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The iPhone 5S has had its ‘coming out’ party, with Apple unveiling its most forward-thinking phone yet. It’s got a fingerprint sensor for added security and convenience, a retooled camera module, new colour scheme and its most advanced processor yet.
From what we've seen thus far, the 5S is looking like more than a match for the current crop of high-end Android phones out there, thanks to the added benefits of iOS 7 and some great looking iPhone 5s apps. Just check out our iPhone 5s vs. Samsung Galaxy S4 to see how it stacks up against the competition.
However, as is always the case with Apple, the world is already wondering what comes next? What will the iPhone 6 – expected to be a much more expansive update – bring to the table?
iPhone 6 release date
Unless Apple dramatically changes course from its release schedule, we’re unlikely to see the iPhone 6 arrive on the scene until September 2014. However, it has been whispered that the company will launch a larger iPhone 6 as a companion to the iPhone 5S. In that case, we would be looking at a release date perhaps prior Samsung’s May/June new Galaxy window.
Apple iPhone 6 screen size
Recent reports from the Wall Street Journal have indicated that Apple is experimenting with screens ranging from 4.5- to 6-inches. Apple had to be dragged kicking and screaming from its classic 3.5-inch handset to the iPhone 5 and 5S’ 5-inch screen, but speculation suggests it is willing to push closer to the 5-inch screens offered by some of its Android rivals.
According to MacRumors, one analyst has suggested that Apple could be looking to implement a 4.8-inch Retina+ IGZO screen made by Sharp, which will make the iPhone 6 display thinner, brighter and much clearer – boasting better than HD resolutions.
Apple iPhone 6 storage
In the build up to the iPhone 5S launch analysts predicted the company would boost the storage of the device to 128GB, up from the top-end 64GB handset. That speculation will now carry over to the iPhone 6. That would tie in with the recent addition of a 128GB iPad model. Why couldn’t Apple employ the same tech here?
Apple iPhone 6 specs
In the build up to the iPhone 5S launch event, an Apple patent was uncovered for a fingerprint sensor that integrated Near Field Communications technology, enabling wireless payments, data transfers, media playback and more. The NFC chip was a no show. Might it be integrated within the iPhone 6?
The iPhone 5S also saw a brand new A7 processor, that’s 40 per cent faster than the A6 and a new M7 motion co-processor that tracks the users movement. We’d expect this tech to evolve in the iPhone 6 handset. Apple is yet to launch a quad-core handset. Will 2014 see it make the jump?
The device’s camera also just got a pretty significant update thanks to a 15 per cent larger sensor and a dual LED flash. There’s also new software features TrueTone flash firing, Burst Mode and slow motion video. We can only envision Apple will further hone this tech within the iPhone 6. Will we see a 13-megapixel sensor to replace the 8-megapixel snapper on the iPhone 5 and 5S?
Naturally, there’ll be the latest Wi-Fi, 4G and Bluetooth technologies.
Apple iPhone 6 appearance
The latest rumour comes courtesy of Bloomberg, according to a source familiar with the process Apple is working on two new iPhone designs that would feature curved displays and a new touchscreen technology that can detect levels of pressure.
Apparently the two new handsets would sport a 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch display. According to the source they're still very much in development so we wouldn't see a release date until at the very earliest October 2014.
Apple's iPhone 6 may have a wraparound screen, according to a recent Apple patent filing. The patent shows off an iPhone design with a wraparound AMOLED screen, which appears to be similar in design to the fourth generation iPod Nano, has gained particular attention.
According to the patent the screen can be 'unrolled' or 'unfolded' thanks to a hinge or unfolding mechanism allowing the screen area to be almost doubled in size. Facial-recognition, gesture control and the layering of screens to create a 3D display were also described in the patent.
Apple iPhone 6 features
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 new feature that could be winging its way to the iPhone 6 is a Lytro style camera. According to a patent, Apple has developed a way of taking plenoptic or 'light-field' photographs with a much smaller lens.
That could mean we'll see the ability to take a picture and refocus it afterwards. While it wouldn't be the first device to manage it, it would be a big USP for Apple if it was the only company that could shrink the technology down enough to fit it in a smartphone and tablet.
Apple iPhone 6 Operating System
Unless Apple breaks from tradition and launches an iPhone 6 in the middle of the iPhone 5S release cycle, it seems that the iPhone 6 will arrive with iOS 8 out of the box. With iOS 7 bringing a much-needed visual overhaul for Apple’s mobile software, it seems unlikely that Apple will be reinventing the wheel again so soon.