has announced a new iPhone and then began selling it a week later. In between these dates the company usually issues the latest iOS update (in this case iOS 8) on the Wednesday following the iPhone announcement. 

IPHONE 6 PRICE

Spain’s Telefonica is reportedly being offered the new handset for an RRP of €750 (£595). The iPhone 5s cost between €650 to €700 without subsidies included when it was first released. The sources at Telefonica also suggested Apple wants them to charge €950 for the 5.5in iPhone phablet. A straight up conversion means the iPhone 6 phablet would cost £755 in the UK. Would you pay that for a larger iPhone phablet? We're guessing a lot of people won't.

Of course when you’re talking phone contracts and upgrades it’s not like parting with that much money on the day, though you often end up paying even more in the long run. We recently heard that the iPhone 6 will launch with the same colour options as the iPhone 5s. Now all that remains is to wait until September 9 when the company will reveal the handsets to the world.

IPHONE 6 DISPLAY

Another tantalizing question is how, beyond display size, Apple will differentiate the handsets? 

Word on iPhone 6's displays comes via one of the internet’s most reliable Apple sages, Mark Gurnam over at 9to5Mac. “Instead of retaining the current resolution,” writes Gurnam, “sources familiar with the testing of at least one next-generation iPhone model say that Apple plans to scale the next iPhone display with a pixel-tripling (3X) mode. 

This means that Apple will likely be tripling the aforementioned “base resolution” (568 x 320) of the iPhone screen in both directions, and that the iPhone screen resolution will be scaled with an increase of 150% from the current 2X resolution of 1136 x 640.”  However, Gurnam does point out that Apple tests multiple screen configurations at any one time, so this setup could be just one of those currently in testing ahead of the handset’s full scale launch in September.

On the issue of whether or not the iPhone 6 will a Sapphire Display, Apple-HDTV-Enthusiast-Analyst, Gene Munster, posited the following theory earlier this week, as reported by CNET: “We believe that Apple may upgrade the screen of the 64GB versions of the iPhone 6 to sapphire as an early market test to see consumer feedback for sapphire screen phones with the eventual intention of moving the whole product line to sapphire within 2 years (i.e., iPhone 7).”

He added: “We believe that the 64GB device could make up 30% of units if sapphire were an additional feature based on our prior survey work from the iPhone 5S launch, which suggests that 25% of buyers opt for the 64GB capacity.”

iPhone Air vs. iPhone 6

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.

“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.

Another area where Apple is said to be introducing key changes between the two handsets is to do with battery power, with the latest leaks surrounding the larger iPhone claiming it will have an absolutely gigantic battery cell inside it. 

The larger iPhone 6 will apparently feature a new display mode designed to take advantage of its extra larger display. There will even be a selection of specially designed applications made available by Apple for use in this mode. Conversely, the 4.7in iPhone 6 will retain its portrait-only setup, as Phone Arena notes below:

“The option will allegedly only be present on the larger 5.5” iPhone, but not on the 4.7-inch model. It will allow users to get more usage out of that big screen, and will feature specially optimized apps (in a way similar to how the iPad has tailor-made applications) with a two-panel view. This would allow fitting more functionality and information on the display”.

IPHONE 6 SPECS

China Mobile Leaks iPhone 6 Specs Ahead of Launch

China Mobile is the biggest mobile network in China, as well as being the biggest mobile network in the world,and now the company has apparently published a set of iPhone 6 specs hours before the handset officially launches.

The spec sheet (in Chinese) includes Apple's rumoured A8 processor, but contrary to earlier rumours it's alleged to be a quad-core CPU. The display is a 4.7in setup but while Sapphire Glass appears to be confirmed the resolution is lower than expected at 1134 x 750 pixels. Both 8MP and 2.1MP cameras are mentioned, along with options for 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB of onboard storage. Dimensions are quoted at 138mm x 67mm x 7mm and it's thought to have water and dust resistance.

Frankly, we don't know what to make of this. On the one hand it seems unlikely China Mobile would publish incorrect specs, but then we wouldn't expect it to publish iPhone 6 specs early in the first place.

Battery 

Multiple reports –– MacRumors, Nowhereelse, Business Insider –– claim the larger iPhone will feature a 2915mAh battery. The current iPhone 5s (lest we forget) uses a 1560mAh battery and isn’t exactly a solid performer in this regard and is likely why most current iPhone users view “improved battery life” as the most high priority upgrade for Apple’s next iPhone.

The LG G3 and Galaxy Note 4 both use very large battery cells, with both claiming talk-time of around 19 hours. Comparatively, the iPhone 5s is now way behind the curve with just 10 hours. But it’s not just the larger iPhone that’ll see improvements in this regard, either. Keen to give its customers what they want (better battery life), Apple is said to be outfitting the 4.7in iPhone 6 with a 2100mAh battery, quite a bump up from last year’s iPhone 5s.  

A8 Chipset

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).”

128GB Storage Model 

G For Games got the initial scoop (see image below) ––

–– and reported the following: “in a nutshell, the guys over at GeekBar (a phone repair company) reportedly unearthed a new schematic for the iPhone 6, which suggests that the upcoming flagship phone will sport 128 GB of storage. Oddly enough though, the 32 GB model seems to be missing in action”.

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 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.

"Lytro" Camera

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. 

BEST IPHONE 6 LEAKS 

Spigen has done it again. The high-end phone case manufacturer has, in 2013 and 2014, consistently revealed its new cases for pretty much all the major flagship launches within a day or two of their official unveiling, and now, just over a day before the iPhone 6 allegedly lands, we get a glimpse of its iPhone 6 cases, complete with an iPhone 6 enclosed within and peeking out of its portholes.

Why are we placing such stock in this? Well it’s simple really, the case maker does the same thing every time, and every time it does this the phone comes out and it’s identical to the one illustrated in its pre-launch images. More than that, they fit perfectly and remain on the market – they don’t get pulled for being enthusiastic, assumption-based mistakes. Spigen is clearly a manufacturer which gets official early access to a phone maker’s devices so it can make cases in advance. It’s quite strange actually that even though it breaks cover early every launch it would appear no phone maker has got pissy with it yet.

Anyway, these iPhone 6 cases have appared for both the 4.7in and 5.5in iPhone 6 models and there are a number of styles and finishes in a wide range of colours. The range includes new iterations of Spigen’s familiar “Slim Armor”, “Tough Armor”, “Neo Hybrid”, “Ultra Hybrid”, and “Aluminium Fit” designs.

Then there's these ones, courtesy of China Telecom, which “accidentally” posted some upcoming iPhone 6 marketing materials onto China’s version of Twitter, Weibo. Check them out below via UberGizmo

The iPhone 6 will be available in a trio of colours – black, silver and champagne – and have slightly more rounded edges. The power/unlock button has also been repositioned and is now located on the side of the handset’s chassis. It will ship with Apple’s brand new A8 chipset and potentially 2GB of RAM. There is also talk of a 128GB model, although some reports believe this version will be reserved solely for the iPhone 6’s larger launch partner, an iPhone-phablet device codenamed the iPhone N56. 

There’s also this video from Russia that claims to show off both new iPhone handsets. It’s unclear whether these are actual iPhone 6 units, however, as they could just as easily be dummy units similar to the myriad we’ve already seen. The video is also in Russian, so we have no idea what the guy is saying. 

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