Supply chain numbers may only support limited run of sapphire models
Supply chain orders so far don't support the idea of the iPhone 6 using sapphire for its display, except perhaps in limited numbers, according to analysts with Trendforce. "Analysis of the iPhone 6 supply chain indicates related component suppliers need to ship products to OEMs for assembly in June 2014 to meet the September launch date. Yet, the research institute did not discover demands for smartphone cover glass," the firm writes. "The sapphire glass version new iPhone will be issued in limited volumes this year, mostly because sapphire ingot manufacturers yield rates were lower than forecasts and [because of] issues involved in sapphire glass processing."
Parts missing from associated logic board photos
A Chinese repair firm, GeekBar, claims to have obtained photos of the logic boards for Apple's upcoming 4.7- and 5.5-inch iPhones. The two are noticeably different from each other and the board for the iPhone 5s; significantly, the one for the 5.5-inch iPhone -- sometimes dubbed the "iPhone Air" -- isn't larger than the one for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, but simply has a different layout. In both cases, chips and other installed components are missing.
4.7-inch iPhone 6 already underway
Although mass production of a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is underway, other Apple products due this fall -- including new versions of the iPad Air and iPad mini, and the 5.5-inch iPhone -- have yet to begin assembly, according to Chinese-language publication UDN. The new iPads are expected to enter production in September, but there is no reported timeframe for the 5.5-inch iPhone. UDN makes no mention of the iWatch, something generally anticipated in the fall.
May build on iBeacons, Passbook, Touch ID and partners to create truly seamless, secure system
A new report is claiming that Apple is accelerating its plans for a grand "digital wallet" mobile payments system, which could even be ready to debut in the same time frame as the expected "iPhone 6." The company is said to be in talks with Visa to create a partnership agreement that would allow consumers to pay for goods and services using only their iPhone, leveraging the "secure enclave" portion of the A7 chip and Touch ID to create what would be expected to be a seamless mobile payment system.
5.5-inch iPhone might wait until later showcase
Apple is "tentatively" scheduling a press event for mid-September to reveal the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and final launch details of iOS 8, sources say. The people add that the second and third weeks of September are the most likely target, but that uncertainties about manufacturing timetables are a factor. The 5.5-inch iPhone may also be shown at the event, but that has likewise yet to be decided.
Compares to 50-60 million units ordered for iPhone 5s/5c launch last year
A new report citing unnamed sources "familiar with the matter" claims that Apple has put in orders for its largest-ever initial iPhone run, asking suppliers Foxconn and Pegatron to produce between 70 million and 80 million units for the devices' debut in the fall through the end of the year. Claiming that the order includes both 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models (though the latter has yet to reveal solid evidence of actually existing), the new upcoming production run compares to the 50-60 million units ordered for the iPhone 5s and 5c last year.
Rough edges disappear
New photos show what is believed to be a rear shell for the iPhone 6 from a later stage of manufacturing. The shell notably has an iPad-style inlaid Apple logo, and a smoother overall appearance, unlike some earlier leaked shells. The reason for the switch to an inlaid logo is unclear, but it's speculated that Apple may want it to light up, possibly to serve as a notification light, something present on many non-Apple smartphones.
Foxconn confirms massive hiring spree for production ramp-up
Taiwain's Economic Daily News, which has been on a spree of sometimes-dubious claims about the forthcoming new iPhone and possible additional models, is now reporting that Apple's alleged 4.7-inch "iPhone 6" model will begin production next week, with the supposed 5.5-inch model starting production in the second week of August for a later launch date. Foxconn has inadvertently supported the report by confirming plans to hire 100,000 new workers.
Consistent with recent rumor
A photo obtained by French website NWE depicts what's claimed to be a 1,810mAh battery for the iPhone 6. The part is consistent with a recent rumor, and represents roughly a 16 percent improvement over the iPhone 5s. If it's authentic though, any gains will probably be offset by the extra power demands of the 6's 4.7-inch display, and possibly its A8 processor.
Part little different from iPhone 5s incarnation
New photos depict what is said to be the Touch ID sensor for iPhone 6. The part is compared with its equivalent for the iPhone 5s, and appears to be little different, except for a change in where screw holes are located. That's presumably needed to accommodate the phone's new proportions, scaled up to fit a 4.7-inch screen.
New batteries thinner, more flexible than Samsung or LG offerings
Apple has allegedly solved battery problems for the iPhone 6 by turning to a new supplier, Taiwan's Simplo Technologies, says the Taiwan-based Economic Daily News. The company was reportedly having trouble finding batteries that were both thin and flexible enough from previous suppliers Samsung and LG Chemical. It's not clear whether EDN is referring to the rumored 4.7-inch iPhone -- most commonly labeled the iPhone 6 -- or the supposed 5.5-inch model as well, which was already said to have had battery problems fixed, despite a lack of evidence of either the alleged problem or its resolution.
Could force device into 2015
Apple's alleged 5.5-inch future iPhone is reportedly running into production obstacles involving its new in-cell touchscreen panel, along with uneven color distribution on its metal casing, claims KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. He suggests that while the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 should still debut this fall, the supposed 5.5-inch phone -- of which no real evidence has emerged -- could be pushed later, possibly into 2015. Even the 4.7-inch model is said to be suffering from the same problems, but to a lesser degree.
Firm looks to become more independent
Sharp is offering Apple 30 billion yen, or about $293 million, to buy the equipment in the former's Kameyama Plant No. 1, says Nikkei. In 2012, Apple contributed about half of the 100 billion yen ($986.7 million) that was necessary to switch the factory from producing TV panels to iPhone displays. As a part of the deal, Apple claimed ownership of the plant's hardware.
Specs would be somewhat out-of-step with recent competitors
For its A8 processor, Apple is planning to boost clock speeds to 2GHz or higher, but stick to just two cores, says Chinese site cnBeta. The A7 used in the iPhone 5s, iPad Air, and Retina iPad mini is a dual-core 1.3GHz chip. On top of the speed boost, the A8 is expected to upgrade from 28nm manufacturing to 20nm.
Adds to pile of unsubstantiated claims about next iPhone
Following a flurry of claims -- most of them from dubious Far East sources -- about enormous advance orders for the iPhone 6 or "localized haptic feedback" or robots building the iPhone and endless parts leaks (or could some of them be 3D printer fabrications?), a new photo has emerged purporting to show the LCD and home button bracket for the forthcoming 4.7-inch iPhone 6. The photo comes from a Taiwanese enthusiast site.
Initial shipments could be twice those of iPhone 5
Apple has placed orders for a massive 68 million in initial iPhone 6 units -- roughly twice what it ordered for the iPhone 5, according to Taiwan's Business Weekly. Mass production is slated to begin later this month. It's uncertain, though, if the paper is referring solely to the rumored 4.7-inch iPhone -- the device most commonly tagged with the "iPhone 6" name -- or the supposed 5.5-inch iPhone as well, in which case the 68 million figure would make more sense. In either scenario, Apple is likely keen to avoid the supply shortages that plagued the iPhone 5 and 5s.
Supposed battery changes would still lag behind rival devices
Two new leaks have emerged regarding next-generation iPhones, beginning with a video (below) showing an alleged cover panel using sapphire glass. While Apple has partnered with GT Advanced on major sapphire production efforts, it has been highly disputed whether or not that sapphire will be used in displays or simply for smaller components like cameras and Touch ID sensors. Apple could alternately use sapphire in the 5.5-inch iPhone but not the 4.7-inch one, or vice versa.
Apple-based assembly lines getting first crack at automation
Foxconn is in the final stages of testing new assembly robots, and could deploy them at one or more major factories in the near future, reports say. During the initial deployment phase, Foxconn is expected to use 10,000 robots to replace human workers, with Apple product lines being the top priority. While there's no exact date for when the robots will be installed, they could be ready in time to help with iPhone 6 production.
Apple apparently abandoning one-handed smartphones
A new video from Chinese site iFanr (below) shows an alleged 4.7-inch cover panel for the iPhone 6 in comparison with an iPhone 5s. While the part appears no different than the ones in a recent leak, the video does give a sense of how much larger an iPhone 6 might feel in the hand. It suggests that Apple is conceding on a former design principle, which was that a person should be able to reach all four corners of a phone's screen with their thumb.
Parts hint at rounded edges
New images depict what are said to be black and white front cover panels for a 4.7-inch iPhone 6. Compared with the iPhone 5s, the panels aren't much larger in size, and are generally similar in design. They do have what appear to be differently-placed camera holes however, as well as rounded edges, which may be intended to better fit the iPad mini-style back the phone is expected to have. The inconsistency in the camera holes may theoretically be connected to them coming from different development phases.
Report controversially calls for curved display as well
The iPhone 6 may indeed have a partial glass back like the iPhone 5s, says Japan's Nikkei. Most panel leaks have shown all-metal backs with lines near the top and bottom. It's now suggested, though, that those lines are simply markers for where the glass will go. The iPhone 5s has glass "windows" along the top and bottom of its back to allow radio signals to pass through.
Apple iPhone 5s is the most forward-compatible iPhone ever
If the rumor mill is correct, Apple will launch a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 on September 19, which is less than 100 days away (it may also launch a larger 5.5-inch model at or around the same time). Typically, as the anticipated launch event gets closer of any product, sales of the previous generation model begin to taper. So is it worth hanging on for Apple's next-generation smartphone, or should you jump in and grab an iPhone 5s now anyway? For some people answer to the question is a no-brainer -- wait, and get the next iPhone because it is literally going to be bigger and better. However, there are a few considerations that might still make you want to jump in now and grab and iPhone 5s anyway.
4.7-inch iPhone to cap out at 64GB
The upcoming 5.5-inch iPhone will have a 128GB option, but not the 4.7-inch model, according to supply chain sources for Chinese site Feng.com. Current iPhone models top out at 64GB, and it's expected that the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will follow suit. Apple is believed to be limiting 128GB capacity to the 5.5-inch iPhone -- the naming of which is still unclear -- in order to help distinguish it from its cheaper counterpart.
Cost, supply issues may hurt 4.7-inch model
It's likely that only the 5.5-inch iPhone will get optical image stabilization for its camera, several analysts are predicting. The most substantial claim comes from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. "Differing from market consensus, we don't expect the main camera of the 4.7" iPhone 6 to use OIS VCM due to production capacity restraint at iPhone 6 VCM suppliers Mitsumi (JP) and Alps (JP)," he writes. "Rather, we predict it will use a middle-mount type of open-loop VCM updated from the one used in the existing iPhone 5S. The 5.5" iPhone 6 is more likely to be equipped with OIS VCM due to lower estimated shipments and the need for more product features to differentiate itself from the 4.7" iPhone 6." It is however expected that the 4.7-inch iPhone will still get faster focusing and better power efficiency than camera in the iPhone 5s.
Report suggests 4.7-inch phone due first
The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 should ship on Friday, September 19th, say sources for Chinese site Tencent. The site also claims that the device will launch in 32 and 64GB capacities, at local prices of 5,288 yuan ($846) and 6,288 yuan ($1,008), respectively. The implication appears to be that Apple is dropping 16GB as an option, since the prices mentioned are what 16 and 32GB versions of the iPhone 5s currently sell for.
Defects delay Catcher's entry into device's supply chain
Apple has at least temporarily rejected Catcher as a source for 4.7-inch iPhone 6 casings, says China's Economic Daily News. In testing, Apple is said to have discovered defects in the areas connecting metal and plastic parts in sample casings, caused by Catcher's anodizing methods. In the short-term orders have been placed with Jabil and Foxconn instead; it may take Catcher up to two to three months to fix the glitches.
Pegatron also boosting workforce
Hon Hai -- better known as Foxconn -- is preparing to hire some 100,000 people in mainland China to help manufacture new iPhones, says Taiwan's Economic Daily News. The effort is described as the company's largest-ever Chinese hiring spree. Another major Apple supplier, Pegatron, is meanwhile said to be boosting labor at a mainland factory by 30 percent for the sake of iPhone production. Foxconn is expected to handle 70 percent of orders, while Pegatron will deal with the remainder.
Feature may come to iWatch, new iPads as well
The iPhone 6, iWatch, and/or new iPads will likely have a barometer for tracking altitude and local weather, code in the iOS 8 and Xcode 6 betas suggests. Updated CoreMotion APIs make explicit reference to an altitude-tracking framework, and check if a device supports it. The iPhone 5s fails this test, even though a number of existing iOS apps attempt altitude measurements using GPS and Apple's M7 motion co-processor.
Notes that alleged 5.5-inch future iPhone noticeably taller than Galaxy Note 3
A new YouTube video uses "dummy" mock-ups of the alleged 4.7- and 5.5-inch "iPhone 6" models to compare the sizes in context to the current iPhone 5s, which offers a four-inch screen. While the mockup models have been frequently seen elsewhere, only rarely have they been shown next to other existing iPhone or competitor models to give a proper sense of size. The video compares the alleged "future" iPhones both to the existing iPhone 5s, as well as some of the larger phones' competitors.
GT Advanced facility up to over 2,500 furnaces
Apple should have enough sapphire to cover the displays of both the iWatch and its 4.7- and 5.5-inch iPhones, claims Seeking Alpha's Matt Margolis. Based on supply chain checks, he suggests that GT Advanced's Mesa, Arizona sapphire plant -- which is dedicated to Apple -- will have "ample supply" for all three devices this year. "Additionally, the maximum sapphire screen capacity of the Mesa facility is likely to exceed 200m annual units," he writes.
Supports switch to metal design
A new series of photos show what is claimed to be a back panel for the iPhone 6. The part is similar to the one in another recent leak, featuring an all-metal construction with rounded edges. As noted in other reports, the cutout for the wake/sleep button appears to have been moved to the right side, presumably because the phone's anticipated 4.7-inch size will make it too cumbersome to hit a top-side button.
Device back on track for 2014
Apple has solved battery problems that were interfering with the production of the 5.5-inch iPhone, says Chinese site Laoyaoba. Supplier Sunwoda Electronics is expected to manufacture 20 million batteries for the device; Apple's normal batter supplier, Dynapack, should also join up, but has allegedly had trouble meeting demand. The report claims that Apple is hoping to have 20 million 5.5-inch phones ready by the end of 2014.
Crackdown on iPhone accessory leaks said to involve 200 security officers
Apple is attempting to prevent leaks for the iPhone 6 from slipping out, by allegedly getting help from Chinese authorities. The company is said to be concerned enough about leaks for the smartphone that it is going after accessory manufacturers who are producing items specifically for the iPhone 6, just in case any important details are accidentally made public before Apple's unveiling.
Believed to be consistent with recent leaks
An Australian website has obtained what it claims is the back panel for a 4.7-inch iPhone 6. The part appears to be consistent with other recent leaks, including details like iPad mini-style rounded edges, a circular flash cutout, and antenna breaks at the top and bottom. The green color may be a plastic film, and indeed a silver color can be seen in an exposed area around the camera.
5.5-inch device still missing from most leaks
Foxconn will handle about 70 percent of 4.7-inch iPhone 6 production in 2015, and is expected to start shipping units to Apple as soon as July of this year, claims Digitimes. The site adds that Apple's 5.5-inch iPhone will enter production a month later. In April, a similar report suggested that the 5.5-inch model would only start manufacturing in September.
Date most likely informed guess
Support workers for German carrier Deutsche Telekom are attempting to get some people to stay with the claim that the next-generation iPhone will ship on September 19, local reports say. Apple hasn't revealed the phone yet, and it's doubtful that the company would be giving carriers an exact date at this stage. It is a possibility however, and if nothing else the date is consistent with the launches of the iPhone 5s and 5c -- which took place on September 20 last year -- and the iPhone 5, which shipped on September 21, 2012. The 19th may, therefore, just be an educated guess on Telekom's part.
Matched to 4.7-inch model
Images of what's claimed to be a backlighting panel for the iPhone 6 have appeared on Chinese microblogging site Weibo, reports say. The authenticity of the part is unsure, but it does resemble the backlight for the iPhone 5s. One difference is a relocated flex connector with modified pins, but it's common for Apple to change connectors to fit new circuit designs.
Contains few details of final product
New photos show what is claimed to be an aluminum mold manufacturers are using to produce cases for the iPhone 6. Because it's simply a mold, it lacks many details. It does however appear to have characteristics spotted in other leaks, most notably an iPad-style back with rounded edges.
Future buyers dropping as cycle slows, but demand still surprisingly strong
Investment firm Piper Jaffray and its lead Apple analyst Gene Munster have completed their latest survey on the level of interest among consumers for the latest iPhone. Unsurprisingly, the study found that interest is waning somewhat among potential buyers -- with the current models now nearly nine months old -- and that declared potential buyers are beginning to hang back in anticipation of the forthcoming "iPhone 6," expected this fall.
LG, Japan Display said to be companion suppliers
For the upcoming 4.7-inch iPhone, Apple has picked a Taiwanese LCD supplier -- Innolux -- over Sharp or Samsung, according to a Taiwanese newspaper, UDN. Innolux is claimed to be Apple's third display provider for the phone after LG Display and Japan Display. Sharp is believed to have been ruled out because of quality problems during test production, while Samsung may have been dismissed simply because of Apple's desire to distance itself from its main rival.
Jump needed to keep iPhone at Retina levels, but below some other phones
Apple is testing out a 1704x960 resolution for the iPhone 6, sources claim. The iPhone 5s uses a 1136x640 resolution for its 4-inch display; because Apple is believed to be working on 4.7- and 5.5-inch versions of the next-generation iPhone, though, Apple is likely being forced to up resolution to keep Retina-quality graphics. Apple defines "Retina" levels as anything over 300ppi; on a 4.7-inch iPhone, 1704x960 would yield 416ppi. On a 5.5-inch model the same resolution would still reach 356ppi.
5.5-inch iPhone largely ignored by casemakers until now
New photos obtained by French site Nowhereelse.fr show early third-party cases claimed to be for a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and a 5.5-inch "iPhone 6S." While the 4.7-inch iPhone has been documented in a number of mockups and case samples, its 5.5-inch counterpart has been largely absent, despite numerous reports about both sizes shipping later this year. The two new cases are consistent with other recent leaks, including details like a relocated power button. Their labels are likely placeholders however, given that Apple usually reserves "S" designations for interim iPhone refreshes instead of major redesigns.
Could be warranted by Apple-devised mobile payment system
Apple is "likely" to build NFC technology into the iPhone 6, according to BrightWire. The newswire agency cites a source "close to the matter," who states that Apple has forged a deal with bank card company China UnionPay on a mobile payment service. Under that agreement, people should be able to use a combination of the UnionPay app and iOS' Passbook to make transactions at UnionPay's 3 million QuickPass point-of-sale terminals in China. UnionPay is developing a system that follows its PBOC QuickPass standard, compatible with iOS, and major Chinese banks have been invited to participate in the project. More significantly perhaps, the two firms are reportedly working on a mobile payment platform that can be used in Apple Stores.
Larger model said to follow roughly a month later
A new speculative report from Taiwan's Economic Daily News claims that Apple will be far enough along in production on the expected "iPhone 6" that it could launch at least one model a month earlier than normal, possibly as soon as August. The report says that the 4.7-inch model widely expected in the next release would then be followed by a 5.5-inch model roughly a month later, about the time Apple normally launches new iPhones.
Pegatron rumored to have 15 percent of iPhone 6 orders
Taiwanese supplier TSMC has delivered the first batch of Touch ID fingerprint sensors for several Apple products, including the iPhone 6, second-generation iPad Air, and third-generation iPad mini, supply chain sources claim. The sensors are reportedly being assembled by TSMC subsidiaries Xintec and Suzhou Crystal Semiconductor. While the rumor is hard to verify, Apple is likely receiving parts in preparation for mass production, since its flagship products -- iPhones and iPads -- are due to refresh in the fall. Reports have also indicated that Apple intends to expand use of Touch ID beyond the iPhone.
Includes rounded edges, flash
A new video (below) shows what appears to be a 3D-printed mockup of the next-generation iPhone. The unit has a 4.7-inch display, along with numerous other differences versus the iPhone 5s. These include a relocated power button, rounded edges, and a rounded flash. The mockup is also thought to fit rumors that the phone could be as little as 6mm thick, something previously claimed to be causing problems manufacturing batteries.
Company already said to be taking 40 percent of revenue from Apple
Analysts for two financial firms, Barclays and Morgan Stanley, are contending that Taiwanese firm Catcher Technology will supply metal casings for the next-generation iPhone. Both firms in fact expect Catcher's share of iPhone 6 casings to top 10 million units this year. Much of the argument is based on Catcher's existing involvement in the Apple supply chain; the firm is thought to produce casings for both the MacBook Pro and the iPhone 5s, to the degree that 40 percent of its revenue stems from Apple orders.
Device said to be nicknamed 'iPhone Air'
Apple's oft-rumored 5.5-inch version of the iPhone 6 has been pushed into 2015, claims Taiwanese publication the Industrial and Commercial Times. Apple has reportedly had trouble finding a battery that's both powerful and less than 2mm thick, needed to fit the 5.5-inch model's "very thin" profile. Suppliers have allegedly been referring to the device as the "iPhone Air," though that may not be the final product name.
Number of leaks continues to ramp up
New photos may have revealed more components for the next-generation iPhone, usually nicknamed the iPhone 6. An image from Chinese site Sina Weibo shows what's claimed to be a front panel for the device. Next to it for comparison is an iPhone 5s; while the panel has similar cutouts, it's also considerably larger, and sports thinner side bezels. This is consistent with most reports about the new iPhone. Apple is also believed to be working a on 5.5-inch model, though, whereas the panel seems closer to the anticipated 4.7-inch size.
Might theoretically be justified by larger screen size
Apple has been asking carriers for approval to raise the base subsidized price of the iPhone 6 from $199 to $299, claims Jefferies analyst Peter Misek. The carriers have allegedly balked at the idea so far. Apple could potentially justify the increase due to the phone's bigger size; it's unclear in fact if the hike would apply to the 4.7-inch model or the 5.5-inch one, since Misek refers to just one iPhone 6. Many shoppers would likely assume a 5.5-inch phone would be more expensive.