A larger iPhone 6 could bring Apple challenges for general usability
If the rumor mill is to be given any credence, Apple will be releasing an iPhone with a larger display, possibly between 4.5 and 4.8-inches, along with a larger 5.5-inch or 6-inch 'phablet' later this year. Although Apple has been content to run its own race historically, the rise in popularity of large Android smartphones, and the expectations of Wall Street, almost demands that Apple offers an iPhone that appeals to users who prefer larger displays. In fact, it would be more of surprise come the unveiling of the 'iPhone 6' if Apple were to release only another 4-inch device. Until now, Apple's seeming reluctance to embrace a larger iPhone has revolved around one-handed usability and what it considers to be unacceptable trade-offs that compromise the user experience. If Apple does indeed launch an iPhone with a larger display, how will it maintain the usability of an iPhone with a larger display?
Performance artist begins queuing before release announcement
A Japanese blogger decided to line up for the iPhone 6, after being spurned of his chance to be the first person in line for an iPhone 5. Apple fan and performance artist Yoppy donned his iPhone cosplay, and started queuing for the new phone outside of the flagship Apple store in Tokyo, Japan, likely to wait for months before an official announcement will be made about its release by the company.
Pixel density seen jumping to 441ppi
Apple is planning to ship two next-generation iPhones with 4.7- and 5.5-inch displays, say sources for the South China Morning Post. The sources have allegedly seen the prototypes, and in spite of recent rumors, claim that the phones will use a sapphire protective layer. The Apple/GT Advanced sapphire plant in Arizona is believed to have the capacity to churn out tens or hundreds of millions of sapphire screen covers.
Suggests fingerprint tech might be built into screens
Both the Apple iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy S5 -- the latter of which is expected to be announced later this month -- will feature bezelless screens, possibly with fingerprint scanners built in, a source tells the Korea Herald. In the case of the S5, the fingerprint technology will allegedly be limited to the bottom of the screen, where Samsung is also said to be planning to ditch hardware buttons in favor of software controls. The person comments that while doing whole-screen fingerprint scanning may be possible in the later half of 2014, there are still technical obstacles to overcome.
Plastic of iPhone 5c to disappear, sources claim
Apple is planning to ship two new iPhone models this year, one of which will have a display over 5 inches, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. The other is expected to measure over 4.5 inches. Otherwise the phones are expected to take after the style of the iPhone 5s, and the plastic exterior of the iPhone 5c will allegedly be discontinued. The new devices are forecast to debut in the second half of 2014; the smaller phone is said to be ready for mass production, but the bigger one is reportedly in "preliminary development."
Phone also expected to make jump to 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Apple has effectively "locked down" most of the design of the iPhone 6, claims Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri. He cites sources in Apple's supply chain, and contends that the phone will have a 4.8-inch display, making it more competitive with devices like the Samsung Galaxy S4 or the Moto X. He also suggests that Apple will upgrade to 802.11ac Wi-Fi, letting the device take advantage of modern Macs and routers, as well as gigabit Internet connections in regions that have them.
Also bets on possible AMOLED screen for rumored 'iWatch' device
Computer research firm DisplaySearch has published its 2014 tech forecast, and is predicting that the next-generation iPhone (expected to arrive next fall) will sport a dramatically larger display. The report -- which is not based on any insider knowledge, but has in the past been known to guess correctly on Apple's moves -- calls for as large as a 5.5-inch high-resolution display. The company also believes Apple may use AMOLED display technology for its rumored "iWatch."
Switching away from subcontracting could improve production quality
TSMC will start producing fingerprint sensors for the next-generation iPhone in the second quarter, industry sources claim. The supplier will reportedly use a 65nm process at its 12-inch fab, and also bring backend wafer-level chip scale packaging in-house, instead of subcontracting it. In-house packaging is expected to improve production yields; trouble with manufacturing fingerprint sensors is often believed to be the reason the iPhone 5s shipped in such low numbers last September.
Tech could migrate to other iOS devices
A newly-published Apple patent application may back rumors that Apple is planning to add optical image stabilization to the iPhone 6. The filing describes a camera with both OIS and autofocus features, compressed into a module small enough to fit into a smartphone or tablet. In Apple's implementation, OIS functions would be integrated into the voice coil motor actuators used for autofocus.
New factory being built near Shanghai to handle expected demand
An unsourced report from a Taiwanese trade paper has reported that electronics manufacturer Pegatron will supply approximately half of the future "iPhone 6" orders from Apple. The company says it is building a new factory to meet future demand, and expects to grow revenues by Tw$68 billion ($2.6 billion US) over the course of 2014. Pegatron already produces iPhones and other items for Apple, and various electronics for other manufacturers.
Camera may offer other improvements like optical image stabilization
Shares for iPhone camera module supplier Largan Precision took a major hit yesterday, following rumors Apple won't be changing the resolution of the iPhone 6 camera, according to the China Post. Nomura Securities analysts brought the rumors to the fore, which suggest that Apple will keep resolution at 8 megapixels instead of bumping up to 16 megapixels, as anticipated by some others. A few rival phones -- like the Sony Xperia Z1 -- are already above that figure, and Nokia's Lumia 1020 has a colossal 41-megapixel sensor.
Reports still conflicting on possible sizes
Later this year, Apple is planning to release iPhones with displays measuring 4.7 and 5.7 inches, according to Chinese site C Technology. The information is alleged to come from anonymous Foxconn executives. It's expected that both phones will come with biometric features, such as the Touch ID sensor already in the iPhone 5s.
Apple may attempt to play up current iPhone advantage
Apple may give the iPhone 6 a 5-inch, 1080p display, but design it such that people can still use it one-handed, claims Japanese magazine Mac Fan. A number of smartphones -- like the Galaxy S4 -- are already at or over the 5-inch mark, but are so wide that one or both hands have to be dedicated to holding them. The iPhone 6 may get around this by making its side bezels as "thin as possible," presumably taking design cues from the iPad mini and iPad Air. On the Mini, at least, Apple uses palm detection technology to allow people to rest part of their hands on-screen without making accidental taps or gestures.
Claims iPhone 6 will have 4.8-inch screen
Jefferies analyst Peter Misek has upgraded Apple stock from a "hold" to a "buy" rating, and set a new $600 price target. The change is attributed to a talk Misek had with suppliers, who are allegedly becoming more flexible with their component pricing. Apple's profits depend heavily on its ability to secure cheap parts, since the company is mostly inflexible when it comes to retail pricing.