iPhone 6 and the iPhone 5S are two different phones
The rumour mill doesn't seem too sure whether the next iPhone is going to be the iPhone 5S or the iPhone 6. Given the iPhone's history - from the 3G onwards, there's always been a half-step S model before the next numbered iPhone - we'd bet on an iPhone 5S first and an iPhone 6 a few months later.
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. He calls the handsets iPhone 6 Mini, iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 XL.
Could we see both an iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 this year?
Apple iPhone 6 Details
While there will certainly be some hardware upgrades to Apple’s next phone, it’s worth pointing out that Apple isn’t usually at the top of the pile when it comes to lining up new components. For example, the iPhone 5 famously left out NFC compatibility – something many hope to see in the iPhone 6.
In terms of the chassis, a polycarbonate body is one of the more frequent mutterings heard flapping through the internet rumour breeze.
Elsewhere, a new top of the range iPhone model would presumably need some sort of decent camera upgrade – as this is an area that’s been particularly busy in smartphones since the iPhone 5 was launched. The HTC One and Nokia 920 in particular boast interesting new camera features, other than simply megapixel escalation.
A new feature that could well appear on the 6th generation iPhone is the use of sonar as a replacement to the current infared sensors which use sound as a proximity sensor – according to this report in Apple Insider – letting the phone detect where it is, either as a way of alerting the user about an incoming object, or as a way of detecting whether the phone is being held to the users ear.
One of the intriguing features to appear on several rumour feeds is the introduction of a “smart bezel” which would display information around the screen. It emerged from an actual patent that Apple filed and, according to Macworld, the smart bezel could be a place for flashing buttons and symbols that compliment the on-screen action.
The patent states: "The primary display could be used to convey visual content to a user, and the secondary display could be used to guide a user providing inputs to the device. For example, the secondary display could be selectively illuminated to provide one or more indicators that represent where or how a user can provide inputs to the device."
Another feature gaining ground in the tech press is the inclusion of a fingerprint scanner. This follows a report that Taiwanese chip maker Chipbond are making components for future iPhones and has also been flagged up as a potential feature for the iPhone 5S.
Of course, what we can say for certain is that Siri’ll be back for another appearance.
Apple iPhone 6 – specs
Perhaps the hardest thing to gauge about any new iPhone is what exactly is going to be inside it.
If Apple decides to update the current dual-core A6 to a quad-core A6X for the iPhone 5S, then we can assume it will make the jump to an A7 chip in time for the iPhone 6.
Given Apple’s history with incremental updates, any A7 chip is likely to be a quad-core affair rather than the octo-core chip inside the Samsung Galaxy S4.
We’ve already discussed NFC, but the iPhone 6 will certainly have plenty in terms of wireless connectivity, including 802.11ac Wi-Fi, the latest iteration of the technology which, in theory, will allow you to hit browsing speeds of 1GBps.
There’s almost certainly going to be more advanced 4G LTE on board the iPhone 6, which is a good thing as by the time it gets here, the standard will have been adopted by all the main UK networks.
In terms of storage, we’d expect the conventional 16, 32 and 64GB options to appear as standard. But, given the recent 128GB upgraded iPad range there’s nothing to suggest Apple couldn’t provide a 128GB iPhone 6 model.
Apple iPhone 6 - release date
One of many analysts jumping in with thoughts on the iPhone 6 release date has said it won’t be ready until 2014.
“Apple's iPhone uses a technology called 'in-cell,' which essentially meshes the touch screen with the glass screen into one thin display. Its partners can't get good enough yields making those displays bigger to launch the iPhone 6 this year," says Peter Mise, an analyst at Jeffries & Co, in a report picked up by Macrumours.
The report goes on to say that the software will also have a bearing on development, as the next version of iOS isn’t likely to be ready until next year.
"The next iPhone will run on a 20 nm processor, allowing it to add more cores, possibly four or eight. To take advantage of the new processing speed, iOS will have to be upgraded. The new iOS architecture might not be ready until 2014,” the report says.
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.
Apple iPhone 5S Details
Apple iPhone 5S specs
Apple famously decided to withhold NFC for the iPhone 5 and since both the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Samsung Galaxy S4 have arrived toting the new connectivity, Apple will need to incorporate it this time around.In terms of storage, there is the possibility of Apple launching a new phone with 128GB storage – similar to the latest iPad upgrade.Recent reports from Taiwan and tech website NFC World indicate that manufacturer Chipbond has won a major contract to build components for the iPhone 5S. The result is that a Chipbond-built fingerprint scanner could be included in the iPhone 5S.
Meanwhile Jeffries analyst Peter Misek told Business Insider that he believes the iPhone 5S will feature a “Super HD screen” along with a range of colours similar to the iPod Touch range.
Apple iPhone 5S: Other hardware features
Reports from Focus Taiwan say that manufacturer Chipbond has secured a contract with Apple to produce the fingerprint identification hardware for the iPhone 5S. The claims say that Apple’s acquisition of NFC and fingerprint security company Authentec in 2012 supports the idea that this kind of technology will appear on the next iPhone.It could be that Apple is seeking to integrate this technology with its Passbook application in order to compete with Google Wallet.
Apple iPhone 5S Release date
It has been reported that Apple is working on a new handset that it plans on releasing in mid-2013, a few months earlier than usual. Whether this device will be the iPhone 5S or the iPhone 6 remains to be seen.
Recently, however, rumours have said Apple is facing production issues and there may be a delay in the iPhone 5S’s arrival. If this is the case, we might see it arrive at the same time as previous models – around June or July.The iPhone 5S will be launched within the third quarter of 2013 and ‘may just be a slightly enhanced version’ of the iPhone 5.
The news comes courtesy of Digitimes and its anonymous ‘sources from the upstream supply chain’ which also add to the rumours of a budget plastic-built iPhone to release this year alongside the main model.Many of these rumours are based on the idea that Apple is keen to get a new product out of the door as quickly as possible and that it may be working on multiple phones. However, it remains a possibility that it’s business as usual at the company’s Cupertino HQ, and that the iPhone 5S’s release will follow on from the iPhone 5’s September launch for the same time in 2013.
iPhone 5S Price
As usual, there’s not much information about the price at this early stage. However, rumours persist that one of Apple’s 2013 releases will be a low-cost smartphone, possibly launching alongside a premium model using Apple’s current pricing structure.You can expect an aluminium-bodied, high spec iPhone 5S to start at £529 for the 16GB model, £599 for the 32GB and £699 for the 64GB variant.
A budget plastic version could be priced a number of ways – around £300 seems sensible, but when you consider what Google has done with the Nexus 4 could the iPhone 5S be the first sub-£200 iPhone? Probably not but we can always live in hope.