We don’t know much, but we know we want it
Latest update: Apple is reportedly already ordering camera components for the iPhone 6C, suggesting that it both exists and will be with us fairly soon.
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have been with us long enough now that we’re getting a little tired of them. Fickle, we know. But the mooted specs and features of the new iPhone (probably called the iPhone 6S, with the iPhone 7 coming in 2016) are starting to trickle out.
Current highlights include Force Touch, the Apple SIM, a DSLR-quality camera and double the RAM of the iPhone 6, so you’re free to start getting excited.
We’ve also rounded up 10 things we think should appear in the next iteration for Apple to finally have the all-conquering handset it’s been trying to create for so many years.
What would you like to see in the iPhone 6S and iPhone 7? Do let us know in the comments. But before we get to what we want to see, here are the best (and most believable) of the rumors on offer so far:
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Apple’s next flagship
- When is it out? Very likely September 2015
- What will it cost? A lot, at least £539 / $649 / AU$999
Apple iPhone 6S / iPhone 7 release date
According to GSM Dome Apple has started ordering camera sensors from Sony for the iPhone 6C, which follows news that Samsung is reportedly already producing the A9 processor that is expected to be included in the iPhone 6S, so all of the iPhone 6S/7 models could be on target for a September launch.
September 2015 is our best guess for the iPhone 6S, as previous models have launched in that same month.
Apple iPhone 6S / iPhone 7 design
The last thing Apple wants is a bendy phone, so it’s not entirely surprising that we’re hearing rumors the iPhone 6S / iPhone 7 might feature the lightweight and strong Series 7000 Aluminium Alloy it uses on the Apple Watch Sport.
There are numerous Apple patents in the wild which point to weird and wonderful designs, but haven’t yet come to anything, such as more than one fora phone with a curved display, a little like the Galaxy Note Edge. It’s possible that we could see that in the iPhone 6S, but we’d be very surprised.
Not only would it be a risky move to bring something so untested to market but Apple has just redesigned its handsets with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, so in all likelihood this year’s models will stick to roughly the same design, albeit with beefed up innards, such as a faster A9 processor.
While we haven’t seen the iPhone 6S yet, we may have seen the iPhone 6C. The existence of such a phone is looking ever more likely, with a handful of reports and rumors now pointing to one. We might also be seeing pink, as other rumors suggest Apple will be adding a pink option to its flagship line-up.
Apple iPhone 6S / iPhone 7 screen
There are rumors that Apple might release another 4-inch phone this year and it may even have curved screen edges in line with the iPhone 6, so while larger sizes are likely to remain an option it seems the Cupertino company might not have abandoned its smaller handsets.
As well as being available in a smaller size the screen might get tougher, as rumors suggest that Apple has teamed with Foxconn to produce sapphire displays for the iPhone 6S.
Such screens were rumored for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but production difficulties seemingly got in the way. Hopefully this time we actually will get them as it would bring better scratch protection and higher visibility to the screen.
Apple iPhone 6S / iPhone 7 rivals
As the only flagship iOS device the iPhone 6S will be in the fortunate position of not having any direct rivals. But look towards Android and it could have quite a lot of competition. The HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S6 are high end alternatives and are likely to have dropped in price considerably by the time the iPhone 6S launches.
Both also sport a premium design, making them every bit as aesthetically pleasing as the iPhone 6. Speaking of the iPhone 6, that too could be a rival, since the iPhone 6S will probably have the same look and may not have many new features.
Then there’s the upcoming LG G4 and Sony Xperia Z4 which could tempt all but the staunchest of Apple fans and Samsung is bound to have another Note up its sleeve, with the Galaxy Note 5 likely to be a serious iPhone 6S Plus rival.
Apple iPhone 6S / iPhone 7 camera and battery
Apple has acquired a company which creates smartphone cameras designed to match DSLR quality, so we could see a big jump in image quality on the iPhone 6S. That lines up with earlier reports from Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, who said the iPhone 6S will have “the biggest camera jump ever”, featuring a two-lens system which apparently brings it up to DSLR quality.
We could even speculate what that camera might be, as Sony has announced a 21MP stacked CMOS sensor which might fit the bill. There’s even an outside chance that the camera might include a lens swap feature, making it even more like a DSLR, as back in early 2014 an Apple patent for swappable lenses was uncovered, though patents don’t always turn into products.
But don’t hold your breath for these features, as the original two-lens rumor has had doubt cast on it by a separate source, claiming that it won’t happen as it would apparently require a radical redesign of the chassis- something we’re not likely to see until the following year.
The battery may be in for a boost though, as Apple is seemingly going on a hiring spree for battery-related positions.
Apple iPhone 6S / iPhone 7 OS and power
The iPhone 6S will of course come with a new processor, probably dubbed the A9 and we’re hearing again that Samsung is in the frame to build the chip, which will apparently be 15% smaller, 20% more powerful and 35% more power efficient than the Apple A8 processor found in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
It will also be better to flick around, thanks to the mooted upgrade in the specs – 2GB of RAM would certainly soup up an already zippy phone and it’s an upgrade which has now been rumored a second time, so it might well happen. That said, the obvious worry is whether developers hoovering up that extra power will cause Apple to return to its usual battery woes.
Reports suggest Apple will publicly try out its next operating system through a beta system later this summer. According to reports from 9to5mac Apple will let users sign up to a beta programme for iOS 9 with access coming to those public testers at some point during the summer.
If the rumors are to be believed it will then launch on the iPhone 6S/7, but will likely only supply bug fixes and won’t introduce any major new features.
Apple iPhone 6S / iPhone 7 other features
The iPhone 6S could get two innovative features if rumors are to be believed. First up there’s the Apple SIM, which first appeared in the iPad Air 2 and allows users to switch network without changing their SIM card. Network freedom would be great, but we’re not convinced that carriers will support it.
The other rumored feature takes the form of ‘Force Touch’. This is something we’re first seeing on the Apple Watch and it allows the display to differentiate between different strength presses, responding in different ways.
According to sources speaking to Apple Insider and echoed by The Wall Street Journal, the feature will make it across to the iPhone 6S (or possibly just the iPhone 6S Plus).
Aside from those things it’s expected that support for Apple’s new streaming music service will be included in the iOS 8.4 update, but that isn’t confirmed just yet so Apple may wait until iOS 9 on the iPhone 6S and bring it in as a major new feature. The music streaming service comes after Apple purchased Beats last year and is expected to take on the tough competition of Spotify.
Apple iPhone 6S / iPhone 7 cost
There aren’t yet any rumors associated with the cost of the iPhone 6S, but we can take an educated guess that it won’t start at less than £539 / $649 / AU$999, since that’s what you’re looking at for an iPhone 6.
The only possible exception to that is the iPhone 6C, which likely will be a little cheaper if it exists. If anything though the iPhone 6S might be even more expensive, since it’s likely to be jam-packed with high-end tech.