The iPhone 6 has the internet rumor mills working overtime, with some sites predicting a May launch date, others June. Even some “leaked” images are going around, although whether these are real or made by Apple or Apple’s ardent fans is unknown (they still look pretty cool).
The the 5s came with the new Touch ID sensor, and an apparent shortage of these components led to a shortage of iPhones at its release. The factory in Taiwan that will be making these components for the iPhone 6 this time round, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), is starting production on the new and improved version in Q2, so a May launch looks ambitious at this time. However, TSMC has given out some details of its new process, and production rates should be at least 50% higher, and of a higher quality, than before due to a change in contracting.
What else can we expect? It would be reasonable to assume that there will be a new 64 bit A8 chip in the iPhone 6 (or even possible an A9) along with an M8 motion coprocessor (video card) and iOS8 to run it all. Some things have not changed with the last few models, the 4 inch screen size, and 8 megapixel camera, at least one model is likely to maintain these numbers, but the resolution of the screens is currently expected to go up, and there may be a larger sized model to compete with some of the huge Samsung models now available. Indeed, two low quality images of a machined phone back, that looked like it might belong to a much larger iPhone, went hurtling through the fan-0-sphere recently, but no proof was available either way.
Apple’s competitors have also been puting 13 mega pixel cameras on their phones recently, but resolution is not the only issue in terms of image quality. Indeed, low noise sensors with image stabilisation may more than compensate for resolution, and Apple may not respond in kind.
Wireless charging may also be a possible feature of the new phone, as Apple recently filed a patent for recharging system where all you have to do is place the phone on an energy strip.
One feature uses of the iPhone have been requesting is a larger battery, so that time between charges is reduced. However, one of the internet rumors, that the phone will be only 6mm thick, would almost certainly quash any hopes for additional battery life.
The previous manufacturers of the iPhone 5 were Foxconn, and this time around they will be joined by Pegatron. This suggests that the shortage of iPhones at the previous launch caused a financial headache for Apple through it’s inability to match demand. Possibly leading to a feeling of wasted advertising dollars given that they were not able to seize the opportunity the huge buzz was providing. This time round with two manufacturers and a somewhat simplified subcomponent supply chain, it looks like a whole bunch more iPhone 6’s will be available at launch.
By Andrew Willig