Latest update: The iPhone 6S could be fattening up and getting a new colour scheme.
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 rumours 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 a leaked Vodafone email the iPhone 6S will be arriving in September, which comes as no surprise at all, given that September is when new models typically launch. However it gets a bit more specific with a date of September 25.
On the other hand an earlier report pegs the iPhone 6S / iPhone 7 as launching in August. Apparently the change (if true) is due to an excessive component yield. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo – who has a track record that’s better-than-average but not perfect – thinks an August announcement is likely as well. We’re not convinced though.
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 ahead of schedule.
But while an August launch would be nice September 2015 is still our best guess for the iPhone 6S, as previous models have launched in that same month.
Apple iPhone 6S / iPhone 7 design
The iPhone 6S could be putting on weight, as a new report suggests it will be 0.2mm thicker and 0.15mm taller than the iPhone 6. That shouldn’t make much difference but it could mean the camera lens will no longer protrude from the back.
It could be getting a new colour scheme too, as the gold version will apparently be more yellow than it is on the iPhone 6, the space grey version may be getting darker and a rose gold version is said to be on the cards, as well as a pink model.
The last thing Apple wants is a bendy phone, so it’s not entirely surprising that we’re also hearing rumours the iPhone 6S / iPhone 7 might feature the lightweight and strong Series 7000 aluminium alloy it uses on the Apple WatchSport.
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, as it would be a risky move and Apple has only just redesigned its handsets.
Apple iPhone 6S / iPhone 7 screen
The iPhone 6S will probably remain at 4.7 inches, with a 5.5-inch iPhone 6S Plus option too and possibly even a 4.0-inch iPhone 6C model.
As well as being available in a smaller size, the screen might get tougher, as rumours suggest that Apple has teamed with Foxconn to produce sapphire displays for the iPhone 6S.
Such screens were rumoured 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.
Sources spoke to Chinese site Feng and revealed the iPhone 6S is set to get a 1080p display whilst the iPhone 6S Plus will jump up to 2K. We don’t know much about the site – let’s hope Apple has a solution for battery life to tackle the amount of extra juice this is sure to eat up.
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 LG G4, which could tempt all but the staunchest of Apple fans and Samsung is bound to have another Note up its sleeve, with the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 likely to be a serious iPhone 6S Plus rival.
Apple iPhone 6S / iPhone 7 camera and battery
The front-facing camera on the iPhone 6S could benefit from a flash, 1080p video, slow motion video and a panorama mode if hints found in the iOS 9 codeare to be believed.
Apple could also be giving the iPhone 6S a megapixel boost, upping its rear camera to 12MP if rumours prove accurate. Apple has acquired a companywhich creates smartphone cameras designed to match DSLR quality, so we could also 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. 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.
But don’t hold your breath for these features, as the original two-lens rumour 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 clearly ship with iOS 9 and we know all about Apple’s upcoming software now too. Expect improvements to Siri and Apple Maps, a new keyboard and battery life extending smarts among other things.
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 rumoured 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.
Apple iPhone 6S / iPhone 7 other features
The iPhone 6S could get two innovative features if rumours 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 rumoured 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.
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.