Tech

iPhone 6 Release Date May 2014? New Rumors Suggest Breakthrough Solar Energy Charging Feature via Sapphire Glass Screen

  • Michael Briggs , Design & Trend Staff Writer
  • Jan, 27, 2014, 03:08 PM
iPhone 6.
(Photo : Youtube/ConceptsiPhone) The iPhone 6 could feature solar energy charging via the smartphone's sapphire glass screen, allowing Apple to cut down on the next-generation iPhone's size and weight, according to a recent report.

A few months ago, two Apple patents for solar energy charging ignited a rumor that the upcoming iPhone 6 could feature the ground-breaking smartphone technology. That rumor has caught wind again, as a detailed report from investor blog Seeking Alpha claims that Apple has a big plan to reveal the next line of iPhones and iPod Touch with sapphire glass screens packed with highly-efficient solar cells designed to charge the devices.

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The report details Apple's big development with sapphire glass, including how GT Advanced Technologies, the company providing Apple with sapphire glass, has been able to bring down the cost of sapphire cover materials from $13-18 down to $3-5, a necessity to make the phone affordable. The blog post's author, Matt Margolis, reports that the sapphire glass screen would also help Apple cut down on the size and weight of future iPhones and iPod Touches, as the Cupertino-based company could lose some battery weight and bulk due to the solar charging capability.

Here are Margolis' key findings that helped him come up with his report:

-"Apple filed solar patents that will allow them to power their electronic devices directly through solar cells.

-Apple posted and filled a Thin Films Engineer position with solar experience.

-Apple signed a $578m contract with GT Advanced Technologies to provide sapphire materials (sapphire cover screens)

-Apple announced they would be spending $10.5B in capital during fiscal year 2014 including cutting edge lasers.

-Apple recently posted a Manufacturing Design Engineer position that includes "scribing" and "PVD coating" which relate to thin films (solar cells) and lasers.

-Over 100 iPhones have been assembled with sapphire covered displays."

According to a new report by research firm DisplaySearch, the iPhone 6 will also switch up its look and take on the phablet competition with two model options—4.7 inches and 5.5 inches.

The next-generation Apple flagship has been largely rumored to be Apple's first bout with the 'phablet' competition, but by offering two models, it would appear the Cupertino-based tech giant is still offering a bit of variety for consumers who may not want a phone with a large display size.

According to DisplaySearch's research, the 4.7-inch model will come with 1600×900 resolution, 386ppi and LTPS TFT LCD display technology, while the 5.5-inch model will launch with 1920×1080 resolution at 401 PPI and the same display technology.

Apple will release the iPhone 6, in May and a large tablet, the iPad Max, in October, according to a new report by Digitimes.

The report cites "sources from the upstream supply chain," which told the website that Apple's China Mobile deal has made it apparent that the Cupertino-based company needs to unveil a phablet-sized smartphone to compete with Samsung in the Asian market. The release of the iPhone 6 would also help make the iPhone 5C more "affordable and attractive" to the Chinese market, where it has been a disappointment for its higher-than-expected price, Forbes reports.

Digitimes adds that the 12.9-inch iPad Max will release in the fall "targeting North America's educational market [and]... manufactured by Quanta Computer." The tablet would arrive as a competitor to Samsung's rumored 12 to 13-inch tablet and feature new cases with integrated keyboards and batteries, according to the report. The iPad Max will be best-suited for high school and college students that require a tablet that can 'do work,' Forbes reports.

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