iPhone 6 release date, key features, and what to expect
January 7, 2013 by Beatweek
The iPhone 6 cycle has begun. It’s codename-checked in the latest beta test version of the iOS system software, according to various reports, which means that it’s coming sooner than later and we can expect its release date sometime this year. Apple will most likely begin beta testing iOS 7 in the spring or summer, and release the iPhone 6 in the fall of 2013, giving the current iPhone 5 the customary twelve months in the spotlight which nearly every past iPhone model has received (although there’s buzz of an iPhone 5S this spring to split the difference between the two). That begs the question of just what an iPhone 6 will look like, both literally and in terms of features. The iPhone 5 delivered the larger screen and 4G LTE networking which users had been hoping for, so what’s next? A number of key new features lie in wait…
Redesigned body: Apple took some heat when the iPhone 5 turned out to look like a simply taller and thinner version of the iPhone 4S, which in turn was externally identical to the iPhone 4 before it. After three years of focusing on the squared-off design, Apple has finally seemingly perfected the motif. Apple’s history suggests that such moments of glory are typically when it scraps the motif and goes in an entirely new direction. Many users have lamented the loss of curved siding which the first three iPhone generations offered, but that may be a goner thanks to Apple’s space saving decision to use the outer metal band of the phone as an antenna. The more likely move is to move on from the aging black-or-white limitations and finally offer the iPhone 6 in a few more color choices. The current color options on the iPod touch 5 feel a lot like a beta test to see which colors end up being popular on the form factor.
Battery life: Apple waited to bring 4G LTE networking to the iPhone until it had managed to create an LTE chipset that wasn’t a battery hog. But while the LTE enabled iPhone 5 gets better battery life than any other LTE phone on the market, it still has no better battery life than the iPhone 4S. Whether it be via new battery technology, new power saving technology, or merely the fact that the other components will continue to shrink and the iPhone 6 doesn’t need to be any thinner than the 5 already is, expect battery life to improve significantly.
Pricing: Apple has been testing the waters for a new pricing scheme by allowing vendors like Wal-Mart to temporarily offer the iPhone 5 at a discount. So that could signal the end of Apple’s longtime $0-$99-$199 pricing scheme for the good, better, and best iPhone models. Just how low Apple might go with its pricing is unclear. Most competing Android smartphones carry the same price tag as the iPhone (Samsung isn’t fooling anyone with its deceptive “$99 down” pricing scheme on the Galaxy S III), so with Apple already in the sweet spot for smartphone pricing, it’s not a guarantee that prices will shift downward, just a possibility…
Processing power: 4G LTE only determines the speed at which your web pages and email load, or the speed of your app downloads. The overall speed of a smartphone in terms of how fast apps launch and how sophisticated the graphics of games can be is dependent on the speed of the internal microprocessor. Apple develops its own mobile processors in house, and tends to come up with a new generation every year. So expect the iPhone 6 to gain speed which pushes it ever closer to having horsepower comparable to that of a traditional computer. And expect new apps in 2014 which can take advantage of that speed.
What won’t change: The new Lightning port on the iPhone 5, which allows it to charge significantly faster than previous iPhones but requires a new kind of cable, is here to stay. Apple CEO Tim Cook said as much. So don’t get worried about Apple using yet another new port on the iPhone 6. The four inch screen has proven popular with users because it provides more screen real estate but still allows the iPhone 5 to easily fit in users’ pockets, so expect that to remain intact with the 6 as well.