iPhone 6 rumours
iPhone 6 rumours: design, display, size
While rumours about the iPhone 6 release date are quite inconclusive, there are many rumours about the iPhone 6's features and specifications that seem to line up. These include rumours about a new design, a bigger display and the use of new, more durable materials.
There are lots of rumours to suggest that Apple is working on a 5.5in iPhone that could be called the iPhone Air, in addition to the 4.7in iPhone 6. We've got lots more on this below, or in our dedicated iPhone Air release date article here.
If you're looking for other information about the iPhone 6, follow the links below. Otherwise, read on for rumours about the iPhone 6 display, design and size.
iPhone 6 release date
iPhone 6 display rumours
iPhone 6 design rumours
iPhone 6 size rumours
iPhone 6 tech specs & new features
iPhone 6 price
iPhone 6 leaked images & concept mockups
iPhone 6 rumours that aren't so convincing
iPhone 6 design
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 this year, and probably a bigger screen.
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 (as the iPhone 6 is likely to be) have a makeover. If Apple is planning on keeping up with tradition, then we should expect a thinner and lighter iPhone design.
KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects Apple to move the iPhone's sleep/wake button from the top to the side in an effort to make the bigger phones easier to use.
Macotakara has also shared some specifications relating to the size and thickness of the bigger iPhone. It claims it'll be 7mm thick (0.5mm thinner than the iPad Air). The majority of iPhone 6 mockups that have been flooding in throughout April and May suggest that the iPhone 6 will be 138mm in length, 67mm in width and 7mm in depth. That's compared with the iPhone 5S's dimensions of 128mm by 58.6mm by 7.6mm.
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 a slimmer iPhone. Accessory makers Fuse Chicken created a mock-up of what an iPhone Air could look like, as did Set Solutions, which you can see in our Will Apple release an iPhone Air article.
The iPhone 6 could have an illuminated Apple logo on the back, according to a new photograph from MacFixit of an allegedly leaked iPhone 6 back panel with a cut out Apple logo.
We must say, it looks rather convincing to us, and an illuminated Apple logo like the one found on Apple's MacBooks would be a nice touch for the iPhone 6.
Apple could be planning to make the iPhone 6 significantly thinner than the iPhone 5S by removing the 3.5mm headphone jack, which is the thickest component of the device. This might sound like a crazy idea, but Apple has actually announced a new program designed to allow third-parties to make Lightning connected headphones, so there would be no need for a 3.5mm headphone jack.
See more iPhone 6 leaked pictures on page 4.
iPhone 6 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. In fact, we're increasingly hearing whispers that Apple is working on two new iPhones, both bigger than their predecessors, one with a 4.7in display and one with a 5.5in display.
The Apple versus Samsung case has dished up a titbit that suggests that Apple knows that it needs to make a bigger iPhone.
A slideshow produced a few years ago, and shown in the court proceedings, features a slide from April 2013 named: "Consumers want what we don't have." The slide blames the decline in iPhone sales on three factors: carriers have to foot the bill for high subsidy payments; competition from low-cost Android phones; and a desire among consumers for a "less expensive and larger screen smartphone". Recode has the whole presentation here.
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.
Funnily enough, recently uncovered documents that emerged during the Apple vs Samsung patent trial reveal that Samsung thought that the iPhone 3GS design was "quite monstrously large."
While we're not completely convinced about the rumours of a phablet, some analysts have said that they are "confident" that Apple will launch an iPhone with a bigger screen in 2014 and we're beginning to believe them.
Two new iPhone 6 models: 4.7in & 5.5in iPhones
The latest analyst to join the masses predicting two sizes of iPhones is KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who expects Apple to launch two new iPhone 6 models this autumn – a 4.7in and a 5.5in version. Kuo notes that the 5.5in version will cannibalize the iPad mini. Kuo thinks the 4.7in iPhone 6 will ship in September, with the 5.5in version coming later in the year.
Like Kuo, UBS analyst Steve Milunovich has also suggested that Apple is working on two sizes of iPhone, but that the 4.7in model will ship in August or September while the bigger, 5.5in iPhone will come later, maybe even early next year.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has also suggested that the iPad mini may suffer when the iPhone 6 arrives, as the bigger iPhone will be closer to the size of Apple's 7in tablet. He too believes that the iPhone 6 may cannibalise iPad mini sales.
Meanwhile, Japanese publication Nikkei also suggests that 4.7in and 5.5in iPhones are being made behind the scenes at Apple. The report cites sources within Apple's supply chain who claim manufacturers including Sharp, Japan Display and LG are about to begin mass-producing the screens for both smartphones. Components such as fingerprint sensors and chips for liquid-crystal drivers have already entered mass-production, the report claims.
At the beginning of April, Reuters published a report that claimed a 4.7in iPhone 6 could arrive this autumn after entering production in May, while the widely rumoured 5.5in model would be delayed due to production issues involving in-cell technology.
Bloomberg is the latest of the big publications to suggest that two bigger iPhones are coming this year, citing "people familiar with the plans" in its report. The report reiterates the rumours of 4.7in and 5.5in versions of the iPhone 6, which are expected to begin shipping in September.
Bloomberg's June report actually suggests that the iPhone 6 will have a display that uses curved glass to slightly rap around the edge of the device for an edge-to-edge bezel-less screen.
DisplaySearch analyst David Hsieh has published a report in which he predicts Apple is testing displays for future iPhones that are 4.7in and 5.5in diagonally. The 4.7in iPhone would have a pixel density of 386ppi, while the 5.5in display is expected to have a pixel density of 401ppi. Apple's iPhone 5s has a 326 ppi display.
Chinese analyst Sun Chyang Xu says Apple began trial production of a 4.7in iPhone in February, ahead of full-scale production in May and a possible launch at WWDC in June. Chyang Xu suggests the 4.7in iPhone will have a 1136 x 640 pixel resolution, as Apple plans to save higher-resolution displays for an even bigger iPhone or a phablet in the future.
The Wall Street Journal published a report in January that also claimed that Apple will launch two bigger iPhone models this year, with one of those models sporting a screen size larger than 5 inches.
The report also claims that the iPhone 5c will be ditched when the new iPhones are launched, which would make the plastic-backed iPhone's life in Apple's product line just one year long. According to the report, both new models of bigger iPhone will instead share a design more closely associated with the iPhone 5s. Both of the bigger iPhones will arrive in the second half of 2014, according to the report, with the smaller, 4.5in model already being prepared for mass production while the 5in model remains in "preliminary development."
Previously accurate research firm KDB Daewoo Securities has also claimed that Apple is working on two new iPhones, both of which will be significantly bigger than the current 4in iPhone. According to the firm, the iPhone 6 will have a screen size of 4.7 or 4.8 inches, while the even bigger iPhone will sport a 5.5in display, bringing it into the phablet market.
In addition to the size of the screen, KDB Daewoo Securities also provided what it claims are the resolution specifications for both of the rumoured iPhone models. It claims the iPhone 6 will have a 1,920 by 1,080 pixel display while the phablet will have a 2,272 by 1,280 pixel display.
Oddly, the report suggests that, rather than launching with iOS 8 installed, the devices will run iOS 7.2 at launch. Does this mean we'll see an iPhone launch earlier than the usual September time-frame?
Accessory makers are currently working on products that will fit a 5.5in iPhone, according to Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White.
That's a lot of reports from various sources that all say the same thing: two bigger iPhones are coming.
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.
Earlier this year, speculation suggested that the 5.5in 'phablet' requires a super-thin battery that is causing some headaches for Apple, according to Commercial Times. This had led to further rumours that it's this bigger iPhone that'll be called the 'iPhone Air' as it could be an exceptionally thin device. Some say that Apple may even be forced to delay the 'iPhone Air' until 2015.
On 13 July, a new note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo revealed that it's possible that the 5.5in model of iPhone 6 will be delayed until 2015, rather than launching alongside the 4.7in iPhone 6 in September.
Kuo suggests that Apple is already facing production issues with the 4.7in iPhone relating to the touch panel and the colour of the metal casing, but that those problems are far worse with the bigger model.
Kuo expects that these production issues could push the launch of the 5.5in iPhone, which has been dubbed iPhone Air by many, back to 2015 or late 2014.
However, conflicting rumours that emerged in June suggested that the manufaturing issues had been solved, though those problems related to the iPhone's battery rather than the issues menioned in Kuo's note.
Another report, this time from Bloomberg, suggested that Apple is ramping up production of the two bigger-screen iPhones, according to anonymous sources. "One model will have a 4.7-inch screen that may be available to ship to retailers around September, said two of the people. A larger 5.5-inch version is also being prepared for manufacturing and may be available at the same time," reads Bloomberg's report.
Read more about the bigger iPhone here.
iPhone 6 display rumours: resolution
Of course, the issue with launching a bigger iPhone is that Apple is likely to be introducing a new resolution. According to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from KGI Securities, the 4.7in iPhone 6 will have a 1334 by 750 Retina display with a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch.
The good news is that, while the iPhone 6 would have more pixels overall than the iPhone 5s, both models would share the same pixel density. This would mean that icons and other graphical elements could remain the same size, but would leave more space on the screen. Therefore, an extra row of icons could be added, for example, as mocked up here by Mac Rumors.
Unfortunately for app developers, though, apps would need to be optimised for the bigger display, or they'd display in the letterbox style we first saw when Apple launched the iPhone 5 with a bigger display than the iPhone 4s.
However, 9To5Mac's Mark Gurman, who seems to have some really helpful sources inside Apple or Apple's supply chain, says that Apple is preparing an iPhone 6 with a resolution of 1704 by 960 pixels. This would retain the same 16:9 aspect ratio as the iPhones with 4in displays, but would pack more pixels into the 4.7in display rumoured for the iPhone 6.
This would mean a pixel density of 416ppi, which is much higher than the iPhone 5s's 326PPI. Even using that resolution on a 5.5in display would result in a 355.6ppi display density.
iPhone 6 display rumours: Quantum dots
Reports are suggesting that the display on the new iPhone 6 is going to be amazing thanks to a technology called quantum dots.
Quantum dots (QD) are nanocrystals made out of semiconductors, explains Business Insider. When you are working with objects that are this small (measured in billionths of a meter) you get quantum effects, apparently. In the case of these quantum dots this weird effect can be tuned to "emit very specific frequencies of light" according to the report, resulting in more accurate colours.
This isn't the first time quantum dots have been noted in relation to Apple. An Apple patent filing filed in 2012 described how it would use quantum dots in displays. Other Apple patents relating to this technology suggest that it would allow for a wider gamut of more accurate colours.
Apple won't be the first to use quantum dots. Kindle uses them in its Kindle Fire HDX tablet, but that tablet has a fairly narrow colour gamut and light-bleed issues, according to Business Insider. Issues that Apple is likely addressing in its research and development.
Jason Hartlove, the CEO of Nanosys, a company that has more than 300 patents on QD displays, told Forbes that the first QD smartphone will launch by mid-year. Samsung is one of Nanosys's major investors. QD The technology can be used in any devices, from smartphones to big-screen 85-inch TVs, according to Forbes report.
iPhone 6 display rumours: Sapphire glass
Towards the end of February 2014, founder of Canonical Mark Shuttleworth complained that Apple has bought all the sapphire displays. "Apple just snapped up three year's worth of the supply of sapphire screens we wanted for Edge," he told Gigaom.
Apple is rumoured to have spent $578 million on a deal with GT Advanced technology 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 the makers of the glass.
9To5Mac has reported that analyst Matt Margolis claims GT Advanced Technologies has 518 furnaces that could be used to make enough sapphire for 103 to 116 million 5in iPhone displays. With an additional 420 machines reportedly waiting unassembled, production could eventually be even higher, at 200 million units per year.
Sapphire could mean a limited supply of the rumoured 5.5in iPhone, though. According to a post on Weibo, sapphire is still a high-cost material that could cause the 5.5in iPhone to be expensive, and could also mean that the price of the Apple 'phablet' will be rather expensive.
In January, in an interview with ABC News, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed that the new plant in Arizona is indeed for sapphire glass, but, unsurprisingly, wouldn't confirm that the material will be used for a bigger iPhone.
Plus, Job listings spotted in mid-January revealed that Apple is looking to employ engineers to work in its new Arizona factory. The iPod and iPhone Manufacturing Design Engineers that Apple is looking for will "provide end-to-end manufacturing and process solutions for key design features" for iPod and iPhone.
It's thought that Apple began production at its Arizona factory in April. Currently believed to be on a small scale, it's rumoured that the factory is gearing up for mass production later in the year, presumably ahead of the iPhone 6. The small numbers of Sapphire components currently shipping from the factory could be part of an iPhone 6 production trial.
The iPhone 6's sapphire display could be edge-to-edge, many rumours suggest. Korea Herald claims that Apple is considering removing the bezel from the iPhone 6 to allow the display to cover the whole surface of the iPhone. Alternatively, the iPhone 6 could simply have a thinner bezel to accomodate a larger screen without making the iPhone too much bigger. KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects to see a 10 to 20 percent narrower bezel, and be 6.5–7.0mm thick. Read on to fine out more speculation about the size of the iPhone 6.
There have been a few reports suggesting that only the larger iPhone will use Sapphire glass. The smaller model will continue to use Gorilla Glass, apparently. Kuo also believes that only the 64GB 5.5in iPhone 6 will use a sapphire display.
For more on Sapphire Glass and how it compares to Gorilla Glass, visit our Sapphire vs Gorilla Glass comparison.
In July, a video emerged showing what is claimed to be a Sapphire display destined for the iPhone 6 undergoing some serious durability tests. YouTuber Marques Brownlee's video shows the thin glass panel being stabbed with a knife and keys, but showing no signs of scratching.
He also put the Sapphire display through bend tests, which also showed that the panel is particularly strong.
The panel allegedly comes from previously accurate blogger Sonny Dickson, so it could well be the real deal.
This video sparked a revelation from Professor Neil Alford from the department of materials at Imperial College, London. He was asked by The Guardian to confirm whether the glass shown in the video is likely to be Sapphire. He claims that Apple spoke with him in 2012 about the durability of Sapphire glass, and suggests that it could well be true that the part shown in the video is legitimate.
Following the appearance of the video, though, Brownlee published a second video suggesting that actually, it's not sapphire after all. He was able to scratch the panel with sandpaper, but wasn't able to scratch the Touch ID – which we know for sure is made with sapphire - with the sandpaper.
Will Apple really launch a bigger iPhone?
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."
But, in an email in December, Cook wrote that Apple has "big plans" for 2014 that customers will love. Was that a sneaky clue to a bigger iPhone?
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 side bezels that are "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.
A new survey from Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty found that Apple could sell 30 per cent more iPhones in the US if it introduces an iPhone with a screen bigger than 5in.
iPhone 6 rumours: Liquidmetal
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.
What's more, Apple has been issued a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office that covers the use of a sapphire glass display and LiquidMetal bezel in a future iPhone, so the rumours about those two materials being used for the display and chassis of the iPhone 6 are looking very likely.
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.
In January 2014, a report emerged that suggested the iPhone 6 could be the thinnest smartphone ever made thanks to Liquidmetal. The iPhone 6 could be just 6mm thick according to the report, compared with the iPhone 5s's 7.6mm. The news comes from a Koran newspaper that suggests that Liquidmetal could be the key to making the iPhone even thinner without compromising durability.
A batch of 17 patent applications filed by Apple or Apple employees were published in early January 2014, all of which relate to Liquidmetal. Among those patents is one that suggests that Apple could use the Liquidmetal beneath switches and pressure sensors in the iPhone 6 for greater durability (which should prevent incidences like the common iPhone 4S lock button failure).
Apple has recently extended its exclusive license to use Liquidmetal in its products, which adds further evidence to support the idea that Apple may be intending to use it in the iPhone 6.
You can see a 3D, interactive comparison between the iPhone 5S and what could potentially be the design of the iPhone 6 over at versus.com.
Will this super-thin iPhone be renamed the iPhone Air? With the launch of the iPad Air (the fifth-generation iPad), it's been rumoured that an iPhone Air is on its way, and that perhaps the iPhone 6 will actually be called the iPhone Air as Apple works to drop numbers from its product names.
Find your way to the information you're after by following these links:
iPhone 6 release date
iPhone 6 display rumours
iPhone 6 design rumours
iPhone 6 size rumours
iPhone 6 tech specs & new features
iPhone 6 price
iPhone 6 leaked images & concept mockups
iPhone 6 rumours that aren't so convincing