iPhone 6 release date & specs you know???

04 Apr 2013


Our iPhone 6 release date, features and price rumours article is updated on a regular basis, so check back to keep up with the latest information

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.




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.




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 have 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.

Sharp has also started manufacturing a super-sensitive touchscreen, which you can write on with a pencil and even operate with gloves on. Given Apple's relationship with Sharp, rumours have linked the new technology to the iPhone 6.

It's clear to see why. Apple likes to have the best features in its flagship phone and a screen you can draw on and operate with gloves on is a clear benefit.

The new screen technology has eight times the sensitivity of existing models, is scratch resistant and is also thinner than existing screens. In other words, it would be hard to see why Apple wouldn't want this technology.




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.

The rumours of a 128GB version would seem to be true, as we know that Apple now has that capacity, thanks to the recent launch of a 128GB iPad 4.

The new model doubled the maximum capacity of the previous high-end iPad (64GB). This update was said to be about increasing the variety of uses for the tablet, with Apple stating that more storage was good for large files for use in applications such as CAD and music production. It's also a more useful amount of storage for photos and videos.

The update to the iPad 4 was a completely new model with a new price, so we'd expect the same range of capacities and prices to be available from the iPad 5: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB. With Apple now using 128GB storage in its tablets, the question is whether or not it will provide the same range of capacities in its iPhone and iPad Mini range, too.

Given that the capacity is now available to Apple and that the smartphone market is even more competitive, we'd say that a 128GB version of the new phone is more than likely.




Apple has recently bought indoor location tracking start-up WifiSLAM for $20m, fuelling a rumour that the iPhone 6 will have indoor mapping.

Apple has bought the company outright, so it's likely that its technology will be integrated directly into iOS products, rather than being available for third-party use.

While GPS is brilliant, it requires line-of-sight to satellites, meaning that it doesn't work accurately indoors. WifiSLAM's technology is designed to use alternative radio beacons (WiFi networks, RFID tags or specialist transmitters) to track people inside a building.

That may sound a little odd, but inside large buildings, such as museums, shopping centres and airports, the technology could be really useful.

It may be that the iPhone 6 gets this technology, so that it's in-door ready. However, as indoor mapping requires additional technology to work properly, it could be a while before a lot of buildings are supported.




Not all of the new features destined for the iPhone 6 are about making it faster, more attractive or improving the screen. Some, such as the mooted luminance shock eye protection, are about making it more comfortable to use.

Luminance shock is when you're say in a dark room and a message or notification pops-up on your phone, shooting the screen to full brightness, temporarily creating a vision impairment. Now Apple has won a patent for a luminance shock avoidance.

According to the abstract supplied by Apple, "The algorithm receives the state of the display (e.g. on or in standby mode), and can optionally receive an ambient lighting value from an ambient light sensor and a user-selectable manual brightness adjustment setting to determine whether luminescence shock avoidance should even be triggered, and if it is triggered, how much should the brightness level of the display be limited."

In other words, the phone will use the ambient light sensor built into the phone to see how dark it is. It will also monitor to see if the phone's turned on or not. If the phone's off and the room is dark, the algorithm kicks into action when an alert comes in and only raises the screen to a pre-set brightness level, avoiding luminance shock.

The patent then goes on to explain how, after a set period of time, the handset would then raise the brightness of the screen to the set brightness level, slowly ramping it up and giving your eyes time to adjust.

Apple's patent also describes using a gamma shift to change the screen to red wavelengths, which the eye is less sensitive to, moving it away from the blue/green light.

One of the key things about the patent is that it's a luminance shock avoidance algorithm, which means that Apple can implement it in software. That means that the iPhone 5S could get it, as well as existing iOS devices, such as the iPhone 5 and iPad 4.




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.




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."

Apple iPhone 6 smart bezel
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.




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 theSamsung 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.

The latest information suggests that the Apple A7 processor is now being finished by the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing company. It appears as though, the final design will go in March, then move to risk production in May-June.

With that kind of schedule production of the new chip would happen in 2014, meaning that this processor will definitely be for the iPhone 6, while the iPhone 5S is more likely to get some kind of tweaked A6 processor.

Recent rumours have suggested that the iPhone 6 process will be manufactured by Intel, rather than Samsung.

With Intel's core market of desktop and laptops contracting, the company is looking to expand its business by offering contract manufacturing. It makes a lot of sense, as Intel has the capital investment in global fabrication plants, which means it should be able to offer competitive prices. It also means that Apple can move away from Samsung, reducing its reliance on its main competitor.

This shouldn't be read as a move to Intel-based technology, though. Although Intel has a smartphone chip, it hasn't been used in a lot of phones, with manufacturers preferring ARM. ARM has the dual benefits of low power requirements, which are important on battery-powered devices, and the fact that it licenses its technology, so manufacturers can easily build their own custom chips.


iOS 7


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.

The odds of iOS 7 being ready on time have slipped, with news that the project is now behind schedule. According to recent reports, Apple has had to take developers away from OS X 10.9 in order to get its mobile OS back on track. So, where does that leave us? Well, the smart betting is that iOS 7 will be released with or shortly after the iPhone 5S, iPad 5 and iPad Mini 2. Current information has the iPhone 6 releasing next year, so we wouldn't be surprised if it were to get a tweaked version of iOS 7, perhaps with some unique features for this handset.




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.

iPhone 6 concept
This iPhone 6 concept shows how the new phone could look, complete with its smart bezel




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."




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.


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