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Thursday, June 19, 2014

iPhone 6 rumor round-up: design, specs, price, and release date

iPhone 6 rumor round-up: design, specs, price, and release date
needn't consider yourself an iFan to be wholly intrigued by what Apple
has in store for consumers around the globe year after year, especially
if you're eyeing the flagship smartphone tier. The Cupertino-based
company has been churning out iPhones like nobody's business, and
there's no reason to believe that the upcoming iPhone refresh will be
any less of a success. That, not at all coincidentally, is why we set
out to curate and summarize the vast troves of intel we've obtained up
to this point.
So do we have enough to label this library of
leaks substantial? Sure, but there are obviously no guarantees until we
see the actual iPhone come September.. That said, it would appear that
we have one major part of the puzzle figured out, and that's where we'll

Renders based on supposed iPhone 6 dummies by Martin Hajek
Renders based on supposed iPhone 6 dummies by Martin Hajek
Renders based on supposed iPhone 6 dummies by Martin Hajek

became obvious with the iPhone 5c, you can trust that somebody,
somewhere in Apple's supply chain, will take it upon himself to provide
an early glimpse into the new iPhone. That certainly is the case with
the upcoming iPhone 6, a device that has been suggested (to put it
mildly) to come sporting a much larger, 4.7-inch screen. What's more,
we've had quite a few leaks that seem to do dovetail on one particular
aspect of the iPhone 6: design. 
At this point in time, it
appears that different splinters of information agree on the exterior of
the iPhone 6, which reminds a whole lot of the iPod Touch, the iPhone
5c, and even the new design language of the iPad Air and new iPad mini.
In other words, the many dummies and schematics we've seen pop online so
far, paint a more rounded design, and a noticeably slimmer body, which
is rumored to measure in at anything from 5.58mm (0.22'') up to 6.1mm
(0.24''). Regardless of which of these two extremes we take for granted,
we're still talking about a significant slimming down when compared
with the iPhone 5s (7.6mm, or 0.3''). As for the overall dimensions, one
of several schematics that have been leaked suggests a 138 x 67 mm (5.4
x 2.6 in) config, and the rest don't really deviate significantly from
those numbers. That's quite the (expected) growth compared with the
iPhone 5s' dimensions of 123.8 x 58.6 (4.87 x 2.31 in).
yet, despite these changes, what we've seen of the supposed iPhone 6
still is an iPhone at heart, and it actually completes Apple's design
circle across all its iDevices. We still have the two distinct
horizontal lines at the top and bottom when looking at the rear. and up
front -- we've seen no significant changes. The latest leaks suggest
that the Touch ID fingerprint scanner will go through a small design
upgrade, and come with a more pronounced chrome encasing this time
around. In fact, one particular dummy that came to our attention had a
surprisingly well-matching yellow edge surrounding the sensor. Another
rather major difference is the new placement of the power button, which
seems to have found itself a new home at the right side of the iPhone 6
-- a change that makes a whole lot of sense, seeing as reaching for the
top of a larger device can be quite the nuisance. Lastly, and this is
one of the least-likely rumors we've come across so far, it has been suggested
that the new iPhone could be water-resistant. That would be quite a big
deal for a number of people, especially now that resistance to the
elements has seemingly become such a strong selling point.

A collection of dummy iPhone 6 images Fullscreen

1. Taiwanese star Jimmy Lin with alleged iPhone 6 dummy

Rumored specs

design out of the way, you'll be looking for some juicy details as
pertain to the hardware specs of the iPhone 6. Unfortunately, we don't
have as much in this particular area. Apart from rumors and some good
use of common sense, that is. 


iPhone 6 rumor round-up: design, specs, price, and release date
start with the display. Taking a larger, 4.7-inch display for granted,
there's still the question of just how crisp that one that will be. As
you probably know, Apple never was big on cramming as many pixels as
possible in their iPhones, and has instead stuck with its so called
'Retina' approach. This has resulted in displays that work out to a
smaller pixel density than competing flagships from Android land, but
still high enough for the human eye, at least in Apple's opinion. In any
case, one guess so far is the somewhat odd 966 x 1600 pixel resolution
(16:10, 398 ppi) -- the exact resolution of a purported iOS 8 screenshot
taken on the iPhone 6. On the other hand, Apple insider Sonny Dickson,
who had a great run with iPhone 5s/5c leaks, disagrees with that number,
and instead suggests a pixel density 389 ppi. Close enough. 
still, according to 9to5Mac, the new resolution could very well read
1704 x 960, or 416 ppi. There only ground for this assumption is Apple's
rather pragmatic (and thus, predictable) approach to resolution bumping
in the past, where it has always kept these upgrades simple enough for
developers to be able to easily scale and migrate existing visual assets
to the next level. In that sense, a bump to 1704 x 960 would entail a
3x bump of the base 16:9 resolution of 568 x 320 (which is half the
current resolution of iPhone 5/5s).
Lastly, it's worth
pointing out that Apple has been investing heavily into the development
of sapphire glass for use in smartphones, and at this point it appears
very likely that we'll see the company adopt the extremely tough
material for use with its displays. Sapphire glass is already used to
protect the iPhone 5s' camera and Touch ID sensor, as its harder to
scratch than Gorilla Glasss (though more brittle). In fact, Apple
actually patented a method of fusing a sapphire laminate layer with a
device's screen, further corroborating the notion of a break-up with

Camera and Processor

iPhone 6 rumor round-up: design, specs, price, and release date
legendary secrecy has so far helped with keeping camera samples off the
internet, so it's a stretch to claim that we have the facts about the
next iSnapper, even though we've had some rumors floating around, many
of which tie in nicely with what we already know about the iPhone 6 and
Apple in general.
For one, and as expected, Apple is again
going to sit out on the megapixel arms race, and likely stick to an 8MP
snapper, though a 10MP unit has also been suggested.
Instead of pursuing pixel count, the iPhone 6 is instead said to
improve on its photographic capabilities by offering a larger, 1/2.6''
sensor (vs. a 1/3'' one in the iPhone 5s), with larger, 1.75μm pixels,
and wider, f/2.0 aperture. Lastly, we're told that despite initial
rumors, the iPhone 6 will pass on Optical Image Stabilization, likely to
avoid extra production costs and in order to keep thickness in check.
Instead, the analyst-in-chief at ESM-China, Sun Chang Xu, claims that
Apple will opt for Electronic Image Stabilization.
As far as
the system chip that will power the iPhone 6 is concerned, we obviously
still don't have anything that is confirmed. That said, the aforementioned Sonny Dickson has suggested that a 2.6GHz A8 chip could be what we'll find inside the iPhone 6.
However, considering Apple's current track record, and especially its
latest 1.3GHz, 64-bit A7 chip found in the iPhone 5s, we find it hard to
believe that Apple will distance itself from its approach in such a
drastic way. According to the folks behind 9to5Mac, the new silicon will
introduce a relatively smaller performance boost, and will instead
focus on bettering efficiency. Makes sense -- the current crop of
iPhones sure isn't known for its longevity.

NFC and wireless charging, Category 6 LTE

According to an Apple insider
with knowledge of the iPhone 6, the new device may finally make the
jump to NFC and wireless charging. Apparently, if an NFC chip indeed
makes it into the iPhone 6, it'll be mainly used to facilitate wireless
payments. As for wireless charging, there's been no mention of the
particular standard Apple might use.
On another note, the very
same alleged insider claims that the iPhone 6 will feature an even more
potent LTE radio which should allow for (theoretical) Category 6
download speeds of up to 300 Mbps. Not too bad, though it's unlikely
you'll see any practical difference -- the 150 Mbps speeds provided by
the current iPhone 5s are already beyond what your carrier provides.

New HD audio earphones?

Apple's official, acquisition of super-popular headphone maker Beats
Audio, it's only natural that we'd start asking questions. So, for
example, we're quite curious of Apple's plans for the company,
especially as pertains to its mobile products. In the past, we've seen
HTC make good use of the popular brand, so it's obviously possible that
Apple will be pushing the envelope in the HD audio department, if only
on the software side. That said, there are already rumors that Cupertino
is prepping a new model of earphones for its new iPhone, though it
remains to be seen if it can assimilate Beats Audio's proprietary tech
in time for the iPhone 6's release. 
There has also been
speculation that Apple just might forgo the use of a 3.5 mm audio jack
altogether in favor of using its proprietary Lightning port connector.
The idea behind this is obviously to provide higher quality audio,
though we sure hope that a pair of Beats Audio earphones will be a part
of this move, as the number of compatible earphones on the market in the
beginning will likely be critically low.
On another, but very
similar note, it has been suggested that Apple will be upgrading its
iTunes store to allow for HD audio streaming, and that would also entail
changes inside iOS 8 as well. That makes sense, seeing as the stock iOS
7 music player is limited in its capabilities -- for example, 24-bit
tracks with sample rate beyond 48MHz cannot be played, and even
third-party solutions have a limitation on what they can do. It is
rumored that iOS 8 will change that, and that's not all.
iPhone 6 rumor round-up: design, specs, price, and release date
has become customary, it's a sure bet to expect a new, major iOS update
to make its debut with the new iPhone, and that's exactly where things
are headed. Dubbed iOS 8, the new update was made official at the
beginning of June, at Apple's annual WWDC developer conference, and the
iPhone 6 is scheduled to be the first device to pack the updated
software out-of-the-box.
iPhone 6 rumor round-up: design, specs, price, and release date
all standards, iOS 8 is a pretty big step forward, and opens a new page
in Apple's book on how it approaches software. More specifically,
beyond the many additions to functionality and productivity, a recurring
theme is hard to miss: Apple seems to be finally opening up, if only a
little bit for now, by allowing third-party developers and their
products access beyond their typical, sandboxed apps.

Multitasking improvements

way in which multitasking has been improved on iOS 8 is the addition of
a row of favorite/recent contacts to the multitask menu (double-click
the home button). These are actionable, which means that you can place a
quick call or send a text message, or even initiate a FaceTime talk
right on the spot.
The built-in E-mail client has also seen a
notable improvement -- you can now swipe down a message you're already
composing and access content that is already in your mailbox, and even
add assets such as attachments, from another message. Also handy is a
feature that is not yet part of iOS 8, but is expected to become a part
of the iPad, at least at some point: split screen. Right now, we're
unaware of whether this feature will make an appearance with the iPhone
6, but if the screen really proves to stand at 4.7-inches, Apple might
decide it's a good enough fit.
Lastly, Apple talked at length
about its 'continuity' philosophy during the event, which will be quite a
relevant addition to the multitasking capabilities of the iPhone 6. Put
in simpler words, this new approach means that you'll be able to
seamlessly transfer essential functionality across your iDevices. For
example, a call that you receive on the iPhone can be patched through to
your iPad effortlessly, and this will also work for text messages and
emails. Good stuff!

Actionable notifications and widgets

iPhone 6 rumor round-up: design, specs, price, and release date
you read that right. Apple has finally decided that incoming
notifications should be actionable, meaning that you can, for example,
reply to an e-mail right from your notification bar. You can also
archive it or delete it, and the suite of functions available varies
depending on the app. Best of all, this functionality will be available
for third-party developers to fiddle with.
On an
equally-exciting note, Apple is finally adding widgets to iOS 8, but
these will only be viewable in the Today tab of the notifciation bar.
Some examples of what you'll be to do include live feed of sports games,
and the ability to bid on eBay items in real time.

Closed garden no more?

already pointed out, iOS 8 introduces a few changes that seem to
indicate that Apple has had a change of heart in terms of how it does
things, software wise. In other words, the closed garden that iOS has
been so far will finally open up a little bit.
One example of
this is a certain type of functionality that we've come to love and
reference with Android -- sharing across your entire app arsenal. A
simple example: you will now be able to juggle content from different
apps quicker and more efficiently, as those will now have a channel of
communication with each other, narrow as it may be.
Apple is
also finally giving third-party devs access to the iOS keyboard, which
can now be exchanged for another solution off the iTunes store. That's
doubly surprising seeing as Apple improved its own keyboard (now dubbed
QuickType), and added predictive, next-word suggestions. This is the
type of functionality that has been around for a while now, but what
sets QuickType apart is its ability to be aware of the context of
different conversations. For example, it'll automatically pick short
answers to common questions, and, after a while, it'll be able to juggle
between your different vocabularies, depending on who you're chatting
up. In other words, QuickType will eventually learn to use a more formal
vocabulary when conversing with a colleague or a possible lead, and
switch to a much more informal one when talking to your best mate.

New Health app will tackle the growing fitness & wellness category

iPhone 6 rumor round-up: design, specs, price, and release date
appears that Apple either never intended to name its fitness &
wellness hub app HealthBook, or it had a change of heart at the last
minute. Either way, the relevant app that comes with iOS 8 will instead
simply be dubbed Health.
Health was developed (and continues
to be) in conjunction with the esteemed Mayo Clinic, and will centralize
your various fitness and health stats in one singular place. Of course,
in order to make full use of Health, you'll need to get yourself
appropriate, third-party accessories, as we still don't know if and when
a possible iWatch will make an appearance.
The type of
variables you'll be able to track with the help of the Health app
include heart rate, blood pressure, the amount of burned calories, and
sleep data. Obviously, it's certainly possible that Apple will add more
categories in the future.

Siri is now always listening

has also been graced with a few notable updates, the most important of
which is the its new-found ability to listen to your input at all times
-- just like how Google Now works on a few, select Android handsets.
as welcome is Siri's new ability to recognize songs (developed in
partnership with Shazam), and it will even allow you to make iTunes
purchases of songs you like just by following your voice. 
Lastly, smart-connected home appliances that make use of Apple's new HomeKit API will all be controllable through Siri.

Price and release date

with a 2-year contract -- that's how much carriers have traditionally
asked in exchange for a shiny new 16GB iPhone. You can also have an
unlocked 16GB unit for $649, and sales usually start one week after
Apple introduces the new iPhone in September.
iPhone 6 rumor round-up: design, specs, price, and release date
proven otherwise, there's no reason to think that Apple is about to
change its pricing or release window, though it should be noted that one Jefferies analyst has claimed that Apple is pushing carriers to introduce a $100 raise,
or $299 with a 2-year commitment. According the analyst, the initial
response from carriers was a "No!", but he doubts their ability to
resist such a price change. Moreover, Reuters has published a report
that pegs the iPhone 6's release date sometime in August, and not
Whether such a hike in price and change in the
usual time window come to pass remains to be seen, as do the finer
details surrounding the iPhone 6.

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