New iPhone 6 release date, price, specs and features: 9 September launch confirmed
iPhone 6 rumours at a glance
iPhone 6 Release date: September 2014
iPhone 6 Screen sizes: 4.7- to 5.5-inches (or both)
iPhone 6 Price: Same as existing: 16GB £549, 32GB £629, 64GB £709
iPhone 6 possible new features:
Up to 128GB internal storage or expandable storage
New iOS 8 operating system
Heart rate EarPods
Will work with Apple's rumoured iWatch
Sapphire glass and LiquidMetal design
iPhone 6 rumours: Screen size
One of the most talked about elements of the iPhone 6 is its screen. Pretty much every rumour report, expert and source out there suggests that the iPhone 6 will be bigger than the iPhone 5s, and there are a surprisingly large number of reports that say we'll get two new iPhones this year, with one of those iPhones falling into the 'Phablet' category.
Among those set on the idea that Apple is working on a bigger iPhone is KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a very impressive track record when it comes to predicting Apple launches. He expects two new iPhones to arrive this autumn, one with a 4.7in display and the other with a 5.5in display.
That same rumour has been reiterated by numerous others who agree that we should expect a 4.7in and 5.5in iPhone, including UBS analyst Steve Milunovich, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster and several other analysts, as well as Reuters and The Wall Street Journal, so we're beginning to believe it might be true.
The latest rumours from the supply chain say that Foxconn, Apple's main manufacturing partner, will be building the majority of Apple's 4.7in and 5.5in iPhones, while Wistron will be responsible for building Apple's 4in iPhone, which could simply be a continuation of the iPhone 5s.
Plus, images reportedly confirming a bigger iPhone (above) emerged in May, showing what is claimed to be the official schematics for the iPhone 6 that have been leaked from Apple supplier Foxconn. The dimensions of the iPhone 6 shown are 138 by 67 mm, compared with the 123.8 by 58.6mm of the iPhone 5s.
The allegedly leaked schematics match up closely with many 3D dummy models of the iPhone 6 that have appeared in recent months, so they could well be the real thing.
Interestingly, there's very little talk of an 'iPhone 6c' so it's possible that Apple will leave out the 'c' line of its iPhones this year, or perhaps drop the colourful, cheaper model from the iPhone line-up completely.
In addition to the bigger screen, we expect that the iPhone 6 will have a bit of a new design. The latest rumours and leaked images suggest that the iPhone 6 will have little or no bezels, and many suggest that the iPhone 6 will have a thinner, lighter chassis.
Our industry contact which we mentioned at the top of the article confirmed that the iPhone 6 will have an 'edge-to-edge' display and a design which looks like the iPad mini. It sounds pretty similar to the above render and means the end of the flat sides which have been around since the iPhone 4.
The thinner, lighter chassis could be made possible with the use of Liquidmetal, a material that Apple has exclusive rights to. It's extremely strong and durable, and therefore can be used in smaller quantities to get the same level of build quality as aluminium. Apple has recently extended its exclusive license to use Liquidmetal in its products, adding further evidence to this rumour.
It's also thought that Apple is planning to use Sapphire glass in the iPhone 6, which is a "virtually scratch free" and "nearly indestructible."
This rumour is backed up by Apple CEO Tim Cook's confirmation that the company has built a new factory in Arizona that is being used to manufacture the sapphire glass. Currently, the material is only used in the iPhone 5s's Touch ID Home button and the cover of the iPhone's rear-facing camera, so we're pretty certain that Apple has bigger plans for the glass if it needs an entire factory to make it.
According to Digitaltrends.com, Apple has spent $578 million on a deal with GT Advanced technology, the sapphire glass maker, to speed up the development of sapphire glass displays destined for the iPhone 6.
A patent issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office in May covers the use of a Sapphire glass display and Liquidmetal bezel in a future iPhone, so a combination of those to materials it's certainly something that Apple is considering.
Apple design guru Jony Ive has also confirmed that the company is working with new materials for future devices, so LiquidMetal and sapphire seem likely.
As if we needed any more evidence of a sapphire crystal screen, YouTuber Marques Brownlee, has seemingly got his hands on a 4.7in iPhone 6 front facia 'straight from the production line'. Check it out in the video below.
Other design rumours include rounded edges more reminiscent of the latest iPod touch, as well as a relocated power button on the side of the device.
An unlikely feature for the iPhone 6 but interesting nonetheless and certainly a possibility for future iPhones is a wraparound display.
This rumour comes from an actual Apple patent, so hasn't been pulled out of thin air. Apple was granted a patent in May for "Electronic devices with sidewall displays," which basically suggestst that future iPhones could have a display that extends onto the sides of the device, providing interactive or touch sensitive portions that give access to slide to unlock funtionality, music player controls, messaging readout, caller ID, system controls and more.
Most recently, an photograph hit the web of an alleged iPhone 6 chassis, and that photo seems to reveal that the iPhone 6 will have an illuminated Apple logo on the back like the one found on the back of Apple's MacBooks.
A second photo of what appears to be the back panel of the iPhone 6 emerged on 8 June on Nowherelse.fr, and again shows a cut out where the Apple logo should be, suggesting that the new iPhone could have an illuminated Apple logo.
The below photos from Uswitch adds further weight to the rumour that the iPhone 6 will have a light up logo. It is thought that the logo may indicate notifications such as a new email or text message.
Samsung seems to have picked up on the rumours of a bigger iPhone, launching a new Apple-bashing advert that points out that Samsung's Galaxy S5 already sports a bigger screen. Watch the advert below (you'll spot our sister website Macworld UK on the iPhone if you look closely.)
You can see more leaked iPhone 6 images below.
iPhone 6 rumours: Price
We won't know the price of the iPhone 6 until Apple announces it, but it's thought that the firm will keep the same pricing system as the iPhone 5s for the next generation of iPhone. That means the iPhone 6 price will start at £549.
iPhone 6 rumours: iOS 8
One thing which isn't so hard to work out is that the iPhone 6 will almost certainly come pre-installed with iOS 8, Apple's latest mobile operating system which was unveiled at WWDC in June. You can find out more about what to expect from iOS 8 here.
iPhone 6 rumours: Automatic unlocking
Despite not being a confirmed feature of iOS 8, the iPhone 6 is rumoured to come with an automatic unlocking feature similar to the one just announced for Google's Android L. No more need for Touch ID or a passcode – unless you're in a less secure environment.
Apple's patent for the feature, called 'location –sensitive security', says: "The security level and/or other device behaviour, configurations, or settings on a mobile device can be modified based on the location of the mobile device."
"In one example, a passcode is not required when the mobile device detects a current location corresponding to the user's home. In another example, a simple passcode is used when the mobile device detects a location corresponding to the user's office desk, but a longer or more complex alphanumeric passcode is used at other locations within the office, such as the cafeteria or conference rooms." it adds.
iPhone 6 rumours: Camera
It's highly likely that the iPhone 6 will have a better camera than the iPhone 5s. The iPhone 5s has an 8-megapixel camera with an f/2.2 aperture, but rumour has it Apple is planning on boosting that to a 10-megapizel camera with an f/.8 aperture and an improve filter, according to Chinese website IT168.
Rather than adding loads of new pixels to the camera like some of its rivals, Apple is apparently going to focus its camera improvements in other areas such as image stabilisation and image enhancements.
iPhone 6 rumours: NFC?
Until recently the idea of having an iPhone with NFC technology was desirable, but ultimately wishful thinking. Well, it looks as if the tide may have changed with sources now suggesting that the iPhone 6 could feature some sort of NFC chip.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also thinks NFC is on the way with the iPhone 6, and in May, a new notefrom Morgan Stanley analysts suggests that NFC will work with the Touch ID sensor in the iPhone 6, and that Apple will be the force that drives NFC's widespread commercial adoption for mobile payments.
"NXP is well positioned to participate in Apple's mobile payments ecosystem," said Hettenbach, explaining that NXP is expected to provide the NFC technology for Apple. "The company signed a licensing agreement with a customer in Q4'13, who we believe is Apple, related to its emerging ID business."
Reports that emerged at the end of July 2014 suggested that Apple is working with partners including Visa to launch a mobile payments system with the iPhone 6. Photos claiming to picture the iPhone 6's logic board surfaced alongside these reports, suggesting that the iPhone 6 will have support for 802.11ac WiFi and NFC to make the mobile payments system possible.
iPhone 6 to have 128GB storage?
Until now Apple has set the top limit of its smartphone storage at 64GB, which is pretty good internal storage for a smartphone. However, if you are using your iPhone as your main camera and primary source for music consumption, then this will soon fill up – if Apple choses not to equip the iPhone with expandable storage then 128GB would be a welcomed addition to its lineup.
The company has already expanded the storage of the iPad to offer a 128GB option, so it's certainly possible that Apple will choose to do the same with the iPhone this year.
According to Chinese Apple blog Feng.com, Apple will be releasing a 128GB 5.5in iPhone 6, but the rumoured 4.7in option will not have the larger capacity.
The Tencent site which offered the 19 September launch date said that Apple will launch the 4.7in iPhone 6 in 32- and 64GB variants.
iPhone 6 rumours: Heart rate & Lightning EarPods
Instead of sticking a heart rate monitor on the back of the phone like the Samsung Galaxy S5, Apple is rumoured to be integrating the technology into its EarPod headphone. According tosecret.ly, they will also measure blood pressure and iBeacons to avoid losing them.
"Apple's new EarPods will have sensors in them, for heart rate & blood pressure. Also iBeacons so they don't get lost. They will require the lightning port, it's why the audio jack was moved to the bottom," says the site.
The iPhone 6 could be thinner than the iPhone 5s thanks to the lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack, too, according to speculation that sparked from Apple's announcement of a Lightning-enabled headphone standard.
During WWDC 2014, Apple revealed a new program that allows third-party manufacturers to make headphones that connect to iOS devices via the Lightning port. This could potentially lead to the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack, which is the thickest component in the iPhone 5S.
iPhone 6 rumours: Expandable storage
This is a contentious issue, because Apple have both a very successful pricing structure based on storage options and also an ever developing iCloud. But expandable storage is still the most popular way and unrestricting way that the majority of people would chose to expand the storage capabilities of their smartphones. An iSD card and slot would be a great way for Apple to tackle this current flaw of the iPhone. It almost definitely won't happen though.
iPhone 6 rumours: Wireless Charging
This is almost too Apple, it's almost shocking it hasn't been included yet. Apple's big rival, Samsung, already has the feature and other smartphones are sure to catch up soon also. Will Apple introduce wireless charging with the iPhone 6? Maybe, but there's no real evidence to back this up yet.
iPhone 6 rumours: Flexible screen
A flexible screen, that's crazy talk! Apparently not. Those chaps over at Samsung are already making noises suggesting that there will be a smartphone with a flexible smartphone coming out in 2014. If it's a hit, then it won't be long till Apple joins the party. God knows enough people have smashed their existing iPhone screens.
iPhone 6 rumours: Leaked images
One thing we're certainly not short of is iPhone 6 leaked images. In addition to lots of concept images that have been created by talented designers, some of which you'll have already seen in this article, there have also been photographs of alleged iPhone 6 parts that have come straight from sources on Apple's supply chain.
Many of the leaked parts match up, which makes it likely that they closely represent what the iPhone 6 will look like when it arrives. Below, you'll find an iPhone 6 hands-on video using an iPhone 6 mock-up based on dummy models of the device that allegedly emerged from Apple's supply chain. While the maker of this video is not trying to pretend that this iPhone is the real thing, we think it is a very convincing mockup and could well look very similar to the iPhone 6 that Apple releases this year.
This photo (below) comparing the Samsung Galaxy S5 to the iPhone 6 uses what's been described as an 'iPhone 6 final mockup' to show how the two rival smartphones might look beside eachother. It comes from Italian Apple blog Maccitynet.it, and shows that Apple's iPhone 6 may be much closer in size to Samsung's flagship.
Other iPhone 6 dummy models that have emerged are also pretty convincing, including the three shown belowfrom 9To5Mac.
Another one from 9To5Mac is a brilliant video showing what iOS might look like on a 4.7in iPhone 6. It's actually a Motorola Moto X, which has a 4.7in display, modified to look like the iPhone dummy models we've seen floating around the web.
Taiwanese singer, actor and race car driver Jimmy Lin has posted a picture of himself with what he claims is an iPhone 6 on Weibo, and a second picture (below) showing an iPhone 5S beside this alleged iPhone 6.
Last year, Lin posted a similar photograph showing an iPhone 5C, which ended up being pretty accurate, so this could be the real deal. It could just as easily be fake, though, as it wouldn't be particularly difficult to mock up an iPhone 6 based on the leaked dummy models we've seen floating around the web.
We are particularly intrigued by this photograph of two iPhone 6 mockups, which comes from notorious Apple leaks provider Sonny Dickson on Twitter.
The devices pictured are not the actual iPhone 6, but dummy models that may have been created by case-makers preparing for the launch of the new iPhone. Nonetheless, they could provide a first-look and comparison of the size and shape of two iPhone 6 models expected (4.7in and 5.5in models).
For even more iPhone 6 pictures, check out this slideshow on our sister site Macworld UK to see more iPhone 6 leaked images.
We also rather like this comparison between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 5S, which uses an interactive 3D render to show what the iPhone 6 might look like.