We know Apple is preparing to consolidate its grip on the high-end smartphone market with the device it will probably call "iPhone 6" when it ships September 19, so what can you expect?
Apple seems to think a lot of people will buy its ninth iPhone(s) when it/they ship. In anticipation of high demand the company is asking manufacturers to supply between 70 million and 80 million iPhones by December 30.
Apple is about to "imitate" the key innovation to come from its many Android-based competitors: it will introduce both large (5.5-inch) and normal (4.7-inch) iPhones. While one analyst has claimed the larger device may not appear until next year, more recent reports suggest this isn't the case. And Apple's going to sell these in boatfuls…
A report claims Apple's 5.5-inch iPhone seems likely to offer a sharper 1,704-x-960 resolution display. The notion gains a little extra vindication on news that Xcode 6 lets developers test larger iPhone and iPad screen sizes. (There have been whispers of a 12-inch iPad Pro).
While competitors focus on display size as their one competitive advantage, Apple continues its work with advanced materials and production processes, meaning its new iPhone 6 will be an ultra-thin 7mm -- that's around 0.6mm thinner than the iPhone 5S. Others predict the device will be 6.5mm-7mm thin.
Thin battery too
Apple solved one roadblock to slimming its devices last year when it abandoned USB for the Lightning connector. This year's model takes another leap forward, using an improbably thin 2mm battery.
Apple has been making huge investments in sapphire production across the last year as it prepares to use the substance in iPhone 6. Using sapphire should make the iPhone 6 far more scratch resistant, but is unlikely to make it immortal.
A 13-megapixel Sony Exmor IMX220 camera will feature in iPhone 6, according to one Chinese blog. In combination with the integrated imaging software and design of the device you'll get much more from this smartphone camera than other models equipped with more megapixels. More here.
One of my favourite iPhone accessories yet is the Optrix PhotoProX. This vastly improves what iPhoneographers can do with their smartphone, but there may be some competition if this Apple patent suggests anything. Apple is deadly serious about photography. Optical image stabilization, too?
Hard to make
As you might expect when attempting to mass produce devices based on cutting edge materials for a client and end user customers with high expectations, Apple's manufacturing partners are finding it hard to maintain yield rates, leading to speculation of delays to the as yet unannounced products. (Can a rumor be delayed?)
So hard they need an army
Foxconn is recruiting 100,000 people (aged 23-40-years) to its factory in Zhengzhou City of Henan Province, northern China, mainly for iPhone production. Foxconn intends making 120 million iPhones in 2014.
Apple hasn't announced anything but there's already dozens of images purporting to represent iPhone 6 components. Enjoy these if they float your boat, but most will be fakes while perhaps one or two will be what they claim. Place your bets.
When will it ship?
Apple likes to say it won't ship a product until it is ready, but the rumor mill seems to be suggesting September 19 as the most likely launch date for the new device.
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