When will the next iPhone come out? Will it be called iPhone 6, new iPhone or something else (technically it'll be the 9th iPhone)? And can we expect a bigger iPhone 6 to launch in 2014? Read on for all the latest iPhone 6 release date rumours, plus clues about the new iPhone's specs and features, leaked images and artists' mockup illustrations. We'll update this article as new iPhone 6 rumours come in.
Updated 6 December with sapphire glass speculation.
The iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s may still be fresh in our minds, but Apple watchers are already looking ahead to the next iPhone, dubbed iPhone 6, new iPhone or iPhone 2014. When will the new iPhone 6 launch? How much will it cost in the UK? And what features and specifications can we expect? Will the iPhone 6 have a bigger screen? Here, we bring you the latest speculation to help answer those questions about the new iPhone 6.
Of course, we're talking about Apple here, so the iPhone 6 hasn't officially been announced yet and nothing is for certain. That hasn't stopped lots of juicy iPhone 6 rumours floating around, though. This article brings you all of the latest rumours about Apple's future iPhone 6, which we expect will arrive in 2014. Not everything here will be accurate, but we'll try to give you an idea of how plausible each rumour is.
Trying to decide which iPhone to buy? Check out our which iPhone should you buy comparison feature.
What features will the new iPhone 6 come with?
The iPhone 5s closely resembles the iPhone 5, with some internal changes rather than external differences between the two models, apart from the fingerprint sensor and the new gold version. The iPhone 6, however, is likely to come with some significantly redesigned features when it arrives next year.
Check out our 8 features Apple's new iPhone 5s doesn't have article to find out what rumoured features didn't arrive in iPhone 5s but could come to iPhone 6.
Of course, there's also the question of screen size, which seems to be hot topic right now. Read on for more.
iPhone 6 rumours: Sapphire display
Apple is believed to have spent $578 million to speed up the development of sapphire glass displays destined for the iPhone 6. Sapphire glass, currently used for the iPhone 5s's Touch ID Home button and the cover of the iPhone's rear-facing camera, is more than twice as durable than Corning's Gorilla Glass, and is "virtually scratch free" according to glass makers GT Advanced Technology.
Sapphire glass could also allow Apple to make a bigger iPhone, which is one of the hottest rumours out there right now. Read on to find out more speculation about the size of the iPhone.
iPhone 6 rumours: Size
If there is one iPhone 6 rumour we're hearing more than any other, it's that the iPhone 6 will be the largest iPhone yet. Several rumours regarding the iPhone 6 support the idea that it will have a bigger 4.8-inch to 5-inch display panel.
According to the rumours, Apple will probably stretch out the display panel as much as possible, leaving a super-thin bezel or even a borderless phone with edge-to-edge display. However, Apple will probably not go as far as creating a new phablet-sized iPhone, so it's unlikely to be bigger than 5 inches.
With the popularity of bigger smartphones with larger screen sizes such as the 5in Samsung's Galaxy S4, and the 6.3in Galaxy Mega, and the rise of so called phablet devices, which fall half way between the smartphone and tablet categories by providing the functionality of a phone in a device closer to the size of a tablet, there have been calls for Apple to launch a bigger iPhone.
While we're not completely convinced about the rumours of a bigger iPhone, some analysts have said that they are "confident" that Apple will launch an iPhone with a bigger screen in 2014. Reports have suggested that the screen could be between 4.7in and 5.7in, while one analyst actually believes there will be two new iPhones next year, one at each of those sizes.
In September, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has an impressive Apple launch prediction track record, said that Apple is likely to launch an iPhone with a 4.5in or 5in screen next year, noting that Apple is unlikely to go bigger than 5in because of its "unwavering principle of one-handed use."
Also in September, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White said that Apple would launch a "Mega iPhone" in 2014 to expand its reach in China and the rest of Asia, and reiterated his prediction in October following a meeting that left him "confident" that a 5in iPhone is coming.
Apple has certainly diversified its product ranges recently. There are now two different iPad models, the iPad mini and the iPad, and two new iPhones, iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, so it's possible that the company will decide to take this even further.
Apple has previously ruled out a bigger iPhone screen, but it's reasoning was resolution and display quality rather than belief that it would be too big.
Earlier this year Apple CEO Tim Cook said: "My view continues to be that the iPhone 5 has the absolute best display in the industry. We always strive to create the very best display for our customers."
"Our competitors have made some significant trade-offs in many of these areas in order to ship a larger display," he said. "We would not shop a larger-display iPhone while these trade-offs exist."
Others note that when Apple launched the iPhone 5 it explained that the size of the screen was perfect as it would allow you to reach all corners of the screen comfortably. However, a report in October claimed that Apple's bigger iPhone would have a display resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels at 440dpi for a 5in screen, and that the company would make the side bezels "as thin as possible" to make it the first device in the 'phablet' category that can be operated using one hand.
We'd expect that Apple will launch a bigger iPhone alongside an iPhone with the current 4in display, as not everyone will be happy to carry around an iPhone with 5in device.
Read more about the bigger iPhone rumours here.
Bigger iPhone: Will the new iPhone have a curved screen?
Adding to the rumours of a bigger iPhone comes reports that Apple is working on a curved display for the iPhone 6. In November, Bloomberg cited a source who claimed that Apple is preparing two new iPhones with 4.7in and 5.5in curved displays for a late 2014 launch.
iPhone 6 release date and rumours: Home button & Touch ID
There have been several rumours which claim that the Home button on the new iPhone 6 will be removed. This however seems highly improbable, considering Apple recently introduced the Touch ID fingerprint scanner feature to the Home button in the iPhone 5s. Removing it only a generation later would essentially translate to Apple admitting it was a failure.
Perhaps there's a greater possibility that the new iPhone 6 will expand the use of Touch ID to banking applications and other apps that require passcodes.
Additionally, the display could become one giant Touch ID sensor. Apple filed a patent back in January 2013 that outlined a method for including the fingerprint scanner into a display.
So, while it is highly improbable that the Home button will be removed, there is a possibility that the hardcode home button will be replaced with multi-gesture touch support at the bottom of the phone. Additionally, it is rumoured that the bottom left and right portions of the screen will also be “tappable”, and will be used, for example, to switch between tabs in Safari. It will also be beneficial for app developers who will be able to customise these buttons for their apps.
iPhone 6 release date and rumours: Gaming-ready iPhone 6?
Apple recently purchased PrimeSense, a firm specialising in the development of three-dimensional sensors for home appliances and mobile devices. This technology is similar to the gesture-detecting sensors of the Xbox’s Kinect controller.
This purchase could certainly hint at a move to include gesture control on the next generation of Apple devices.
iPhone 6 release date and rumours: Design
There are several rumours regarding an update in design for the new iPhone 6. Traditionally, the “s” versions of the iPhones have maintained the design of their predecessors while the new versions have a makeover. If Apple is planning on keeping up with tradition, then we should expect a thinner and slimmer iPhone design.
It's possible that the iPhone 6 will be made with Liquidmetal, as Apple has exclusive rights to the material. Plus, in November, five new Apple patents relating to Liquidmetal were published. Liquidmetal is extremely strong and durable, and therefore can be used in smaller quantities to get the same level of build quality as aluminium. This could mean an even lighter and thinner iPhone is on its way.
iPhone 6 release date and rumours: Sapphire screen
Several iPhone 6 predictions point to the fact that Apple might be planning to put sapphire panels on the new device. Sapphire panels are virtually scratch-proof and can be cut into very thin slices. Sapphire screens are already used on the Touch ID fingerprint scanner and on the camera. It has not been used before on the whole display because it is incredibly expensive. However, it is hoped that if more manufacturers begin using it, the cost will decrease with demand.
New iPhone 6 release date: When will the iPhone 6 come out?
The iPhone line-up gets refreshed roughly once a year. The iPhone 6 is therefore likely to launch in 2014, around a year later than the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C, which were unveiled on 10 September 2013 and hit the shelves on 20 September.
However, some analysts and Apple watchers have suggested that Apple may decide to launch a new iPhone earlier in the year, perhaps at the company's annual WWDC event in June. This is certainly a possibility - Apple released the first four generations of iPhone in June, before moving to an September/October launch schedule.
In November, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty said that she expects to see multiple iPhone refreshes every year from now on, which could mean an iPhone 6 early next year followed by an iPhone 6s later in 2014.
iPhone 6 predictions: How much will the iPhone 6 cost?
There's no solid evidence to suggest a price for the iPhone 6. However, we'd expect it to sell at a similar price point as the iPhone 5s, which starts at £549.
However, a somewhat suspicious report from InfoTales suggests that the iPhone 6's price tag could be $50 to $100 higher due to a larger screen. Susquehanna International Group analyst Chris Caso believes that Apple could "get away with" increasing the price of the iPhone because Samsung's Galaxy S series is now in the same price bracket.
iPhone 6 predictions: Isn't Apple too secretive for us to know anything?
Second-guessing Apple is traditionally a mug's game, but the legendarily secretive company has eased up under Tim Cook, and almost all the announcements at the 10 September press event had been correctly predicted beforehand. (Admittedly, plenty of predictions had been made that didn't come true, but pretty much everything that was announced came as no surprise to Apple rumour followers.)
Particularly accurate were the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s rumours, many of which were completely true, including new iPhone colours and new features of the iPhones. Even the fingerprint sensor was discussed in the lead up to the event.
As we discuss elsewhere, Apple isn't quite as secretive as it used to be. (Compare today's Apple, where the software and hardware design teams work hand in hand under Sir Jony Ive's supervision, to the crazy days leading up the first iPhone's launch, when half the team didn't even know what the interface would look like).
iPhone 6 rumours: NFC, wireless charging, iOS 8
Here are some more iPhone 6 rumours that have been circulating the web.
iPhone 6 will have NFC
A patent published by the US Patent & Trademark Office suggested that Near Field Communication (NFC) technology could arrive with a future iPhone. The patent describes an iWallet transaction system that could work with the technology.
The US Patent and Trademark published another new Apple NFC technology patent application in May, covering a range of features including a new focus on methods and systems for establishing an NFC session with an electronic device.
Apple watchers had been expecting NFC to arrive in the iPhone since as far back as the iPhone 4, though, so we're not sure whether Apple is convinced that the technology is worth persuing just yet.
iPhone 6 could have wireless charging capabilities
Apple could be planning to introduce wireless charging to its iPhone 6, following in the footsteps of Nokia, LG and HTC.
Samsung launched its Galaxy S4 in March, which is expected to be the iPhone 6's biggest rival. Samsung's new flagship smartphone has many new features such as eye-tracking, but some analysts question whether some of those features will be used, or whether they will overwhelm some customers.
iPhone 6 to run iOS 8
Apple's all-new iOS 7 was shown off at WWDC 2013 in June. It has been given a complete redesign and some new features, including an iRadio music streaming service, and it was rolled out on 18 September. Find out more about iOS 7 in our iOS 7 review. Master iOS 7 using our 40 iOS 7 tips.
It's likely that Apple will update iOS again ahead of the iPhone 6 launch, making it iOS 8. We'll update this story when we hear more about what new features iOS 8 might include, though we expect it to be similar aesthetically to iOS 7.
iPhone 6 to be iPhone Air
Apple's iPad Air has proven to be a success so far, which has led to speculation that Apple may decide to expand its 'Air' range further by adding an iPhone. Accessory makers Fuse Chicken created a mock-up of what an iPhone Air could look like, which you can see in our Wil Apple release an iPhone Air article.
More iPhone 6 rumours: not so convincing
Below are some further rumours about the iPhone 6 that have been floating around for a while but we're not convinced are true. Still, they're pretty interesting, and could be features that are in the pipeline for future iPhones, as several are based on Apple patents.
The iPhone 6 will have a Smart Home Button that is oblong-shaped and touch-capacitive
This one's been around since forever (well, early 2011 at least). One iPhone 6 rumour suggests that Jony Ive (or Sir Jonathan Ive as he's formally known) is ready to introduce a wider, rounded-oblong home button that will be touch-capacitive. The iPhone 6 Home Button will not just push to return to the Home Screen, but you'll be able to swipe your finger left and right over it (we presume to move left and right between Apps, like the four-finger Multi-Touch gesture that you find on the iPad).
This iPhone 6 rumour has some basis in fact, and we believe Apple has at least been experimenting with this idea (we have been reporting on it for a while).
Of course, Apple now has the Touch ID fingerprint sensor that can be found in the iPhone 5s, so it seems unlikely that even more technology will be built in to the Home button next time around.
Will the iPhone 6 use sonar for face detection and 3D modelling?
Analysis of recent Apple patent activity has got our minds whirring. It seems Apple plans to build audio detection into the screens of some of its future devices, which may include the iPhone 6, and has also patented a system for using sonar for proximity detection.
iPhone 6 rumour: Smart Bezel
Apple has taken out several patents on a Smart Bezel (the plastic front surrounding the screen). In other words the Bezel will be able to display information as well as the screen. We've reported on the iPhone 6 Smart Bezel a few times, and Patently Apple, the source of many an Apple rumour has this article on the latest Apple patent on a Smart Bezel.
In Apple's own words: "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."
What kind of level of information the Smart Bezel could display is up for debate. It certainly wouldn't be a 'screen extension', more like flashing buttons and symbols. This could guide users to tap parts of the screen, or indiciate new messages and suchlike.
iPhone 6 'could have flexible screen'
Apple's iPhone 6 may have a bendy, flexible display and body, if recent tech innovations and patent activity are any indicator.
Apple's patents indicate that the company is exploring legal safeguards for a flexible design, but it looks like Samsung has pipped it to the post, showing off its flexible smartphone displays during the 2013 CES in Las Vegas in January.
An Apple patent filing and job listing in April also hinted at a flexible future for the iPhone.
The flexible display could alternatively (or, perhaps, additionally) be destined for the widely speculated iWatch device that Apple is rumoured to be working on for launch next year. Find out more about the iWatch in our iWatch rumour round-up.
iPhone 6 could read your mind
In February, an Apple patent application was published, describing a system that would allow an iPhone to automatically switch modes by anticipating your needs. Read more here.
iPhone 6 leaked images and concept art
There are no leaked images of the iPhone 6, but there are lots of mockups that have been created by designers.
A new iPhone 6 concept unveiled in November 2013 comes from Iskander Utebayey, who imagines a new iPhone with a wraparound display that allows touch controls on each side of the iPhone. We can't imagine how this would would work in real life, as touchscreens on the side of the iPhone would make holding the device rather tricky. However, we do like the idea of a control panel there waiting on the edges for easy access to different iOS features.
Following the unveiling of iOS 7, ADR Studio came up with a new iPhone 6 concept based on the redesigned user interface, as shown below:
Designer Arthur Reis created these 3D renderings in March, showing an ultra-thin design with 'touch anywhere' Home button and 'iSight Pro' camera.
Toronto-based 3D designer Peter Zigich has published concept images based on the rumours that Apple could be preparing to launch three new iPhones this year. The image shows an iPhone mini, iPhone 6 and iPhablet with home buttons on the side to allow more room for the display or reduce the overall size of the device.
In early March, designer Martin Hajek created new 3D renders of a possible iPhone 6 and 4.8in iPhone with edge-to-edge screens and a trackpad-like Home button, as shown below.
This article will be updated as more iPhone 6 or information, rumours, and leaked pictures as they become available.