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iPhone 6 rumour round-up: What to expect
By Jon Mundy 12 May 2014
Game Name: iPhone 6 | Manufacturer: Apple | Format: iPhone
Though the official launch of the iPhone 6 is likely a good four months away, the internet is full of rumours and reports on what Apple's next smartphone will look like.

"Tell us something we don't know," you're no doubt saying in a weary tone.

Well, all right, then. We'll do our best.

What follows is a round-up of iPhone 6-related internet tittle-tattle, some of the less-dodgy component leaks from China, and our own intuition.

None of this information is definitive, sure, but we're confident about saying this: the iPhone 6 will look completely different from the iPhone 5S, and be somewhat larger to boot.



Bigger, better display

The next iPhone's going to boast a bigger display. No, you haven't warped back to 2012, when we predicted (correctly) that very thing for the iPhone 5.

Apple's pricey smartphone range is all set to get bigger again. Yes, even bigger-er than before. Rather than Apple simply stretching the screen lengthways again, all reports point to an all-round expansion, thus maintaining the same 16:9 aspect ratio.

How big are we talking here? According to industry 'insiders', a 0.7-of-an-inch increase, resulting in a 4.7-inch display.

That's roughly the size of your average high-end Android phone. You know, the ones that make Android owners pick up their friends' iPhones and make comically exaggerated squinting expressions to denote how pathetically tiddly they think Apple's phone is.


Alleged iPhone 6 front component, courtesy of Weibo
Other rumours suggest that Apple is also building a second large-screen iPhone design with an even bigger screen. This would be a 5.5-inch device, referred to by some twonks (guilty) as a 'phablet' for its hybrid proportions.

That super-sized Apple phone is apparently in a far less advanced state of development than the 4.7-inch blower, though, so don't expect it to debut any time soon.

Of course, an increase in size means that the current iPhone resolution of 1136x640 will be wholly insufficient. Good job, then, that the iPhone 6 is likely to get a timely resolution boost.

A Full HD 1080p resolution is being suggested in some quarters, which would be a direct match for Apple's Android-based rivals. However, other analysts have quite rightly suggested that this wouldn't match the iPhone 5's and iPhone 5S's 16:9 aspect ratio, which remains surprisingly unique in the world of smartphones.

Some analysts have suggested that Apple could employ a slightly odd 1334x750 resolution in order to maintain this screen ratio, not to mention a solid 326 ppi (pixels per inch). This latter solution would mean that the iPhone 6 would lag behind its Android rivals for sharpness, but would make the switch a lot easier for app developers.

Might Apple please both camps with a 2272x1280 resolution display? That'd be sweet.

It's being claimed that the iPhone 6 screen will also produce a better picture than before thanks to Quantum Dot technology. This should lead to a bright display with more accurate colour reproduction.

If that sounds like something off of Star Trek, it's not. In fact, you can already see Quantum Dot technology in action on the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX.



New, thinner design

Really, when you look at the iPhone 5S, it's not just a subtly reworked iPhone 5. It actually adheres to the same design template and principles as the 4-year-old iPhone 4.

You might think that it's time for a completely new design from Apple, and all signs suggest that you're going to get one.

According to a number of unofficial case designs and apparent production mould pictures emanating from China, the iPhone 6 will sport an even thinner design than previous models. Thought your iPhone 5 or iPhone 5S was thin at 7.6mm? Many reckon that the iPhone 6 could be just 6mm thick.

Rumours of a curved screen design seem a little fanciful to us - or at least a little premature. But the general shape of the iPhone 6 could well be rounder than the straight-edged Apple phones we've been served up since the iPhone 4.

Think the iPad mini or iPad Air shrunk down to smartphone size, and you might well be on the right lines.


This could be the iPhone 6's rear section, again courtesy of Weibo
In order to minimise the impact of that 4.7-inch screen on ergonomics, we're also expecting the iPhone 6's screen bezels to be a lot slimmer than the current model's. In other words, there'll be a greater screen-to-frame ratio.

Rumours of Apple going with sapphire glass - the ultra-hard material used on the iPhone 5S's Touch ID sensor and camera - for the whole iPhone 6 display seem unlikely to us. It's really expensive to produce. And while Apple has invested heavily in sapphire production, we suspect that this is for a certain long-rumoured smartwatch.



Other specs

As far as noteworthy specs go, we think that a completely new design and a significantly larger display are quite enough, don't you?

Naturally we're expecting a new custom processor from Apple, more than likely labelled the A8 (just a stab in the dark, that). Apple made the big leap to a 64-bit architecture with the A7 in the iPhone 5S, and in truth we haven't seen anything that really capitalises on that yet.

We wouldn't be surprised if the A8 was just a little quicker but a fair bit more energy efficient than the A7 - and we'd be more than fine with that.

The camera could well be improved in a similarly iterative manner. Some reports are suggesting that it will remain in the 8-megapixel category - which is where it's been since the iPhone 5S - but that it will feature improved optics for superior images.



iOS 8

A new iPhone, a new iOS operating system. You know the score.

With such a bold revamp of the OS in iOS 7, iOS 8 is expected to be a case of careful refinement rather than wholesale change. So, if you didn't like the flat design touches before, you're unlikely to appreciate them here.

In fact, recent rumours suggest that iOS 8 won't even contain as many of the new features as Apple intended. Apparently, the company has turned its attention towards revamping its OS X desktop operating system this year, and has pulled a number of its resources from the iOS 8 team in a bid to get it done on time.

This would mean that a number of iOS 8's new features could slip to the iOS 8.1 update some time next year.


Leaked iOS 8 app icons, courtesy of 9to5Mac

Rumoured additions to iOS 8 (or iOS 8.1) include a new Healthbook app for the health and fitness conscious; Shazam song recognition integration for Siri; and new TextEdit and Preview apps.

Nothing for a pocket gamer to get particularly worked up about, then. Did we mention there'll be a big new screen on which to play? Yes? Oh.
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