Our iPhone 6 release date, features and price rumours article will grow to accommodate even more speculation as the months roll on. So save this page and keep checking back for regular updates
If there's one thing that everyone seems to be certain on, it's that Apple plans to release its next smartphone in spring 2013. However, there's some confusion over whether the new phone will be the iPhone 6 or the iPhone 5S. This article deals with the iPhone 6, although there's naturally some crossover with our iPhone 5S rumours article.iPHONE 6 NAME
There's a lot of debate over what the new iPhone will be called. If you follow Apple's naming strategy, then the iPhone 5S would be the most likely choice. Typically Apple keeps the same case (or very similar) for two generations, improving the internal specification. So the iPhone 3G was followed by the iPhone 3GS. It was the iPhone 4 that introduced a new design, followed by the improved iPhone 4S. By that regard, the iPhone 5, which introduced the widescreen display, should be followed by a spec upgrade in the iPhone 5S.
However, things aren't quite as clear cut anymore. While Apple used to do yearly (or there about) updates, the iPad 4 was something of a surprise release, coming just six months after the iPad 3. If that's a sign that Apple's moving to a six-monthly release schedule, then it could be that the iPhone 5S gets released as a more budget model, while the iPhone 6 is released as a brand-new phone.
There's plenty to suggest that Apple needs something new, as the iPhone 5 wasn't met with the same rapturous applause of the previous releases, both because of the hardware and the problems with Apple Maps. With the competition getting a lot tougher, such as with the excellent Samsung Galaxy S3 and the soon-to-be-released Samsung Galaxy S4, it could mean that Apple needs to up its game with a brand new phone.
iPHONE 6 FEATURES
With its Retina display, Apple says that you can't see individual pixels on the iPhone's screen when used at a normal distance. That effectively means that upping the resolution on the same size screen makes no sense. The only way to add more pixels, then, is to produce a slightly bigger phone with a bigger screen.
It's now thought that the iPhone 6 will have a Sharp IGZO (Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide) screen. This new technology allows for screens that use less power and are considerably thinner. Rumours certainly picked up when the Sharp IGZO technology was demonstrated at CES 2013.
Reports have appeared that the iPhone 6 will has a Super HD screen, but no details of screen resolution or size have appeared. We'd assume that the Apple will stick with the new widescreen format it introduced with the iPhone 5, though.
In terms of storage, 64GB has been the top model for a couple of years, so we'd expect the top model to now be 128GB. This has been predicted by Misek, who believes that the iPhone will offer more storage than before. Whether or not this means a new top-end model or whether the entry-level 16GB model hasn't been confirmed, but we'd expect Apple to ditch the low-end and stick with its current pricing.
One of the omissions from the iPhone 5 was NFC, but with the technology starting to appear in most new Android phones, we'd expect this in the in iPhone 6. With Apple pushing its Passbook App, for storing store cards, tickets and coupons, integrating this with NFC would make a lot of sense. An Apple phone with NFC would also help push the technology, as retailers are more likely to take it seriously with this handset on board.
iPHONE 6 SMART BEZEL
One of the things that attracts people to the iPhone is its ease of use and simplicity. However, iOS has barely changed since launch, so Apple could well introduce new ways to interact with its phones in order to stay ahead of the competition.
Patently Apple managed to dig up information on a new patent for a smart bezel. This will use a secondary display system, which could be embedded around the primary screen or even on the back of a device to provide new controls that light up when needed.
According to Patently Apple, "Apple intends to use the secondary display to introduce a new set of illuminated indicators that would be able to morph into various controls for work and play. Illuminated gaming and productivity controls could be built into the face-side of the bezel and/or selected back-side areas of iOS devices like the iPad."
Smart bezel will use a secondary display system that illuminates controls when they're needed
That sounds pretty cool to us and could negate some of the negative point of iOS, such as having to scroll all the way to the top of an SMS thread to call the contact.PHONE 6 PROCESSOR
Judging what Apple will do with the processor is harder, but we'd expect an updated model in the iPhone 6. Currently the iPhone 5 has a dual-core Apple A6 processor, but a quad-core Apple A7, using ARM Cortex A15-based cores, sounds plausible to us.
There are already quad-core phones from Apple's competitors and there's now the Samsung octa-core Exynos 5 chip. However, it's important to note that more cores doesn't been better performance and the iPhone 5 is still the smoothest and fastest smartphone that we've used, despite having 'only' two cores.
With that in mind, Apple will only use the hardware that its phone requires, rather than going all-out to get the most number of cores into a phone.
One of the constants of the iPhone has been iOS 6, which as barely changed. In fact, with iOS 5, which was introduced with the iPhone 5, the OS barely changed, bar the introduction of the disastrous Apple Maps app.
With Android offering Widgets and Windows Mobile 8 a cleaner interface, it's fair to say that iOS is starting to look a bit dated. We'd bet money on Apple working on a successor with a different interface, but whether or not this is iOS 7 and whether or not it will be released with the iPhone 6 is yet to be seen.
iPHONE 6 CONCEPTS
Working off the discovered patents and leaked information, a lot of iPhone 6 concepts have been released. At the moment, the most interesting one is from InventHelp's Nickolay Lamm.
"I feel that the sales success of the iPhone 5 overlooks the fact that it was a pretty boring phone," Lamm said. "I looked at all of Apple’s recent patents and chose four which Apple may include in the iPhone 6 or later version. I then hired a 3D graphic designer to illustrate each of these patents so that the illustrations were as realistic as possible. I gave him very specific guidelines to follow."
The shot below shows a possible version of the phone, along with the Smart Bezel highlighting controls on the screen. The finished iPhone 6 will most likely look different, but it's interesting to see how Smart Bezel could work.
This iPhone 6 concept shows how the new phone could look, complete with its smart bezel
iPHONE 6 RELEASE DATE
The next iPhone, whatever its name, is most likely to come out in Spring 2013. According to Topeka Capital analyst Brian White, reported on Business Insider the next iPhone is going to come out in May or June. This fits with all the other reports that we've read.
Mac Rumours has a similar report, with Peter Misek, analyst at investment firm Jeffries & Co, reporting, "Our checks indicate that preliminary builds for the iPhone 5S will start in March for a launch in June/July."
iPHONE 6 PRICE
Apple typically releases its new models at the same price as the old ones, and we can't see it introducing a more expensive phone into this tough market. If that holds out, then, and assuming that the 16GB model is dropped, we'd expect the 32GB model to cost £529, the 64GB model £599 and the 128GB model £699.