It’s almost September, which means we might just be weeks away from learning about Apple’s next iPhone.
Although we don’t know anything concrete yet, various leaks and notes from analysts have painted a picture of what we might be able to expect from the successor to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
Based on what we’ve heard, it sounds as if the changes will focus more on enhancing existing features such as the iPhone’s screen and camera rather than a total redesign.
If Apple maintains its current naming convention, the next iPhone will either be called the iPhone 6S or iPhone 7. Most reports have referred to it as the iPhone 6S, although KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi-Kuo wrote in June that he believes it will be called the iPhone 7.
The next iPhone will come with Apple's Force Touch technology that made its debut in the new MacBook and Apple Watch, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The Force Touch technology in the so-called iPhone 6S will be different from what is in Apple's other recent products, Kuo said. He doesn't think it will detect pressure as the sensor in the new MacBook's trackpad does, but rather it will sense 'contact area on which the finger touches the screen to decide how big the pressure is.'
9to5Mac's Mark Gurman also believes Apple will include Force Touch in its next iPhone, and various analysts we've spoken to have said the same.
It sounds as if the Force Touch screen will allow for various shortcuts in iOS, according to 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman, who says he spoke with a source who used a prototype from Apple. For example, you'd be able to do things including dropping pins in Apple Maps and scrolling through the iPhone media player by applying more pressure to the screen instead of swiping.
Apple may release its next iPhone on September 25, according to the blog Mobile News, which claims to have obtained an internal staff email sent to employees of the British carrier Vodafone. The email reportedly outlined launch plans for the next iPhone, saying the phone would be released on September 25 with preorders starting September 18.
Apple will almost certainly launch the iPhone 6S in September, as it has done with new iPhones in the past, but there's no telling exactly when. Even if Mobile News' email is legitimate, there's no evidence to prove that Vodafone has any knowledge of Apple's iPhone launch plans.
Apple may use the same Series 7000 aluminium found on the Apple Watch Sport's casing for its next iPhone, according to Kuo. This is said to be 60% more durable than the aluminium Apple uses for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
Kuo also said he thought the next iPhone would be 0.15 millimetres taller and 0.2 millimetres thicker than the iPhone 6, but it's unclear why. The extra thickness could be due to the new aluminium Apple reportedly plans to use, if Kuo's predictions turn out to be correct.
The next iPhone will probably look a lot like the iPhone 6, if recent leaks turn out to be true. One of the most notable leaked photos comes from 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman, and it shows what the back casing and interior of the iPhone 6S reportedly looks like. Here's an image showing how the phone looks from the back.
One of the more plausible rumours seems to be that the next iPhone's camera will get a big improvement. Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White told Business Insider that he's seen evidence in Apple's supply chain that indicates the next iPhone could come with an improved 12-megapixel camera.
Blogger John Gruber previously said he heard that the next iPhone would have the 'biggest camera jump ever.' Apple also recently acquired the Israel-based camera company LinX for an estimated $US20 million, according to The Wall Street Journal. LinX's technology could reduce noise and help the iPhone take clearer photos in low-light conditions, among other improvements, according to an analyst note from Macquarie Research.
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White told Business Insider that he's seen evidence in Apple's supply chain that indicates the next iPhone could come with an improved 12-megapixel camera.
This echos what Kuo has said in previous notes, and it would be a significant step up from the iPhone's 8-megapixel camera. But there's more compelling evidence about Apple's future plans for the iPhone's camera hidden within the code for iOS 9. Developer Hazma Sood discovered code that suggests the front-facing camera on the next iPhone will support 1080p video capture, 24-frames-per-second slow-motion shooting, a panoramic mode, and a flash.
In fact, LinX's technology may even allow you to add 3D effects to photos taken with the iPhone, according to the note from Macquarie. Specifically, the note says it could enable '3D object modelling' and that the next iPhone could come with a 'duo camera.' This essentially means the phone would come with more than one camera sensor so it could capture depth-of-field images. This sounds a lot like the camera on the HTC One M8.
A report from M.I.C. Gadget, a Chinese blog that covers culture, claims that Apple will kill off the 16GB storage option for the iPhone. Instead, the base model would start at 32GB. This echoes a report from The Korea Times that also said Apple would ditch the 16GB iPhone and go straight for 32GB.
If Apple does decide to increase the amount of storage that comes with the cheapest iPhone model, it would be addressing complaints that have surfaced over the past year or so from critics and iPhone owners. When iOS 8 launched last year, for instance, some iPhone owners couldn't update their phones because they didn't have enough storage on their devices.
Apple is reportedly testing a new pink colour option for iPhones, according to The Wall Street Journal. There is no indication that this will ever come to the market, but if Apple is actually experimenting with a new colour, we could see it on the next iPhone.
The Taiwanese publication Digitimes reports that Apple is planning to release three iPhones: a 4.7-inch phone, a 5.5-inch model, and a new 4-inch iPhone. It's unclear how this 4-inch phone would fit into Apple's iPhone lineup and how it would be branded. Digitimes also has a mixed track record, so this report may be bogus.
The Chinese publication The Economic Daily News also reported that Apple would release a smaller 4-inch version of its next flagship phone.
Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri also told Business Insider that he had seen evidence of a new 4-inch metal iPhone in Apple's supply chain earlier this year. However, all signs pointing to that phone have disappeared as of March, so it seems as if Apple has either killed off or delayed that product.
Digitimes also reports that Apple is working on a new design for the iPhone that would eliminate the home button. Instead the Touch ID fingerprint sensor would be integrated directly into the phone's screen.
It's important to be really sceptical about this one -- Digitimes has reported a lot of details about coming Apple products in the past that have turned out to be false.