When Apple unveiled the iPhone 5, the reaction was a bit muted: where previous phones were massive leaps forward, the iPhone 5 was a bit longer and a lot easier to scratch.
So what can we expect from the next iPhone, the iPhone 6 or 5S? Let’s see what the crystal balls are saying.
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.
iPhone 6 release date
Some pundits predict a summer release for the iPhone 6, while Money Morning reckons that the iPhone 5’s lack of NFC and Jumbotron display is because Apple’s got a proper iPhone ready for a springtime release.
It’s quite likely that Apple is moving to a two-phones-per-year upgrade cycle, but we’d bet on a springtime 5S model and a bigger, iPhone 6, update in the Autumn, probably September.
Even Digitimes reckons a springtime iPhone 6 is unlikely: it’s predicting a summertime reveal for Apple’s next generation phones, which again fits with a WWDC unveiling.
iPhone 6 cases
Multiple rumours say Apple’s working on plastic cases for its next iPhone, mixing plastic and metal in such a way that “the internal metal parts [are] able to be seen from outside through special design.”
It’s unclear whether such cases would be for the iPhone 5S or iPhone 6, or if Apple is simply considering making cheaper iPhone 4s to sell when the iPhone 3GS reaches the end of its life.
The iPhone 6 will finally do NFC
That’s what iDownloadblog reckons, quoting Jefferies analyst Peter Misek: it’ll have a better battery too, he says.
The iPhone 6 will run iOS 7 and the iPhone 5S probably won’t
Developers are seeing new iPhone model identifiers in their server logs: the device identifies itself as the iPhone 6,1 (the iPhone 5 is 5,1 or 5,2) running iOS 7, and its IP address is an Apple one. If the two-phones strategy is true, we’d expect Apple to unveil the next major revision of iOS at its WWDC conference in June, with it shipping on the iPhone 6 a few months later.
iPhone 6 storage
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 may not have a home button
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”.
iPhone 6 screen size
Take this one with a pinch of salt, because China Times isn’t always right: it reckons the codename iPhone Math, which may be a mistranslation of iPhone+, will have a 4.8-inch display. The same report suggests that Apple will release multiple handsets throughout the year over and above the iPhone 5S and 6, which seems a bit far-fetched to us.
The screen may be magic
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.
iPhone 6 processor
Not a huge surprise, this one: the current processor is a dual-core A6, and the next one will be a quad-core A7. The big sell here is more power with better efficiency, which should help battery life.
Expect to see it in the 2013 iPad first, and expect to see an improved A6 processor, the A6X, in the iPhone 5S.
iPhone 6 camera
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.
The new iPhone will have better 4G LTE
On its UK launch, just one UK network had 4G LTE: Everything Everywhere, which currently offers 4G on the 1800MHz band. In 2013, all the other big names will be coming on board, offering 4G in other frequency bands. International iPhones already work across different 4G bands to the UK, so you can expect the UK iPhone 6 (and possibly the iPhone 5S) to be more promiscuous than the iPhone 5.
The Wi-Fi may be 802.11ac
Apple likes to lead Wi-Fi standards adoption – its Airport really helped make Wi-Fi mainstream – and there’s a good chance we’ll see ultra-fast 802.11ac Wi-Fi in Apple kit this year. It’s faster than Lighting, and not very frightening.
It may get 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.