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.
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 - there are certainly some rumours around two separately-sized devices.
Here we round up the rumours and speculation surrounding the iPhone 6 to see what the next-generation iPhone could bring with it. We will be updating this feature regularly as more information becomes available and more rumours circulate.
Apple iPhone 6 release date
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. 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.
WWDC did reveal the iOS 8 software, which the iPhone 6 will launch with, however.
More recently, there have been suggestions of two models being released but both in the same month, which is claimed to be September by South China Morning Post. It's something Taiwan's Economic Daily News corroborates, although it suggests an August release for the first of the two.
According to a newer report from Chinese web portal Tencent, which cited inside sources, Apple will look to launch the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 on 19 September. However, various Chinese media reports, which also cited inside sources, have claimed Apple will announced the iPhone 6 on 15 September, ahead of a launch on 25 September.
Those same reports said Apple's larger 5.5-inch iPhone will be called the "iPhone Air". The 16GB version will sell in China for 5,998 yuan (£562). Meanwhile, the 4.7-inch version will reportedly start at 5,288 (£496) for 32GB (the current price of the 16GB iPhone 5S in China).
It's fairly safe to bet that the iPhone 6 release date will be in autumn 2014 (likely around September): Apple said that iOS 8 will be rolling out in "the Fall".
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 iPhones 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. This two-device theme is mentioned by a number of different sources.
The 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch sizes were mentioned by 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.
Tech website 9to5Mac has claimed the iPhone 6 (or at least some future iPhone) will boast a 1,704 x 960-pixel resolution screen. And Taiwan's Economic Daily News claims that the 4.7-inch version will be released at a different event to the 5.5-inch one.
However a recent leak from popstar Jimmy Lin puts the display at 4.7-inches. Lin showed off the iPhone 5, 5S and iPad mini prior to launch, so this might be more reliable.
Many part leaks have been about the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 thus far, but in June, a possible LCD backlight panel for the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 surfaced (as seen below). That said, Reuters reported in June that Apple was testing 4.7-inch and 5.7-inch displays for two iPhones to be released in 2014.
The leak below, which is pretty reliable as it comes from serial leakster Sonny Dickson, again shows the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch variants of the iPhone 6 are on their way. The glass fronts suggest that the iPhone is nearing production time on a large scale.
And finally, according to Taiwanese supply chain insiders, the iPhone 6's smaller 4.7-inch model will feature standard Gorilla Glass 3 (that's on most new phone at the moment), but the larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 will be coming with super strong Sapphire glass.
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
Images appeared on Chinese social network 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.
While the images below don't clearly show the difference, many recent reports have indicated the iPhone 6 will be much thinner than the current iPhone 5S, possibly between 6mm and 7mm, and closer in thickness to the iPod touch. For reference: the iPhone 5S has a thickness of 7.6mm, while the iPod Touch is 6.1mm thick.
The most recent "leaked" casing photo shows a rear shell covered in what looks to be a green plastic protective coating, showing a more rounded design than the current iPhone 5S. It also appears to separate top and bottom sections, rather like the HTC One.
This leaked image closely matches those shown off by Jimmy Lin and may well come from the same source: of course, it could be the same fake mock-up device. Afterall, with such a potent exclusive, why post such poor photos?
This does, however, stick with the idea of the iPhone 6 being a larger device, although we're still a little skeptical about the camera. The regular LED flash looks like a step down from the dual-tone flash of the iPhone 5S, so we're left none-the-wiser.
Another leak comes from Chinese blog iFanr. It published a video recently that provides a closer look at the iPhone 6's black front panel.
The video, as seen below, also features a comparison to the current iPhone 5S and a clearer shot of the front panel's thinner bezel and rounded edges. Many reports have claimed the iPhone 6 will feature a thinner profile and a curved design.
Do you want to see an iPhone 6 prototype being dropped by a Russian? Check out the video below.
Of all the odd things we've seen or read about the iPhone 6, this Russian language YouTube video probably the most peculiar. Not only is a video starring an alleged iPhone 6 prototype handset - of what origin we haven't a clue - but the presenter then proceeds to chuck it around to show how damaged it gets when dropped.
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.
According to Chinese site Wei Feng Apple aims to introduce its first 125GB iPhone with the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 only. The smaller 4.7-inch iPhone 6, that's anticipated, will come with 32GB and 64GB options. Neither will have a 16GB option as this, apparently, is being done away with.
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.
Apple is also expected to enhance pixel size on the iPhone 6 camera going from 1.5µ in the current iPhone 5S up to 1.75µ. This would mean higher picture quality, in all conditions, as more light is captured. Apple is also rumoured to be integrating electronic optical image stabilisation. This would not only allow for smoother video and clearer low-light photos but should make the camera even slimmer.
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.
The NFC addition has been mentioned another time since, especially after Apple's acquisition of Beats was announced. Certainly we'd expect some nod to audio with Beats, even if its just improved headphones in the box.
Apple iPhone 6 software
When it comes to software, it's almost certain the new iPhone will come with iOS 8, announced at WWDC 2014 and scheduled for release in autumn, the same time we'd predict the iPhone 6 to launch.
There's a lot of new features appearing in iOS 8, but little that gives away any clues to the size or the hardware functions of the iPhone 6. There's a play towards making a standard for health and connect home apps with HealthKit and HomeKit, meaning better integration.
There are a number of UI and feature updates, included improvement to Siri, better notifications options, including widgets and a closer alignment with OS X Yosemite, the Mac software.
There will also be quite an overhaul of iCloud, to make it a more competitive as a usable space for file storage, and a reworking of Photos and Messages. We've looked at the highlights of the iOS 8 announcement which you can find in our iOS 8 hub.
And finally, in terms of the camera, iOS 8 will bring a time-lapse mode and an upgraded Camera app. Apple's WWDC 2014 keynote briefly mentioned that iOS 8 would bring manual camera controls, and according to tech website AnandTech, that means the camera app will gain every manual control you can imagine. You will be able to change settings like ISO, shutter speed, focus, white balance, and exposure. The days of auto-everything will soon be a thing of the past.
No device sees more speculation than the iPhone. Some of the rumours are started for the sake of attention and attracting traffic. Some are legitimate leaks from those in the supply chain. Somewhere between the two, deep in the mix, the real details lie.
Whether there will be one or two iPhone 6 handsets revealed is uncertain, but is 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, and 4.7 seems like a safe step.
An improved camera, processor and battery is guaranteed, 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 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 happen.