iPhone 6 release date, news and rumors

14th Apr 2014 | 11:27

iPhone 6 release date, news and rumors

Everything we've heard so far about the new iPhone 6

Release date and design

The new iPhone could be one of the most pivotal devices in the Cupertino brand's history - with the the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C simple updates to previous models, there's a lot of pressure heaped on the iPhone 6.

As per usual, the internet is awash with rumor, speculation and downright lies over this next-generation handset, which is why we spend our time trawling through each nugget of info, debating its merits and curating it into this easy-to-read hub for all things iPhone 6.

According to a survey of 4109 US consumers the iPhone 6 is the most anticipated Apple smartphone ever, with interest easily outstripping that of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5.

Some of you might have been expecting the iPhone 6 to have debuted in 2013, but given the iPhone's history - from the 3G onwards, there's always been a half-step S model before the next numbered iPhone - we were never going to get the 6 until 2014. In fact, it will technically be the iPhone 8 by that point... but hey, who's counting these days?

One thing is for sure, with the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2 just around the corner (plus our full HTC One (M8) review now out in wild showing a truly stunning phone), Apple will need to be on its game with the new handset - and many believe a bigger screen is simply a must.

Cut to the chase
What is it? A major revision of the iPhone including entire design
When is it out? September 2014, maybe as early as June for a larger 'iPhablet'
What will it cost? Expect premium pricing for a premium smartphone

iPhone 6 release date

The iPhone 6 release date will be in 2014, although exactly when that will be in the year is still a little unclear.

Here's what we think is most likely to happen: at WWDC in June this year we'll see the obvious release of iOS 8, but also a larger-screened iPhablet as Apple looks to bring itself to the fore in Asian markets and rivalling the likes of the Galaxy Note 3.

We'd have usually given this kind of rumor a wide berth, but multiple reports have spoken of a larger device from Apple at the June event, so we're starting to give them some credence. At the very least, Apple is definitely testing it, but may not bring it to market.

After that, Apple will launch the iPhone 6 in September, along with the iWatch and the first view of iOS 8, to allow it to both bring a new product to market as well as keeping its schedule safe. This is backed up by KDB Daewoo Securities, which does have a decent record in Apple early leaks.

KGI's analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has also thrown his hat into the ring and he seems to think the devices will be released in reverse order, with a 4.7-inch iPhone coming out towards the end of the third quarter and a 5.5-inch iPhablet hitting the market late in the fourth quarter.

Suggestions of both sizes arriving September could also hold water - but only if Apple keeps both products under the iPhone name. If if splits the larger device under a new name (we can't see 'iPhad' being a thing) then a June and September launch could make sense.

Apple has launched the last few iPhones at a special event in September, so the smart money is on September 2014 for the iPhone 6's arrival but won't be the only mobile hardware we see from the firm this year.

After trawling through all the iPhone 6 rumors we kicked our render machine into gear and came up with a concept of what we'd like Apple's eighth generation flagship smartphone to look like.

Check out our creation in the video below.

Bigger screen(s)?

According to Business Insider, of the many iPhone 6 prototypes Apple has made, one has a giant Retina+ IGZO display and a "new form factor with no home button. Gesture control is also possibly included." It will surely include Apple's new Touch ID finger print tech though?

The Retina+ Sharp IGZO display would have a 1080p Full HD resolution. It's also been widely reported that Apple could introduce two handset sizes as it seeks to compete with the plethora of Android devices now on the market - with both being a lot thinner thanks to big improvements in LED backlight technology to reduce the thickness.

Apple has even acknowledged that consumers want a larger screen after an internal slide was revealed in its court battle with Samsung entitled "Consumers want what we don't have."

We reckon there will be two screen sizes and resolutions, as mentioned above. A Full HD display makes perfect sense for the iPhone 6, especially if it grows to a 4.7-inch screen as mooted, and the iPhablet will push things even further to preserve the Retina experience on a larger display.

In fact the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 has been tipped again alongside a larger 5.7-inch (or is that a QHD 5.5-inch screen?) model as part of Apple's double attack on the market following the 5S and 5C.

While we'd love to see the Quad HD resolution adorn the iPhone 6, the fact it's such a great leap from the sub-720p Retina display on the 5S and 5C makes it seem very unlikely.

KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo doesn't think the iPhone 6 will even be full HD, instead pointing to a slightly unusual 1334 x 750 (326 ppi) resolution in order to maintain the same aspect ratio as the iPhone 5S.

While the 5.5-inch phablet model will have a full HD 1920 x 1080 display in his opinion, giving it a pixel density of 401 pixels per inch.

iPod Nano 7th Generation

Japanese blog Macotakara claims the iPhone 6 (in both its sizes) will take design cues from the iPhone 5C and the seventh-gen iPad Nano which launched in 2012.

All that said, we're now hearing that the larger iPhone 6 has hit production problems, which may see it delayed until 2015, although the 4.7-inch version is said to still be on track.

In other areas, patents show that Apple has been thinking about magical morphing technology that can hide sensors and even cameras. Will it make it into the iPhone 6? Probably not.

There's still a small possibility of the iPhone 6 sporting a flexible wraparound display after more patents were uncovered, but we reckon that's more likely to feature on the iPhone 7 or 8 instead.

Case and healthcare

iPhone 6

iPhone 6 casing

It's been suggested that there could even be three size variants of the new iPhone - check out these mocked up images by artist Peter Zigich, and that makes sense seeing as the iPhone 5C will need a sequel.

He calls the handsets iPhone 6 Mini, iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 XL (these look rather like the iPhone 5C variant though).

However, as ZDNet rightly points out, different size variants aren't exactly easy to just magic out of thin air.

"If the iPhone 6 doesn't have a Liquidmetal body, then we'll probably never see one."

You can expect more premium metal to come your way with the iPhone 6 too, and Apple patents for liquidmetal 3D printing suggest there may be a new way to form the sultry chassis on the new iPhone.

Writing in early January 2014, MacRumors quotes a batch of liquidmetal patents reportedly filed by Apple employees.

This has been doing the rounds for a while though, and apparently it's a tricky material to work with.

That chassis could well be the thinnest yet (thanks to that LED backlight we mentioned earlier) - with word that Apple will slim down the svelte 7.6mm 5S body for the iPhone 6, and if leaked images of the phone's case are legit the handset may well be shockingly slender.

iPhone 6 - LEAK

Apple has now been officially granted a patent for a flexible, curved handset design which sports a screen which wraps round the sides of the device.

It's highly unlikely that the iPhone 6 will bear the fruits of this patent, as we expect the technology is still a few years off coming to market - but it could just be the curve ball Apple is looking for to inject the iPhone range with.

The future of the iPhone, just not this year (credit: USPTO)

With talk of larger screens, we can expect the body of the iPhone 6 to grow and leaked schematic designs claim the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will be 66mm wide and 7.0mm thick (the 5S is 58.6 x 7.6mm).

The larger 5.7-inch handset is said to be 77mm in width and a super svelte 6.7mm in depth - the Galaxy Note 3 is 79.2 x 8.3mm.

These super slim dimensions have been given a little more fire power as photos supposedly showing off the design of the iPhone 6 reveals a slender smartphone.

iPhone 6 - LEAK

The bezel might get smaller too, as KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suspects there'll be a 10-20% reduction in the width of the bezel.

An unbreakable display

Here's an interesting one: Apple looks like it's signed a big deal to use a lot of sapphire glass in its phones, with the company buying up the technology to use the super-hard technology for its displays.

Sapphire is already used by the Cupertino brand for its TouchID sensor cover and the camera glass, so extending it out makes a lot of sense. Whether it will be cost effective remains to be seen - but given iPhones are one of the top device for broken screen repair, reducing this problem would go down nicely.

However, there's an issue here: it's really expensive, and as such seems like it would bump up the cost of the phone too much for Apple, even though its customer base expects to pay a premium.

Canonical's CEO thinks that the Cupertino firm has been buying up swathes of the material - could this be for the iWatch? Seems more likely than an entire phone screen.

Apple even has a patent for an oleophobic (anti-smudge) coating that works on sapphire crystal to ensure the surface doesn't get covered in grubby fingerprints - exactly what you need if you're going to cover the front of a phone with it.

And it could even self heal, with Apple trying to patent a special screen coating that could heal to dramatically enhance the appearance of the iPhone 6, as well as other Apple products.

And what's this? NFC in an iPhone? About time too. Well, that's what iDownloadblog reckons, quoting Jefferies analyst Peter Misek. He's not the only analyst tossing his hat into the iPhone 6 NFC ring, with Ming-Chi Kuo also supporting the theory.

Many Android phones now boast NFC and Apple appears to have been happy to be left behind here, so we can't see it suddenly rocking the contactless technology when it appears to be on the wane.

And what about a bit more space to sling our content? We've already seen a 128GB iPad, so why not a 128GB iPhone 6? Yes, it'll cost a fortune, but high-spending early adopters love this stuff.

It could save your life - with iOS 8

With iOS 7 heading out of the traps now, who's betting against the next iPhone coming with iOS 8?

We'd expect a September or October release date for iOS 8 in line with previous releases - although it's likely we'll see what the new software will entail from June this year.

And owning one could definitely make you healthier, as Apple has apparently met with the FDA, according to the New York Times, to chat about the increased health-tracking software it will use in iOS 8. This will very likely be in association with the iWatch, which should debut at the same time as the new platform.

However, the new iPhone will need to be a posterchild for the technology too, so the news that it will apparently come with an array of sensors to monitor your health and environment, allowing you to trackyour prescriptions and monitoring your health levels, we very much expect Apple to bring its new handset to the healthy fore as well.

iPhone 6 processor and RAM

Not a huge surprise, this one: the next processor one will be a quad-core A8 or an evolved A7. The big sell here is more power with better efficiency, which should help battery life.

Anyone hoping for some juicy Samsung technology hidden under the iPhone 6 body will be disappointed though, as reports suggest Apple is looking to push its Korean rival further out of the iPhone picture with its eighth-gen handset.

Apple is apparently cutting the amount of A8 processors it is having made by Samsung, although it hasn't severed ties completely just yet.

There's not been much word on how much RAM the iPhone 6 will come with, but KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reckons it will have 1GB, just like the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S before it.

Camera and wireless charging

iPhone 6 camera

The best iPhone camera yet

Apple's bought camera sensors from Sony before, and this year we're going to see a new, 13-megapixel sensor that takes up less room without compromising image quality. But that's not what everybody thinks.

The China Post, quoting a tip from the country's Nomura Security, claims that the next iPhone won't go for a 12 or 16-megapixel sensor, instead sticking to the existing 8-megapixel unit.

With more recent rumors believing that Apple has signed up to use a new material that will dramatically improve the quality of light trickling into the phone, a 10MP+ sensor could be possible - but we're more inclined to believe that, as another report recently suggested, Apple will stick with the current resolution.

Why go for more megapixels if the pictures won't be any better? The notion that Apple will stick with an 8MP sensor might not be so good for marketing, but news states the iPhone 6 will have an f/2.0 aperture and dramatically enhanced image processing, your snaps will look so good that most won't even care that the numbers are down.

And you shouldn't - 5MP is enough to blow up a photo to A3 size, so when are you going to need more?

On top of that, more impressive tech will also help make your snaps stand out. A patent confirms this, saying Apple's aim is to use "voice coil motor actuators" to move the lens around the optical axis.

An Apple patent, uncovered by Apple Insider in May 2013, shows a system where an iPhone can remotely control other illuminating devices - extra flashes. It would work in a similar manner to that seen in professional photography studios. Interesting stuff.

Say Cheese to the iPhone 6

iPhone 6 Sapphire crystals

GT Advanced Technologies provides crystal grow equipment and materials for consumer electronics, among other industries and has announced that it's signed a multi-year supply agreement with Apple to provide sapphire materials.

Sapphire has figured prominently in recent Apple products - the iPhone 5S' Touch ID fingerprint reader features a cut sapphire crystal cover and the iPhone 5 was the first to feature a sapphire crystal lens.So what will we see in the iPhone 6? Certainly the Touch ID fingerprint reader, but also other scratch-proof materials - as we said, possibly the display, which makes a lot of sense.

GT says it will own and operate the machinery to produce this stuff at a new Apple plant in Arizona - and as we mentioned above, Apple has bought a lot of this material, despite it being so goshdarn expensive that it might not be cost-effective to bring it as a screen cover.

Apple has also filed a "Sapphire Windows" patent (discovered by Appleinsider) which details the numerous methods of growing, harvesting and polishing transparent sapphire wafers, then cutting them with advanced lasers.

Sapphire Windows: coming to an iPhone near you [Credit: Apple Insider]

iPhone 6 wireless charging

Wireless charging still isn't mainstream. Could Apple help give it a push? CP Tech reports that Apple has filed a patent for efficient wireless charging, but then again Apple has filed patents for pretty much anything imaginable.

The tasty bit of this particular patent is that Apple's tech wouldn't just charge one device, but multiple ones. Here are more details on the iPhone 6 wireless charging patent.

Meanwhile, a further Apple patent seems to imply that future iPhones will be able to adjust volume as you move them away from your ear.

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