iPhone 6 'to launch in August' with bigger model to follow
New reports from iPhone manufacturers say the superslim iPhone 6 could be on shelves this summer
APPLE’S much-anticipated iPhone 6 will be with us earlier than expected, according to the latest reports from the company’s supply chain.
A 4.7-inch version of the phone will be launched in August, says the Economic Daily News. The newspaper, which is based in Taiwan, bases its report on leaked information from two companies that manufacture parts for the iPhone and the smartphone within it.
However, those claims were contradicted by reports from Germany that Apple is gearing up for a launch in early autumn rather than late summer.
"The report cites unnamed sources in claiming that Apple Stores in Germany will restrict employee vacation time in September in order to ensure that all hands are on deck for the iPhone 6 launch," the technology website BGR says.
Apple typically cuts back on staff holiday around new product launches, although it does not usually tell staff when the ban on annual leave applies until much nearer the time.
In keeping with other leaks and analysts’ predictions, the Taiwanese source also suggests that a second model with a larger screen will follow soon after the launch of the first iPhone 6.
“Supply-chain sources claim a 4.7-inch screen version of the iPhone 6 will reach stores in August, with a 5.5-inch or 5.6-inch model released in September,” the Daily Mail reports.
An image that appears to show a 5.5-inch iPhone 6 prototype alongside a 4.7-inch model was published today.
Whatever the precise detail of screen sizes and timings, analysts agree that Apple is all but certain to start building bigger iPhones. The four-inch display of the current model is now significantly smaller than those of many other smartphones. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3, for example, has a 5.7-inch screen.
But while the length and width of the device may grow, its depth is likely to decrease. Industry insiders predict that the iPhone 6 will be one of the slimmest phones ever produced, with some suggesting that a 6mm-thick handset is possible.
Images purporting to be leaked schematics for the new phone, published yesterday by the International Business Times, show a device that measures just 5.95mm.
Unlike the sharp-edged design of recent iPhone models, the images show smooth, rounded sides. They also show the power button on the right-hand side of the phone rather than the top.
NFC for the iPhone 6
Separate reports suggest that Apple will introduce Near Field Communications (NFC) in the new phone, allowing users to make payments by tapping their phone against a reader, as they do with contactless debit cards.
Technology news site Brightwire says Apple has signed a contract with a Chinese payment company. "Under the deal with China UnionPay," it reports, "users would be able to download the bank card organization’s app to Passbook in their iPhones and make mobile payments on over three million China UnionPay’s QuickPass machines in China."
The claim was received with sceticism by some industry observers. "Integrating NFC into the iPhone 6 would be a bit of a surprise move by Apple," MacRumors reported. "The company's head of marketing Phil Schiller stated in 2012 that the technology was 'not the solution to any current problem'."
Apple never comments on new models before their launch.
iPhone 6: Apple plans big upgrade for two new models
THE iPhone 6 will be a substantial upgrade to Apple’s flagship handset with two screen sizes, a super-slim frame, more processing power and a new location for the power button, the latest claims suggest.
Ming Chi Kuo, an analyst at KGI Securities, says that Apple is planning two new iPhones this year, a 4.7-inch device in late summer and a 5.5-inch one in autumn. Both new handsets would be bigger than the current 5S and 5C models, which have a 4-inch screen.
“Apple knows that it needs to release a phone with a bigger screen,” reports Business Insider. “Last year, in an internal presentation, it said big-screen phones are the best-selling phones. Since Apple had only a 4-inch iPhone, it concluded, ‘customers want what we don't have’.”
The predictions appear to be supported by images recently posted to Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, which experts say depict plans for a 4.7-inch iPhone:
"The prints appear to detail the production methods and dimensions of a 4.7-inch version of the iPhone," the Daily Telegraph reports. "The pictures are believed to have been taken inside a Foxconn factory in China, one of the manufacturing companies used by Apple for iPhone production."
KGI Securities' analyst made a number of other claims about features of the forthcoming iPhone 6 models:
- The 4.7-inch phone will have a screen resolution of 1,334x750, or 326 pixels per inch
- Resolution on the 5.5-inch phone will be 1,920x1080, or 401ppi
- Both new phones will be slimmer overall, at 6.5mm to 7mm thick. The current iPhone 5S is 7.6mm
- The power button will move from the top of the phone to the side, in order to facilitate one-handed operation of the larger handsets.
Kuo’s claims tally with prediction made by the MacRumors website. “Apple's 2013 focus was a less expensive iPhone to go alongside its standard flagship offering,” it reports, “while 2014 development [will] centre around a bigger display.”
“Apple is reportedly testing a variety of different prototypes,” the site continues. “All of the reports have indicated a size ranging from 4.7 to 5.7 inches.”
According to AppleInsider, “Kuo believes the 4.7-inch device will be Apple's main driver of handset sales in late 2014 and full-year shipments could hit 60 million units. The larger model may cannibalize sales of the iPad mini, but if the company can reduce the price tag of its smaller tablet, its portfolio should remain strong.”
More about the iPhone 6:
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