With the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in September 2014 Apple, for the first time ever Apple gave us two high-end phones and a real choice to consumers. With all of that success, we’re all interested now in how Apple can follow this up with its next smartphones. We’re concentrating on the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus here, as it seems, given previous form, that these will be the next handsets. For bigger changes, we’re most likely going to have to wait until 2015 with the launch of the iPhone 7.
There have been rumours that Apple will stagger its launches this year, giving us the iPhone 6S alongside the Apple Watch in April, and dishing out the iPhone 7 later in the year. This really doesn’t seem likely for several reasons. First, this would only give a short gap between the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which would likely annoy people that have just bought the new handset. Secondly, it doesn’t give Apple much time to develop anything new and it’s unlikely that the next CPU, the Apple A9 will be ready in time.
With no firm leaks of new handsets yet (and we’d expect to have more if we really were going to see the phones in April), we think that Apple’s sticking to its current schedule. Going by the previous launch dates (see table below), if Apple sticks to the same sort of release schedule, it should mean that the iPhone 6S will be out on September 18th 2015.
|iPhone 4S||September 12th 2011|
|iPhone 5||September 21st 2012|
|iPhone 5S/5C||September 20th, 2013|
|iPhone 6/6 Plus||September 19th, 2014|
The success of the iPhone 6 and the larger iPhone 6 Plus, means that we’re likely to both models get a refresh with the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. However, that leaves one gap in the market. At the moment, Apple also sells the iPhone 5S, which is just about the best and most powerful mini smartphone available. Come September 2015, though, and this handset will be two years old and getting on a bit.
The question is, will Apple replace this model with a newer 4in device, the iPhone 6C (potentially the iPhone 6S Mini)? Rumours say that the handset will use the A8 chip of the iPhone 6S and a similar, but smaller metal case (it won’t be plastic as the iPhone 5C was). However, there’s no real evidence that Apple will go down this route and its mostly just wishful thinking.
With the stunning sales of the 4.7in iPhone 6, which most people agree is the perfect size, there seems to be little point in Apple releasing a slightly smaller handset. We’ll stick our heads out and say that there won’t be three new iPhones this year.
Apple’s usual pattern is to make one brand-new design for the first model in the line, such as the iPhone 6, and follow this up with an ‘S’ model, which has the same case but upgraded internals. We’ve seen this time and time again, and it doesn’t feel as though Apple will break that tradition this year. With that in mind, you can bet the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus will look like the existing models, with perhaps a few design tweaks. Inside, we’re bound to get some improvements, though.
Putting it mildly, Apple and Samsung haven’t exactly gotten along in recent years with plenty of court cases between the two companies. It looks as though the relationship could be on the mend, with the South Korean publication, Maeil Business Newspaper, reporting that Samsung will manufacture 75 per cent of the SoCs for the iPhone 6S.
Looking at existing model numbers, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus both have the A8 SoC, so the iPhone 6S is likely to have the A9. Details are thin on the ground, but the rumour has it that Apple is after Samsung’s 14nm fabrication process (down from 20nm on the A8). Switching to 14nm will let Apple make faster, cooler and more power-efficient processors, which will give better performance and better battery life.
With the launch of the iPad Air 2, Apple fitted 2GB of RAM into a mobile product for the first time, with the current iPhones having just 1GB. As optimised as iOS is, 2GB would give the company more flexibility, would allow the iPhones to run more complicated apps, and would make task switching that bit quicker without apps having to refresh their data. With memory production ramping up, it seems as though there are no supply change issues to worry about.
We really wanted to see the iPhone 6 launch with a sapphire glass front panel. This material is second only to diamonds when it comes to hardness and is practically indestructable. In demonstrations, sapphire glass couldn’t be scratched with a knife or shattered with a hammer. However, it’s expensive and complex to manufacture and Apple has had problems with suppliers.
Focus Taiwan has reported that Foxconn is building a new sapphire glass factory, although it seems unlikely that it will be ready and up to capacity in time for September. Hopefully, the iPhone 7 will be the first to use this technology for its front screen.
The new USB Type-C standard is designed so that it can be plugged in both ways round, just as the Lightning connector can be. Apple is said to be ready to go down this route, including the new cables with the iPhone 6S, alongside a new USB charger. It will make the cables incompatible with existing USB chargers, and existing Lightning cable incompatible with the new charger; convertor cables would be required. Still, it is the way forward – check out the video to see how this might work.
Apple tends to keep its pricing the same from year-to-year, so expect the iPhone 6S to cost £539 for the 16GB version, £619 for the 64GB version and £699 for the 128GB version. The iPhone 6S Plus is likely to cost £619 for the 16GB version, £699 for the 64GB version and £789 for the 128GB version.