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iPhone 6 Release Date Controversy: Experts Disagree [VIDEO] Rumors, Specs, Features

Dec 18, 2013 02:53 PM EST by Michael Briggs

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The release of Apple's next smartphone upgrade, the iPhone 6, involves a wide range of possible target dates, according to experts.

While each iPhone since the October release of the 4S has become available in the fall, there are some analysts who believe the sixth-generation iPhone will break that pattern. In a new report by Investors Business Daily, Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Mehdi Hosseini states that he believes the iPhone 6 will likely come out in June or July 2014.

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The iPhone 6 is "expected to be a more meaningful product refresh" than the iPhone 5S and 5C launched this year, Hosseini claims. "Although there is no color yet on the iPhone 6 specs, our recent checks in Taiwan and Korea suggest Apple has already begun negotiating with its memory suppliers to secure capacities."

A Spring-Summer release has been mentioned in previous reports, but there have also been an abundance of reports that claim Apple will stick to its past tendencies with the 6, including recent articles by Bloomberg, which states two curved iPhone models will be unveiled in the fall, and Chinese tech site Epoch Times, which claims the new iPhones won't be released until October 2014.

Could the iPhone 6 get a retina scanner?

A new iPhone 6 concept design imagines the next-generation smartphone with a new touch—EYE ID scanning technology.

The feature would replace the Touch ID fingerprint security unveiled in the iPhone 5S, creating the "safest phone ever created," according to the concept's creator SET Solutions. The retina scanning ability would not only unlock a user's phone, but also allow them to log into the App Store and their bank accounts with a "level of security never reached before."

The new concept follows two other recent iPhone 6 concepts from SET—the iPhone 6 "Air" and the iPhone "6C." The proposed design includes a smaller home button and an edge-to-edge display with the phone's cameras and a pair of unique-looking speakers housed in the rear.

Check it out in the video below:


Apple’s next-generation smartphone, the iPhone 6, could take the curved displays recently made famous by LG and Samsung to a new level of design.

The Cupertino-based tech giant is already rumored to be making major changes to its future iPhone line, including larger screens that could push the next smartphones to ‘phablet’ size. While Apple has been hesitant to join rival Samsung in the ‘phablet’ sector of the smartphone market, the company has apparently realized the vast untapped potential that lies there. One element of smartphone design Apple has repeatedly stated it will stick to, however, is the ability to hold any iPhone with one hand.

Apple’s rumored next-gen iPhones would ensure this, as the company’s unique curved display panel would allow for a larger screen without losing the accessibility of a smartphone you need just one hand to operate.

Along with the curved design, future iPhones are being rumored to feature a pressure-sensitive display that would be able to detect how strongly a user interacts with the device, which would “assign specific functions to the weight of the hand on the screen,” according to Inferse.

Two new Apple iPhones could release in "the second half of next year," according to a Bloomberg source.

The next-generation iPhone models would be offered with 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch curved glass displays, according to the report. While release dates have been projected from as early as Q1 to as late as September, the Bloomberg report is the first to circulate with actual clout. There are also details about new touchscreen sensors in development, which could greatly improve the drawing and handwriting apps on the iPhone and iPad. Apple could even "sell the devices as professional-level artistic devices if it introduces those kinds of features," says Tech Crunch.

According to a new report by Japanese magazine Mac Fan, the sixth-generation iPhone will be designed to ease Apple consumers to the change, coming in with a 1,920-by-1,080-pixel 5-inch display (420 ppi) customized with thin sides so that the user can easily operate the device with one hand. The report also claims the device will get a release date in September.

Previous reports pegged the iPhone 6 at just under 5 inches with a 4.8-inch screen that would stick to Apple's "unwavering principle of one-hand use," according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Apple's sixth-generation iPhone could get a release date next summer, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.

In a research note published Friday, Munster added that the iPhone 6 will be a "blockbuster" and will include a "large screen option." Munster believes Apple will push the smartphone's release up from fall, which would mean there would be less than a year between iPhone releases. Previous reports have suggested either a Q1-Q2 release or a September launch.

Munster also believes Apple is working on a computerized wristwatch, dubbed the "iWatch," and a television set.

New reports suggest that the sixth-generation iPhone is going to pack some serious specs changes, with a large IGZO display likely coming from Sharp and a 16MP camera sensor via Sony. Citing Asian publication reports, Patently Apple claims that while other suppliers are still in the running, Sharp has begun to pull away from the pack. The components manufacturer is strengthening its relationship with Apple just in time, as Samsung is also being gently pushed out of the picture.

Sharp is offering a competitive advantage, according to the Patently Apple report: "Sharp will be the first company in the world to achieve commercial production of high-definition LCD panels for smartphones. The highly efficient production levels achievable with 8G glass substrates will be made possible by an optimized production process as well as by IGZO technology's ability to enable smaller thin-film transistors and increased light transmittance."

Apple is also looking to double the next iPhone's camera from an 8MP to a 16MP that will revolve around "the 16 million pixel complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor," technology, according to another Patently Apple report. Sony and Samsung are the current front-runners, but the feature could go to Sony.

"Sony is likely to supply Apple with the new sensors for next year's iPhone 6, though final testing has yet to be completed," the Apple tech site said.

The iPhone 6 may not be the only 'phablet-sized' smartphone Apple is prepping for 2014, however.

Analyst David Hsieh of NPD DisplaySearch claims that Apple will release a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and another iPhone at 5.7 inches in Q1-Q2 of 2014. The reports suggest Apple will be pushing innovative displays that will also result in a 12.9-inch iPad with higher resolution, a MacBook Air with a Retina Display, an Apple TV and the iWatch.

According to Gotta Be Mobile, Hsieh's report isn't coming out of left field, as it "'fills in the blanks' left from Tim Cook's summer brag. During Apple's earnings call in July Tim Cook told investors and customers to look forward to, 'amazing new products that we will introduce in the fall and across 2014.'"

NPD DisplaySearch has a solid track record with displays, having accurately predicted the iPad 3's Retina Display a few months before its release, so this report can't be treated like it's any other rumor. Still, these iPhone claims are a bit surprsing considering the most recent rumors suggested that Apple had settled on a 4.8 to 5-inch display screen, which lead some to believe the company was still reluctant to release an iPhone with a display over 5 inches at full 'phablet' mode. However, an iPhone at 5.7 inches would put the smartphone in the same boat as the Galaxy Note 3, helping the company reach multiple levels of the smartphone market. A Q1-Q2 release date also goes against a recent claim from Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek, who suggested a September 2014 release date was in the cards for the sixth-generation iPhone.

Here are the full specs for the iPhone 6 and unnamed iPhone from the NPD DisplaySearch report:

-4.7-inch display with 1280×720 resolution, 312 ppi
-5.7-inch display with 1920×1080 resolution, 386 ppi

Apple really is switching things up with the next-gen iPhone 6.

The Cupertino-based company will reduce its reliance on Samsung as a component supplier for the upcoming flagship smartphone, according to a new report by Korea's Hankyung.

Citing industry sources, the report claims the majority of the manufacturing will go to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC)—approximately 60 to 70 percent—with Samsung handling the rest. Samsung has been the trusted manufacturer for Apple for the past several chips, most recently the A5, A6 and A7.

Apple reportedly only wanted TSMC as its' A8 chip supplier, but they still needed Samsung's services for the mass quantity of the chips.

On-going patent disputes between the companies and Samsung's standing as a rival in the smartphone and tablet business has given Apple an excuse to cut ties with the Galaxy S4 maker to reduce their reliance on a single manufacturer, as well.

One rumor that may hold some weight is the expectation that Apple will take the use of sapphire crysal—which was laser cut into the home button of the iPhone 5S for fingerprint scanning—to a new level with their upcoming devices. A recent report with Taiwanese sapphire maker sources not only suggests that iPad 5 and iPad Mini 2 could feature the sapphire crystals for fingerprint sensors, but also says that Apple is planning on using the sapphire crystals for the iPhone 6 home button and touch screen.

The DigiTimes report seems to fall in line with a recent Apple patent that regards a process that would add sapphire laminate over a device's touch screen glass. This could be used on future iPhones, iPads and the rumored iWatch, as well. The patent explains that two sapphire sheets would be laminated together-creating structure only 1mm thick or less.

Some other new iPhone 6 rumors suggest that Apple could offer some impressive new technology in the new flagship smartphone—solar technology.

Back in February, Apple secured a patent for the use of solar panels in portable devices. "This 'integrated touch sensor and solar assembly' would involve integrating social cells into a touch screen by using electrodes that can pull double duty as a solar cell and a touch sensor," says CNET. The integration, according to the patent, would also help save surface area on the device.

Other rumors suggest that Apple is looking to hire a someone with expertise in "thin film deposition technology" and in solar industry. Apple has has applied for four other solar-power-related patents in the past several years.

The iPhone 6 could also debut with a curved, wraparound screen, according to a recent Apple patent filing. The iPhone, in this case the 6, would feature a wraparound AMOLED screen that appears to feature similar dimensions to the iPod Nano 4. The patent adds that the screen can be "unrolled" or "unfolded" thanks to a unfolding hinge that allows the screen to double in size when desired. Facial recognition, gesture control and the layering of screens to create a 3D screen were also discussed in the patent.

Another feature rumor for the iPhone 6 entails the use of sonar instead of infrared sensors, according to a report by Apple Insider. The report claims that the technology could "detect slight changes in ambient sound and send corresponding signals to a processor which then compares the two to determine whether an object is in close proximity to either of the mics."

A "smart bezel" feature that would display information around the screen has also been rumored as a possibility for the iPhone 6 in another Apple patent filing released.

"The primary display could be used to convey visual content to a user, and the secondary display could be used to guide a user providing inputs to the device. For example, the secondary display could be selectively illuminated to provide one or more indicators that represent where or how a user can provide inputs to the device," the patent reads.

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