9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman got the biggest scoop of the year yet on the next iPhone this week when he published images which he believes are the actual metal housing of the next iPhone, to be unveiled this September.
While that may excite iPhone fans, what that metal housing reveals is that it is almost certain that this autumn’s iPhone will not be a radically redesigned “iPhone 7”–instead it will indeed be the “iPhone 6s”. When you think about it, this should come as little surprise considering that Apple has generally used the same design and form factor for iPhones on a two year cycle, starting with a “prime” iPhone (iPhone 4, iPhone 5, iPhone 6) and then only iterating internally on the prime model for the next cycle (iPhone 4s, iPhone 5s).
So, what do Gurman’s images reveal? Well, the iPhone 6s will look largely the same externally as the iPhone 6 does today. Gurman writes: “Our images show no noticeable external changes coming from the iPhone 6 — even the Space Gray color has remained light, contrasting with the darker Space Gray Apple Watch — but it is possible that Apple’s final hardware could include additional tweaks.”
He goes on to note that “Our source says that any potential difference in thickness or width on the 4.7-inch iPhone 6-sized device is too minimal to notice, but this does not (yet) rule out rumored changes to the larger, 5.5-inch iPhone 6S Plus body.”
With just over a month to go until the iPhone 6s launches, the iPhone 6s leaks are coming in thick and fast. And today we have yet another shot of the front portion of the iPhone 6s’ chassis. Again, these pictures don’t show off much about the handset, but they do confirm a couple of things about the handset: 1) it looks just like the iPhone 6, 2) it will feature a home button, and 3) production is now very much underway.
“Apple’s suppliers are ramping up production of the Force Touch displays that will go inside the next batch of iPhones,” reports Tech Radar. “Considering the pressure-sensitive technology has already appeared in the Apple Watch and the new MacBook, it would be a surprise if Apple didn’t add it to the iPhone – if you get Force Touch in the iPhone 2015 features office sweepstake we reckon you could be quids in.”
Still, the iPhone 6s will boast noticeable improvements in other important areas, as noted by CNET. “The handset, which is rumoured to be called the iPhone 6S, will launch with a Qualcomm-developed chip known as the MDM9635M. The chip, which was introduced by Qualcomm in 2013 but didn’t go into production until last year, is capable of accommodating theoretical download speeds of 300Mbps on carrier long-term evolution (LTE) networks — double the 150Mbps speeds available to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.”
In addition to this, many believe the inclusion of Qualcomm’s chip inside the next iPhone would have a very positive affect on battery life, as it is significantly more power efficient. Just how much additional battery life it will create, however, is unknown. Nevertheless, Apple is very good at doing A LOT with a little, so this year’s iPhones could see yet another 15-20% battery performance added. And judging by how good the iPhone 6 Plus currently is, well, that’d be just spectacular.
“Along with a slight shrinkage in size of the iPhone 6S’s logic board, Apple also appears to be aggressively reducing the number of chips it’s using. One section of the board that previously had in excess of 10 components has been pared down to 3 main chips, simultaneously cutting the number of parts and increasing the power efficiency of the ones that remain. Other necessary and remaining chips, such as the flash memory and CPU, notably benefit from smaller manufacturing processes that enable the iPhone 6S to offer the same or faster functionality with smaller, less power-hungry parts,” reports Apple Insider.
What that means is that it’s still possible that iPhone 6s Plus could look different than the current iPhone 6 Plus (but we’re not betting on that).
Perhaps the biggest blow from this leaked shell is that it reveals the semi-loathed iPhone 6 antenna lines are here to stay in the next version–as they are clearly visible on the leaked casing. “Apple recently applied for a patent on a technique to hide the antenna lines on the back of an iPhone with an ‘anodized metal appearance.’ Unless something changes from the casing here, those lines will persist through the iPhone 6S lineup,” Gurman says.
Another disappointment for those hoping for a radically redesigned iPhone this fall comes in the camera department. It had been rumored that the next iPhone would feature a dual-lens camera system for improved shots, but as the casing shows, there’s no additional room for a second lens.
But while the outside of the next iPhone looks largely the same, this casing leak does show internal changes, notably new mounting structures for new logic boards and components.
It is entirely possible this casing isn’t the final one, but as the next iPhone is already rumored to be in production and Gurman has a strong track record with Apple leaks, it’s best not to get your hopes up for a radically redesigned iPhone 7 this autumn.