Apple iPhone 6 release date, rumours and everything you need to know

Apple is consistently the subject of rumour, when it comes to the next iPhone, no sooner has the latest model been released than speculation surrounding the next appears.

The iPhone 6 name appeared before the iPhone 5S even launched, with some reports believing the 5S would be called the 6. This of course turned out not to be the case. Speculation surrounding the naming convention always arises, even though Apple has been consistent for the past few generations. We'd fully expect the next model to be the iPhone 6, but how it would be positioned alongside any iPhone 5C replacement, we can't be sure.

Here we are rounding up the rumours and speculation surrounding the iPhone 6 to see what the next-generation iPhone could bring with it. As usual, we will be updating this feature regularly when more information becomes available so keep checking back for the latest.

Apple iPhone 6 release date

There are always several rumours surrounding the release date for the next-generation of iPhone, and it's usually only closer to the date that you get more accurate timings.

However, starting off the speculation in November was a report from Bloomberg suggesting we would see two handsets introduced by Apple, both of which would be available in the second half of the 2014. That's a safe bet, because it follows the patten of previous launch events.

Chinese analyst Sun Changxu also predicted there would be two handsets arriving from Apple this year, although claimed one would arrive in June at WWDC, and the other in September. A June release was also predicted by Jeffries analyst Peter Misek. Again, rumours of an "earlier" release of a new iPhone have been common in past years. It's never actually happened, so we continue to be sceptical.

It might be safer, however, to predict a WWDC reveal of the iOS 8 software, which the iPhone 6 is likely to launch with.

More recently, there have been further suggestions of two models being released but both in the same month, which is claimed to be September by South China Morning Post.

Apple iPhone 6 display

A larger display than the current 4-inches has been speculated numerous times for the next-generation iPhone.

A report in September by The Wall Street Journal said Apple was testing iPhone phablets between 4.8-inches and 6-inches, with the company particularly keen on the 4.8-inch display. This 4.8-inch display size has also been touted by Peter Misek, who claimed the iPhone 6 would have a Retina+ IGZO display.

Both a report in June as well as the China Times supported the idea of a 4.8-inch display, with China Times also suggesting a Retina display with 1080p Full HD resolution for the iPhone 6.

However, the November report from Bloomberg suggested we could expect to see a 4.7-inch device and a 5.5-inch model arrive in 2014. Perhaps more interesting than the size, is that the report also suggested the glass on the displays would curve downwards, which would be a first for Apple.

Suggestions of a curved display also appeared in an Apple patent filed by the US Patent and Trademark Office last year. The patent speculated the possibility of an iDevice with a wraparound AMOLED screen, which could be unrolled or unfolded. Facial recognition, gesture control and a layered screen for 3D were also mentioned in the patent. Plus, the company is also said to have taken out a number of patents on a Smart Bezel, meaning the area around the screen could display information.

There have also been claims of a 5-inch display for the iPhone 6 made from sapphire crystal from Digitimes, as well as reports of a 4.9-inch screen, which came from C Technology based on an insider's tip.

Supporting Bloomberg, analyst Sun Changxu also claimed there would be two handsets arriving this year, with both reports agreeing on a 4.7-inch device. However, Changxu claims the second device would be 5.7-inches, rather than the 5.5-inch model reported by Bloomberg.

Changxu also commented on the resolution, noting the 4.7-inch device will feature the same 1136 x 640 resolution as the current iPhone 5S, while the 5.7-inch model will come with a higher resolution.

More recently, the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch sizes have appeared again, this time from South China Morning Post claiming an insider revealed some details. The insider claims to have seen the prototypes and says the new display will have a 441ppi, which is the same as the Galaxy S4 but a big jump from Apple's current 326ppi. Both prototypes were also claimed to be covered in sapphire crystal glass, although these may not make it to the public.

The use of sapphire crystal for the screens was also mentioned by Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical, who has also claimed Apple has bought enough sapphire crystal screens to last about three years.

If there's anything we know from watching iPhone launch cycles, it's that the rumours always claim a larger display is coming, but Apple has been very conservative with increasing the screen size. With such a variety of rumours, it's difficult to pin down what the iPhone 6 screen size will be.

Apple iPhone 6 design

There are always a number of concept designs surrounding the next-generation iPhones, some beautiful and some impractical but most, if not all, should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Back in July last year, analyst Pritesh Chavan created a concept depicting a flat, foldable iPhone 6 featuring 3-in-1 screen sizes, which he called his creation of an iPhone and iPad in one. The display sizes ranged from 4.2-inches to 5.8-inches and then to 7.5-inches. We'll leave that one for sci-fi movies, as we suspect the iPhone 6 will very much stick to existing Apple design lines.

In November, a render appeared by Marti Hajek and Steve Hemmerstoffer presenting a thinner body, larger display with less bezel and no home button. However, given that Apple only introduced the fingerprint sensor underneath the home button in the iPhone 5S, this concept is unlikely.

Most recent in the concept book are a number of designs from Federico Ciccarese who presented what he thought a 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch model would look like.

There is an edge-to-edge display, thin, curved body and a rear camera in the centre with the flash below the lens. Again, it's unlikely the concept would become a reality but at least this one includes the Touch ID.

Some images appeared on Chinese website Weibo in January of what some believe to be the casing of the iPhone 6. If they are genuine, it would suggest the iPhone 6 will come with a ultra-thin build. A slimmer handset isn't completely far-fetched, but these images certainly don't provide enough evidence yet.

KGI Securities' Ming-Chi Kuo also believes Apple's next iPhone will be thinner if the company uses in-cell technology. Kuo also speculates that a thinner battery and a metal back for the iPhone 6 could mean it comes in at 7.87mm thick, compared to the 9.39mm of the current iPhone 5S.

More recently, Sonny Dickson published some images claiming to be the iPhone 6, but although the images were very realistic, they turned out to be fabricated by multiple render creator Martin Hajek. The images were discovered to be fake as certain smudges and elements appear several times on these and other renders.

Apple iPhone 6 specs

Rumours surrounding the hardware specs of the iPhone 6 have been thin on the ground in terms of processor, storage or battery capacity, although some of the speculation that surrounded the iPhone 5S has carried over, including the 128GB storage claim.

Reports have also suggested Samsung is hard at work on Apple's next-generation processor, which unsurprisingly has been dubbed the A8. If the handset does launch with a new processor, this should also mean an improved battery life, hopefully.

There has been a bit more talk surrounding the camera, with a 13-megapixel camera sensor by Sony thrown into the mix, as well as more recently, Chinese website IT168 claiming the "next-generation iPhone" will be coming with a 10-megapixel snapper featuring an aperture of f/1.8 and an improved filter.

In terms of other features, there has been talk of the iPhone 6 combining a fingerprint scanner with NFC, bringing eye-tracking, wireless charging and even sonar for face detection and 3D modelling. This sounds a little too fantastical, although the first few technologies mentioned on the list are commonplace in other devices. Sonar doesn't quite sound right to us.

Apple iPhone 6 software

When it comes to software, it's almost certain the new iPhone will come with iOS 8, although whether the software will bring any dramatic changes graphically compared to iOS 7 is probably unlikely.

A report has suggested Apple is looking to launch a mobile payment service that would allow users to pay for their goods using their device. This could arrive on iOS 8 but for now, the report simply says it is being built internally.

There has also been speculation suggesting Apple's release of iOS 8 will focus on mobile healthcare and fitness tracking with health being the software's headline feature. According to rumours, iOS 8 will be a software update around health, performance and improving Apple Maps and carries a codename of Okemo.

Additionally, an application called Healthbook is said to be coming with iOS 8, which will have similar features to the Nike+ Move app, counting calories, steps taken and tracking weight loss through the iPhone's motion tracking processor. This is also said to be helped by the rumoured iWatch's sensors.

READ: iOS release date, rumours and everything you need to know

Conclusion

Some of the rumours here might happen and others will be complete nonsense, with no one knowing for sure what the iPhone 6 will bring until it launches officially.

Whether there will be one or two handsets revealed is uncertain, but nevertheless an interesting theory which would mean Apple would be catering for both the smartphone and phablet markets. We would like to believe the iPhone 6 will at least arrive with a larger display than the current 4-inches.

An improved camera, processor and battery would seem like a reasonable step for a new device, but whether the camera will remain at 8-megapixels and add some features, or increase to 10-megapixels or higher is anybody's guess.

We would expect to see a redesign of the handset rather than the software, based on the release pattern of Apple's previous iPhones but we suspect the Touch ID will remain a central part of it.

What we do know for sure is that these rumours will continue to circulate until the official device is released so we will keep you posted on the most recent weird, whacky and wonderful rumours surrounding the iPhone 6 as they circulate.