LAST UPDATED: 24 December
Our guide to all the rumours, news and speculation surrounding the Apple iPhone 6, which is due to be announced in mid- to late-2014 and feature a larger screen and all-new design.
Expected Key Features:
- All-new design
- Larger, possibly curved, screen of either 4.7in or 5.5in
- A8 processor
- Lytro-style refocusing camera
- iOS 8 software
- May 2014 release date
It doesn't take long for the hysteria surrounding the launch of a new iPhone to subside and be replaced by gossip, rumours and leaks of the next model.
For the iPhone 6, expected to be announced in the third quarter of 2014, the excitement will be mostly driven by rumours of a larger screen, fitting neatly with Apple's established strategy of updating the phone's visual appearance every other year, meaning an all-new iPhone for 2014.
Alongs the larger screen - or possibly even a choice of screen sizes - expect to see iOS 7 become iOS 8, the phone's 64-bit processor to get even faster, and the introduction of more features for the iPhone 5s' TouchID fingerprint scanner.
Apple iPhone 6: Design
We're yet to see any leaked shots of the iPhone 6 - expect those to flood in next year - but given widespread talk of increased screen sizes for the next model, we're expecting a major design update too.
Apple historically updates the iPhone's appearance every other year when the device's numerical identifier increases - so far the iPhone 3G, 4 and 5 have all featured major design changes, whereas the 4s and 5s have not.
A larger screen would mean smaller bezels to keep the overall footprint as small as possible - remember, Apple prides itself on the iPhone's 4in screen being usable with one hand, tiny bezels will be needed if that claim is to be made of a larger display.
We're expecting aluminium and glass to feature heavily in the iPhone 6's construction, and that's fine by us - but only if Apple finds a way of making the phone's polished and chamfered edges more scratch-resistant.
Apple iPhone 6: Screen
Sources familiar with Apple's plans say the California company is working on iPhones with screens ranging from 4.8in to 6in, much larger than the relatively small 4in screen seen on the iPhone 5.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, the anonymous sources said, despite only ever producing iPhones in two screen sizes (3.5in from 2007, until the 4in iPhone 5 arrived a year ago), Apple is now more willing to offer a lineup of multiple screen sizes, with particular interest in a 4.8in model.
These latest claims mirror a report from Reuters in June, citing sources who also said Apple is working on larger iPhones with screens ranging from 4.7in to 5.7in; theWSJ itself has also previously reported Apple's research into larger screens, stating in July that Apple was looking at producing a bigger iPhone.
Rumours of larger iPhones were rekindled in November, when an industry insider spoke to Bloomberg, claiming Apple was working on devices with 4.7in and 5.5in displays. At these sizes, the iPhone 6 would be much closer in terms of size to its Android rivals than ever before.
The source also claimed Apple is experimenting with curved displays - similar to the recently released Samsung Galaxy Round and LG G Flex - and screens which can detect varying levels of pressure.
Apple once claimed its 4in iPhone was the perfect size for a phone because it can be used comfortably in one hand, but the California company may well be forced to change its reasoning, as pressure from larges phones by Samsung, Nokia, HTC and Sony has failed to subside.
Apple iPhone 6: Processor [UPDATED]
A report from the Korean Economic Daily in September, just days after the new iPhone 5s and 5c went on sale, claimed Apple will ditch Samsung as its main chip supplier for future iPhone, in favour of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).
It was reported by the Wall Street Journal earlier this year that Apple had signed a deal for TSMC to take over as primary chip supplier from 2014.
The Korean newspaper said the iPhone 6's processor - expected to be called the A8 - will be produced mostly, but not exclusively, by TSMC. Samsung will continue to produce chips for Apple, but in smaller volumes.
UPDATE: Chinese website DigiTimes stated on 23 December that Apple would use a 20nm processor manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company for an upcoming larger iPhone, which the site expects to see released as early as May, 2014.
Apple broke new ground with the 64-bit A7 chip in the iPhone 5s, so it will be a tall order for the A8 to make another significant leap forward. As Apple never discloses clock speeds and RAM, we'll have to wait for the iPhone 6 announcement itself to hear how much faster and (hopefully) energy efficient the new chip will be.
Apple iPhone 6: Camera
A slightly grey area for now, all that's been said about the camera of the iPhone 6 is that is could feature Lytro-style refocusing software, as seen on the Nokia Lumia 1520.
A patent filed by Apple in 2011 and made public two years later describes a camera with a "refocusable mode". The feature would let users take a photo with the iPhone 6, then decide whether they want the foreground or background in focus - or to correct an out-of-focus image.
Otherwise, we can expect to see an increase from the iPhone 5s camera's 8-megapixel resolution, along with enhanced hardware and software to keep Apple's efforts competitive with a growing range of impressive smartphone cameras from Nokia.
Apple iPhone 6: Price
The iPhone 6 will not be cheap. Apple sells the iPhone 5s for between £549 and £709, and the 5c is priced from £469, so we can expect the iPhone 6 to cost around the £550 to £600 mark.
Apple's only saving grace here will be if the minimum storage option of 16GB is finally upped to 32GB, which would see the top model increase from 64 to 128GB. The company already sells iPads with the larger capacity, and in lieu of a microSD card slot for expandable storage it seems only fair that 32GB becomes the new minimum.
Apple iPhone 6: Release Date [UPDATED]
The first three iPhone were released in either June or July, and the most recent three were released in either October or September. Given this information, we doubt the iPhone 6 will appear until June at the absolute earliest - but in reality, we expect a September announcement to be much more realistic, with a release date of around a week later.
UPDATE: Chinese publication DigiTimes states its sources believe Apple will launch a larger iPhone in May, 2014. This would be considerably earlier than the expected autumn release date for the iPhone 6.