Update – The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus is official. Check out the official specs here.
It’s 2015 and for Apple fans this can only mean one thing: a new iPhone, or in the case of 2015, iPhones. While the official names have yet to be determined, it is largely believed that Apple will continue with the “S” tradition, meaning that we are probably looking at the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, with the latter being the bigger of the two models.
We expect Apple will introduce a host of new features that will come as part of iOS 9, but some that could be exclusive to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, so let’s dive into the rumors and find out what we may or may not know so far!
We’re sure many are curious as to when the new iPhones will be announced or release. However Apple has yet to send out any invitations so it’s really anyone’s guess, but a recent rumor had suggested the 9th of September being a possible announcement date. Given that last year’s iPhone was announced around the same time, it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to think that this year will be any different.
As for a possible release date, Apple typically releases the iPhone about two weeks after they announce it. This means if the 9th of September date is real, then we could be looking at a 23rd or 25th of September (Friday) release date, but this is just speculation.
Apple’s products are typically priced the same with every refresh, so there is a good chance that this year the new iPhones could be priced similarly to last year’s models.
What this means is the iPhone 6s will start from $199 for the 16GB model from carriers, or $649 unlocked. As for the iPhone 6s Plus, it will be priced starting at $299 for the 16GB model if purchased from carriers, or $749 fully unlocked.
The iPhone 6s and 6s will probably be keeping to the same screen sizes as its predecessors. This means the iPhone 6s will feature a 4.7-inch display while the iPhone 6s Plus will come with a 5.5-inch display. Chances of Apple introducing a new screen size at this point is unlikely, but we can never be 100% sure. However for now we will assume that the display sizes won’t change.
Display resolution is also expected to remain the same as we have not heard any rumblings of a possible change in resolution. This means a resolution of 720 x 1334 for the 4.7-inch model, and 1080 x 1920 for the 5.5-inch model. Some might lament that it isn’t quite as high/sharp as the QHD displays found on some flagship Android phones, but most users probably can’t tell the difference, and there is the added bonus of the lower-res display consuming less power.
We have heard rumors that Apple could be considering the possibility of moving to OLED displays instead of LCD, but the rumors are suggesting this will probably be an iPhone 7 (2016) feature at the earliest, so for now LCD will continue being the main display technology driving the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.
Apple usually has a habit of updating its designs every other year. Since last year’s iPhones introduced a new design, chances are the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus will retain the same design. This unfortunately also means that the protruding camera lens found on the back of the iPhone will remain.
While not exactly a design flaw, there are some who weren’t particularly thrilled about it when it was first revealed as it would seem like it would scratch easily if laid flat on a table. However it is protected by a sapphire lens cover which should be more than sufficient to protect it, but just in case we also found that putting a case on the phone solves that problem. Whether or not you want to place your phone in a case, which can lead to unnecessary bulk, is entirely up to you.
However while the design is expected to remain the same, noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had previously suggested that Apple could be turning to 7000 series aluminum which is said to be of a tougher build. Chances are we might not be able to tell the difference, but it does help with giving users some peace of mind knowing that your iPhone could be slightly tougher. Kuo had also suggested that the phone could be thicker by as much as 0.13mm, but to the naked eye it should be relatively indistinguishable.
The color options of the new iPhones are also expected to remain the same. This means Space Grey, Silver, and Gold finishes, although there are some rumors suggesting that there could be a Rose Gold finish similar to the Apple Watch.
Every year Apple introduces a new processor to their iPhones. Last year we were treated to the A8 processor, so this year we are probably looking at the A9. At the moment, the A8 is still a dual-core processor and so far, there has not been any indication that Apple will be switching configuration to a quad or octa-core processor. Read up our Are More Cores Better article to get an idea of whether or not this is critical, but overall, more cores are not always better.
It is also possible that Apple use a different semiconductor manufacturing process for the A9. The A8 was built using the 20nm process but the rumors are suggesting that the A9 could be built on the 16nm process instead. So what does this mean for end-users?
Basically the smaller the process is, the more transistors can be fit into the same space. In theory, this would also mean that more calculations can be done per second, thus improving the speed of the processor. This would make a dual-core processor still viable in today’s market, even though on paper it doesn’t sound as “fast” as quad or octa-core processors. In the end, the real-world performance matters, and it is a combination of hardware and software. [Image Credit – iFixit]
With regards to the amount of RAM on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, the rumors are claiming we could be looking at an upgrade to 2GB of RAM. The iPhone 6 features 1GB of RAM, so the jump to 2GB of RAM would be a big one. The last time Apple introduced a RAM upgrade was with the iPhone 5, where it doubled the RAM from the 512MB found in the iPhone 4S to 1GB.
Before that was the iPhone 3GS which had 256MB of RAM, and based on the number of times Apple has introduced RAM upgrades, we suppose it would be about time an upgrade was in order.
As for storage, we’ll probably be looking at the same 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB storage options, which was “confirmed” in a recent component leaked. Despite the same sizes, the memory components could be an improvement over its predecessor. The latest rumors have indicated that Apple might be upgrading to 3D NAND storage built by Toshiba, SanDisk, and SK Hynix. This new hardware is said to enhance write/delete endurance, but boost write speed as well. They are also expected to be energy efficient.
There have also been rumors that Apple could be ditching the 16GB option in favor of 32GB being its lowest storage, but the conflicting reports pretty much leaves this up in the air. It wasn’t too long ago that Apple’s VP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller defended the 16GB option, so it could be taken to mean that we can still expect 16GB options in the future. It could also be a way to push iOS users to purchase cloud storage such as iCloud to store their files and media away from their device.
iOS 9 also has a feature that temporarily deletes apps to make room for system updates, so having 16GB of storage might not necessarily be that inconvenient at the end of the day.
The current iPhones sport an 8MP rear-facing camera and a 1.2MP front-facing camera, but according to an earlier leaked Foxconn document, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus will change that and will see an upgrade to a 12MP rear-facing camera, while the front-facing camera will be bumped to 5MP. It was not mentioned if the sensor size, which is 1/3-inch, and aperture will be changed.
It is unclear if in terms of video recording if there will be any changes either. With the current iPhones, one of the main differences in video capture is that the iPhone 6 features digital image stabilization (DiS), while the iPhone 6 Plus has optical image stabilization (OiS).
For those wondering what the differences are, you can watch the video above to get a better idea, but to sum it up: DiS uses software to correct the shakiness in your videos, while OiS typically relies on hardware such as gyro-sensors to help stabilize the lens.
There hasn’t been any mention of whether the next-gen iPhones can record video in 4K either. Last we checked, the iPhone are capable of playing back 4K videos, but recording is still at a max of 1080p @ 60fps.
There have been talks that Apple could be making a significant camera upgrade with the speculation stemming from Apple acquiring LinX, a camera technology firm whose camera modules are said to be able to deliver DSLR-like image quality. However this is just speculation, but for the most part the rumors do not suggest that this might make it into the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.
Probably one of the biggest changes that Apple is rumored to make to the new iPhones is the inclusion of Force Touch technology. The feature made its debut on the Apple Watch and was later introduced to the trackpads of Apple’s MacBook laptops. Its iPhone debut was also originally rumored to be an iPhone 6s Plus exclusive, but it seems that now both iPhones are expected to receive it.
However unlike the MacBook or Apple Watch where Force Touch is activated by the pressure put on the trackpad/display, the iPhone version will be different. The concept will be the same where pressing “harder” will pull up new menus or activate certain features, but in the iPhone’s case, the technology will instead determine the surface area of the area being touched.
This means that if you press down harder, it will result in a larger surface area of your finger/thumb touching the display, thus signalling that Force Touch will be activated. You can watch the concept video above to get an idea of what Force Touch on the iPhone could look like, but note that it is just a concept and the final product, if introduced at all, could be very different in its implementation.
There has not been any rumors surrounding the battery size of Apple’s next-gen iPhones, meaning there is a good chance Apple could be keeping things the way they are. This means that for the 4.7-inch iPhone, we could be looking at a 1,810mAh battery, while the larger 5.5-inch iPhone could sport a 2,915mAh battery.
Some might be a little upset that Apple isn’t making any changes to its battery size, but the new processor and its manufacturing process, along with tweaks made in iOS 9 will probably result in better battery management, meaning that one could technically squeeze out more use out of their phone despite battery sizes remaining the same.
[Image Credit – iFixit]
This basically sums up what we know about Apple’s next-gen iPhones. Whether or not they all prove to be true remains to be seen, but there are some aspects which we can logically deduce based on Apple’s previous practices and releases. At the moment there is no official date on when the phones will be announced, but last we heard, the 9th of September is a possibility.
This article will be updated as new rumors and speculations make their way online, so be sure to bookmark it if you’d like to keep yourself updated on the rumors surrounding the next-gen iPhones.