iPhone 6 Release Date, Specs and Features: Multiple Display Sizes, A8 Chipset AND 128GB Storage

News Richard Goodwin 12:48, 22 Jul 2014

An archive of what we've heard about Apple’s next-generation iPhone 6, including specs, release date rumours, and features

iPhone 6 Latest 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!

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

Apple is gearing up for the biggest iPhone launch, well, EVER. According to reports, Foxconn – Apple’s manufacturer – is tipped to be landing a contract to build some 90 million iPhone 6 units. And that’s just for 2014. And in order to build these 90 million units, Apple supplier Foxconn is apparently taking on an additional 100,000 workers, according to Taiwan’s Economic Daily News. Similarly, Pengatron – another key Apple supplier – is also thought to be bulking up workers in order to meet iPhone 6 demands which are predicted to suppass levels seen in 2013 for the company's iPhone 5s. 

A launch is expected on September 12. Here we’ll see the handsets for the first time, learn about Apple’s plans for the future and get official confirmation about the iPhone 6’s pricing, specs and features. This event is also likely to be the launch pad for the commercial release of iOS 8.

“Mass shipments of the iPhone 6 from China to the United States are expected to occur during the last two weeks of August and it is likely that Apple will announce the iPhone 6 during the first or second weeks of September.” according to the always-reliable Mac Rumors.

Flyer Leaks iPhone 6 Release Date

New details of the iPhone 6 release date and pricing have leaked from a promotional flyer in China. The image below was posted to the Chinese social networking site Weibo that alleges this is an official flyer advertising the iPhone 6.

There’s no confirmation but it looks quite legitimate and gives us some interesting details. First off, two different versions of the phone are pictured, which correlates with other sources claiming there will be both 4.7in and 5.5in versions of the phone.

It also unveils a launch date of September 19. It makes sense as the iPhone 5s was launched on September 20 and the iPhone 5 was on September 21. GSMInsider also shows reports claiming Apple has begun to send the iPhone 6 round to carriers such as China Mobile and China Unicorn for testing out 4G LTE connectivity. It’d make sense if the networks were also producing marketing material at the same time.

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 will have displays constructed from Sapphire Glass, a new super-strong material currently being pioneered by Apple. Ahead of the iPhone 6’s release one YouTube vlogger has put an iPhone 6 panel to the test. You can check out the rather impressive results below:

9to5Mac suggests the iPhone 6 will have three times the resolution (1704x960) of the iPhone 3G – and the reason behind this is to do with iOS and developers. Time also chimed in on the discussion with yet more solid points on why such a resolution makes sense: “App developers will ultimately have to tweak their code to make things look great on the larger screen, but until that happens, it behooves Apple (and users) for these apps not to look horrible. An increase in resolution at the same aspect ratio would leave apps looking decent enough until developers got around to optimizing their apps. Unlike with the transition from the iPhone 4S to the iPhone 5, you wouldn’t have to deal with any black bars surrounding the screen.” 

The iPhone 6 might also feature a curved display, a feature not yet seen on any of the dummy units currently doing the rounds online. According to well-known-launch-ruiner, Sonny Dickson, the iPhone 6 will apparently use a “curved display" and, before you start calling shenanigans, check out the evidence below: 

IPHONE 6 DESIGN 

Sonny Dickson has managed to snap the new dummy next to all the previous flagship devices. It’s good to see how the iPhone has developed since its inception in 2007 and what it will probably look like at the end of 2014. The photos coming up really show off how the design has changed throughout the years, which is your favourite so far?

There are a load more photos over at Sonny Dickson’s website if you want an even more comprehensive comparison. And if that wasn't enough to get you excited, here's a bunch more comparison shots via Nowhereelse.fr

Crazy Photorealistic Render Shows Off What Finished iPhone 6 Will Look Like

We've seen a lot of iPhone 6 mockups doing the rounds in recent weeks, but none of them have been the finished article. Prominent 3D artist Martin Hajek has clearly been keeping an eye on the iPhone 6 leaks and has put together an incredibly realistic iPhone 6 render showing a fully assembled iPhone 6.

He's also placed it alongside his idea of what the next iPad Mini will look like, based on the iPhone 6's design. Having said that, industry analysts believe it's unlikely we'll see a rebooted iPad Mini this year.

"Based on rumours and images of the purported iPhone 6 all over the internet I decided to do a concept study of what an iPad mini would look like with this new, soft and round iPhone 6 design ‘language’ slapped all over it," said Hajek, in a blog post.

IPHONE 6 SPECS

Battery 

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. 

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).”

Storage

With regards to storage on Apple’s next-generation iPhones, there appears to be several schools of thought. One report has recently claimed the company would dropped its 16GB version in favour of a 32GB/64GB-only range. What’s more interesting, however, are the persistent claims the larger, iPhone 6 phablet will feature 128GB of storage.

“Feng,” reports NDTV, “a Chinese blog, cites sources familiar with Apple's supply chain and claims that the company's alleged 5.5-inch iPhone 6 variant will feature a 128GB storage variant. The report further claims that the 128GB storage variant will be limited to the bigger variant of the rumoured iPhone 6, and the alleged 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will offer the conventional 64GB as its maximum storage variant.”

NFC

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. So prepare to be able to use NFC technology on your iOS handset in the near future.

Connectivity

According to Timothy Arcuri, an analyst from US firm Cowen and Compan,y the iPhone 6 will feature improved Wi-Fi 802.11ac.

Arcuri also commented on Apple’s broader feature set, saying that updates to iOS (iOS 8) are likely to focus on things like iBeacon, Touch ID, and Passbook. Arcuri added that 2013’s iPhone 5S was just the start – or, put another way: the jumping board for this year’s products. In 2014/15 the company will focus more and more on mobile payments, leveraging services like TouchID, iBeacons and the currently (pretty useless) Passbook application.

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.

Autofocus Improvements

Apple has filed for a patent with the US Patents office which details a new camera stabilization mechanism which is likely to make its way into the iPhone 6. The “VCM OIS actuator module” will act to reduce image blurriness and will help improve the autofocus speed on the iPhone’s camera.

Some are arguing the iPhone is falling behind other competitor’s flagship devices in terms of image quality as the cameras are 8MP compared to 20MP cameras on the Sony Xperia Z1 and Nokia Lumia 1520. Maybe so. But as the iPhone 5s proved with its exceptionally good imaging capabilities: megapixels aren't everything.

After testing the iPhone 5s' camera out and seeing what it was capable of, we're dying to see how the setup will be improved aboard the iPhone 6. Could we also see full HD slow-motion video added? You bet your ass we could.

"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. 

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