iPhone 6 rumours: design, display, size
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.
A source has told us that the new iPhone 6 will look like an iPad mini with an edge to edge screen. Read more about what the new iPhone 6 looks like here. We also have lots of leaked videos and iPhone 6 leaked images here.
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.
Read on for rumours about the iPhone 6 display, design and size.
iPhone 6 release date
iPhone 6 price UK
iPhone 6 display rumours
iPhone 6 design rumours
iPhone 6 size rumours
iPhone 6 tech specs & new features
iPhone 6 leaked images & concept mockups
iPhone 6 rumours that aren't so convincing
iPhone 6 design and dimensions
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, 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 over the year 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.
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, see image below.
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. Read more about Apple's plans to add lightning to its headphones.
See more iPhone 6 leaked pictures on page 4.
iPhone 6 colour
It looks like the new iPhone 6 will share a colour pallet with the iPhone 5s, with the Space Grey version being slightly brighter. French site, NowhereElse has a collection of images that are said to show three SIM trays for the iPhone 6 that are in the same colours as the iPhone 5s, suggesting that the new phone (or phones) will come in similar finishes to the current flagship iPhone.
According to the site, the Space Grey finish looks slightly lighter than the current Space Grey finish found on the iPhone 5s.
iPhone 6 size: two iPhones, 4.7in and 5.5in
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. You can read our preview of the iPhone with the even bigger screen here.
Analyst Ming Chi Kuo has released a new research note (obtained by Apple Insider) just days before Apple's event in which he tells investors that he believes Apple will unveil two new iPhones on Tuesday 9 September.
In an earlier note, Kuo suggested 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 2014.
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 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.
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 another 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 suggested 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.
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.
That 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.
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.
5.5in iPhone may be delayed
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 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. However, he is now suggesting that the bigger phablet-style iPhone will launch on 9 September, but Kuo doesn’t think that the bigger, 5.5in iPhone will ship in significant quantities until later in the year..
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.
Evidence that Apple will launch a bigger iPhone
While we weren't initially convinced about the rumours of a phablet, so many reports, analysts and industry experts been saying how "confident" that Apple will launch an iPhone with a bigger screen in 2014 and we're beginning to believe them.
Takorn Tantasith, Secretary General of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission in Thailand has reportedly announced that the agency has approved Apple's application to sell two iPhone 6 models in the country, according to Manager Online, adding further evidence to the idea that the iPhone 6 will be accompanied by an iPhone Air.
The Apple versus Samsung case also 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. Read about the new smartphones and phablets released at IFA here.
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."
Should Apple release a phablet it could be onto a winner: IDC data suggests that Apple might be joining the phablet market at just the right time.
According to the figures, over the next four years the phablets market is set to take off, seeing more growth than the smartphone market. IDC claims that by the end of this year worldwide phablet sales will bypass sales of portable PCs. These 5.5in devises will become more popular than 7in tablets.
This year IDC estimates that 1,077.4 million smartphones will ship, compared to 174.9 million phablets. With these figures smartphones will have 60.2% of the market [which includes tablets (13%), portable PCs (9.5%) and desktop PCs (7.5%)], while phablets will have 9.8% marketshare.
However, by 2018 IDC estamiates the marketshare will be: smartphones, 51.2% and phablets, 24.4%. By then tablets will be 12.5%, portable PCs 7% and desktops 5%.
When Apple enters the phablet space there is some expectation that it will bring more attention to the category increasing phablet sales in general.
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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: power button moved to the side
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims that the power button will move from the top of the iPhone to the side, he says that this will make it easier to reach if you are using a bigger 4.7in or 5.5in iPhone.
You can also expect this power button to be programmable, according to Kuo. He means that the power button could be set to react differently depending on the application you are in.
iPhone 6 screen resolution
Of course, launching a bigger iPhone woudl suggest that Apple is likely to be offering a higher resolution. Indeed, code inside the iOS 8 beta may suggest that the next iPhone could have a super high resolution display. It is possible to load up images at triple resolution, rather than double retina resolution as is the case on iOS 7. Alternatively, it confirms that the screen on the new iPhone will be bigger. The current 4in iPhones offer 568 x 320 pixels. The 3x finding suggests we could be looking at 1136 x 640 in the future.
According to 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.
KDB Daewoo Securities 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.
On 19 August, new speculation about the resolution of the iPhone 6's display surfaced on the web.
Russian iPhone reseller Feld & Volk published a photo of what it claimed to be a close-up of Apple's 4.7in iPhone 6 display to help determine the resolution of the device.
What's odd, though, is that Feld & Volk claims that the photo proves that the iPhone 6 will have a 1,704 x 906 resolution, while closer inspection of the photograph actually appears to show a resolution closer to 1472 x 828 pixels, with 13 pixels per millimetre compared with the iPhone 5s's 10.5 pixels per millimetre.
9To5Mac claims to have spotted mention of an iPhone resolution matching the one shown in the photograph within the Xcode 6 SDK's instructions for iOS 8's Springboard (Home screen).
While the iPhone 6 could have more pixels overall than the iPhone 5s due to its larger size, both models could share the same pixel density, according to some reports. 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.
Maybe this is a technology we will see in the iPhone 7 though...
iPhone 6 display rumours: Sapphire glass
Apple is widely though to be using Saphire Glass instead of Gorilla Glass in the new iPhone.
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.
According to a Guardian report earlier this year, production of the iPhone 6's sapphire screen had begun at Apple's Arizona factory, as part of a deal with manufacturer GT Advanced Technologies. Chief executives of GT Advanced Technologies said earlier in August that: "The build-out of our Arizona facility, which has involved taking a 1.4 million square foot facility from a shell to a functional structure and the installation of over 1 million square feet of sapphire growth and fabrication equipment, is nearly complete and we are commencing the transition to volume production."
9To5Mac 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.
Towards the end of February 2014, founder of Canonical Mark Shuttleworth had already 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.
Sapphire could be limited and not appear on all the new iPhones - perhaps only featuring on the bigger iPhone 5.5in model. This could mean there is a limited supply of the rumoured 5.5in iPhone, though. On 14 August, The Wall Street Journal published a report that claimed sapphire displays will be available for the iPhone 6, but that they'll only be found on more expensive models of the device.
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.
However, it looks like the excitement about sapphire might be misguided. Analyst Ming Chi Kuo is claiming that the iPhone 6 will NOT use Sapphire Glass. He says that the rumours that Apple is using Sapphire Glass that started because Apple signed a deal with GT Advanced Technology to supply Sapphire Glass were wrong because he claims that the material is used for the Touch ID sensor, not for the screen of the phone. He says this fingerprint sensor is set to feature on more Apple devices, including the new iPad Air, which Kuo is suggesting will also launch at the event on 9 September. (You can find out more about the Apple event here).
There have also been reports that cast doubt on the theory that the iPhone 6 would use Sapphire glass, because of low yield rates and problems with the processing of the material.
But the rumours that the iPhone 6 will gain a Sapphire Glass cover just keep coming, and it's no wonder. 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.
The one thing that makes us think that Apple will not be using Gorilla Glass though is the fact that this year Corning was very vocal about how Sapphire Glass was a poor contender compared to Gorilla Glass. In a stress test, Corning shows a smartphone-sized, 1mm thick sheet of sapphire breaking after 161 pounds of pressure is applied to it, while the Gorilla Glass remains unbroken after 436 pound of pressure is applied to it.
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 (who managed to get hold of leaked iPhone 5s prototypes last year), so it could well be the real deal.
Read more about Sapphire Glass here: What is Sapphire Glass.
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.
iPhone 6 edge-to-edge screen
The iPhone 6's Sapphire Glass display (or Gorilla Glass 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.
This would be good news because the phone wouldn't have to be a lot bigger than the iPhone 5s to accomodate a bigger screen.
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.
Apple already uses liquidmetal for the SIM card removers that come with all iPhones.
iPhone 6 cases
Some people will claim that all the leaked iPhones are just fakes, with companies making prototypes as a way to promote their products or websites. However, there is a trend for iPhone case makers who are so keen to get the cases ready for the new device that they will go to any lengths to get hold of one, and from what we have heard this is the root of many leaked parts.
Well it looks like their bad behaviour may have caught up with them. A source who told Macworld UK that he had "held an iPhone 6" and said it: "Looks like a small iPad mini with the screen edge-to-edge," also said that any case manufacturer who releases an iPhone 6 case within three weeks of launch will not have their products endorsed or sold by Apple ever again.
We think this is Apple's way of stopping the practice of case manufactures seeking leaked iPhones. Read more about iPhone leaks here.
That doesn't seem to have stopped several case-makers from unveiling their iPhone 6 cases already, even before the iPhone 6 has been announced. Most recently, Spigen has launched four cases for the iPhone 6, available from MobileFun.co.uk. Other case makers including Encase, Flexishield, Krussell, Melkco and Noreve are also offering iPhone 6 cases through MobileFun.co.uk.
We recently spotted a picture on case-maker Cygnett's website, teasing iPhone 6 cases coming soon. Looking closely at the image used, you can see that the design of the cases looks very similar to the design of the dummy models. We'd consider Cygnett to be a respected case-maker, so it could be that the company has had official dummy models of the iPhone 6 from Apple to allow it to prepare for the launch of the new phone.
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