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8/28/2014
08:06 AM
Jeff Bertolucci
Jeff Bertolucci
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8 Things We Want In iPhone 6

What features rank as most wanted in Apple's soon-to-debut iPhone? Let's talk battery, camera, display, and more.
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(Source: iPhone 6 concept by graphic designer Martin Hajek)
(Source: iPhone 6 concept by graphic designer Martin Hajek)

Here's what we want, Apple
We're coming down to the wire. All signs point to a Sept. 9 launch for Apple's next-generation iPhone, better known by its unofficial moniker, iPhone 6. That's less than two weeks from now, meaning the endless series of iPhone speculation stories (yes, like this one) will soon get a stake through the heart. However, they won't die a vampire's death. Rather, they will rise again this fall, when rumors of the iPhone 7 begin to leak out from Apple's vast supply chain in Asia.

One interesting thing about iPhone rumors is that they invariably focus on hardware specs -- screen size, processor, camera, storage capacity, and so on. It's much easier for Apple to silence chatter on new software, particularly when developed in-house, than it is to keep far-flung suppliers from spilling hardware factoids to eager journalists and analysts.

As a result, we tend to hear far more gossip about Apple's prerelease hardware than its software. A good example of this came at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, when senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi introduced Swift, a new programming language for creating iOS and Mac OS X apps. Swift took the keynote audience and blogosphere by surprise, as rumors leading up to the event hadn't mentioned it as one of Apple's likely WWDC announcements.

We already know a lot about the iPhone 6, but the handset's precise physical appearance remains something of a mystery. (The slide above isn't a leaked snapshot of the new iPhone -- it's too far too pretty for that -- but rather a conceptual image created by graphic designer Martin Hajek.) One thing is certain: Despite being notably larger than its predecessor, the new model(s) will retain Apple's slim-and-sleek aesthetic.

What else is new? Well, one recent rumor says the larger of the two new iPhones, the one with the 5.5-inch display, will be named the "iPhone 6L" (the L presumably standing for "Large").

It'll be interesting to see how Apple prices the iPhone 6. Will the 5.5-inch model be the premium edition, perhaps with features not available in its 4.7-inch sibling? Or will screen size be the only distinction between the two? Assuming the smaller model has more mainstream appeal -- as it probably will in the North American market, where 5-inch or larger phones (i.e., phablets) aren't as popular as they are in Asia -- the latter option seems likely.

Exlore the slideshow to see the top eight things we want to see from the iPhone 6. And tell us if you agree with our choices.

Jeff Bertolucci is a technology journalist in Los Angeles who writes mostly for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, The Saturday Evening Post, and InformationWeek. View Full Bio

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ANewNickname
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ANewNickname,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/28/2014 | 10:32:18 AM
Unlocked and usable on all carriers out of the box
The subject says it all -- it's time to abandon the carrier-centric model. I will sacrifice weight and size for multiple RF gear, if necessary (it shouldn't be), although those might be configured as interchangeable modules. Ideally, the phone would dynamically roam and I would be billed for time only by whatever carrier I was using at the time. I also want no carrier-mandated software other than that required to support the phone's basic functions. Let the market decide on backup, sports apps, etc.
melgross
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melgross,
User Rank: Ninja
8/28/2014 | 10:37:16 AM
Re: Unlocked and usable on all carriers out of the box
You can buy those at an Apple Store now.
ANewNickname
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ANewNickname,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/28/2014 | 2:36:15 PM
Re: Unlocked and usable on all carriers out of the box
I'll check on that at the Apple Store next week. I was told previously that a Verizon phone wouldn't work on AT&T or TMobile networks. Something about 4G vs 3G, I didn't pay much attention after "won't work". Thanks for the tip.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/28/2014 | 3:47:57 PM
Re: Unlocked and usable on all carriers out of the box
@Melgross: I was not aware that you could buy an unlocked iPhone out of the box at the apple store that is usable on all carriers. I mean, I know you can buy one at the Apple store and then choose your carrier, but aren't you still ultimately locked in with that one carrier (at least int he States)? I'm not aware of any iPhone available in the U.S. that can be used across multiple carriers -- my understanding is that you always need a contract with a specific carrier.

Did you buy you iPhone in the states? And you're able to use it out of the box (without hacking it) on multiple carriers without being locked into a single-carrier rlationship in the U.S.?
zaious
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zaious,
User Rank: Ninja
8/29/2014 | 12:48:56 AM
Re: Unlocked and usable on all carriers out of the box
@Susan: unlocked iPhone can be bought from Apple, but it is not in stock all the time -it is a rare item. And, many Apple stores do not have one once you ask for. There are people who visit to USA(for pelasure or business) and return home with an unlocked iPhone for use at home (abroad).
Only foreigners would be potential customers for the unlocked device.

As I heard, for some US carriers, if you buy an unlocked iPhone with your own money and hook it to their network, they will start charging extra money (highly priced data) as if the phone was subsidized by the carrier. Therefore, you should buy it locked, at a subsidized price and happily pay the for the highly priced data. To me it sounded ridiculus. I also heard that some competition has made some improvent to this weird practice.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
8/29/2014 | 10:45:54 PM
Re: Unlocked and usable on all carriers out of the box
@Susan: Flexible/unlocked iPhones direct from Apple is nothing particularly new.  As early as 2011 (if not sooner), the company was working on phones that would offer 1) dual compatibility with GSM and CDMA and 2) universal SIM compatibility.  Additionally, they hold a patent for software that would send carrier information direct to a user's phone and allow the user to easily shop and compare rate plans via their iPhone -- taking power away from the carriers and making choice of carrier irrelevant so long as the choice of phone is the iPhone.
melgross
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melgross,
User Rank: Ninja
8/28/2014 | 10:39:49 AM
RAM, SoC
It's already been shown that GeekBar was looking at the wrong thing. So it's still possible that 2GB RAM is possible. In fact, for the 9.7" iPad, at least, 2GB seems assured. Will Apple's SoC run at 2.6GHz? That's a good question. There are two types of CPU's. The first is what's called a narrow design, and runs at a high speed. Qualcomm's designs work that way, up to 2.7GHz. The second is called a wide design, and runs on a much slower clock. The A7 is one of those designs. In fact, it's the only major SoC to work that way. Last year, it ran at 1.3GHz for the phone, and 1.4GHz for the ipad. Assumptions that it will run at 2GHz, or higher, are no more than guesses. If Apple were to double the running clock, they would need to make major design changes. Would they do that? Why? As all should know by now, it's not clock speed that tells us anything about performance when comparing two, or more, different processor families. Last year, the clock speed was about the same as the year before, when they still had 32 processing, and a smaller manufacturing process. This year, the process will be smaller still. Apple can use that for more transistors to improve performance, or dramatically increase clock speed. Increasing clock speed by so much would, as mentioned, require major redesign. It would also limit performance increases in the future, as that's getting near the maximum clock speed. Better to increase clock by another small amount, and add to the core designs the way Apple has been doing all along. So I doubt clocks will be over 2GHz this year.
D. Henschen
IW Pick
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
8/28/2014 | 12:19:50 PM
How about a screen that doesn't crack?
Apple has notoriously wimpy sceen glass. Unless you have one of those giant protective cases, you can expect to crack or shatter your screen. How about real Gorilla Glass on the iPhone 6?
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
8/28/2014 | 1:40:36 PM
Re: How about a screen that doesn't crack?
I agree that they need to improve on their screen glass while they are there, they should include tougher case as well.  I would really like to have a memory slot.  The way people take picture and video,  memory runs out very quickly.  More battery power is great.  Sometimes, you won't go past a single day without having to recharge your iphone. 
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
8/28/2014 | 1:47:17 PM
Re: How about a screen that doesn't crack?
I have a Lifeproof case that is far from gargantuan but very protective. Lots of hard drops onto hard floors and the iPhone keeps on ticking. Still, the crowd had spoken loudly that a sturdier display is in order here.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/28/2014 | 3:44:33 PM
Re: How about a screen that doesn't crack?
@Doug: Yes! Gorilla Glass would have saved me a lot of heartache. i have never understood why they don't use it on the iPhone. Any idea? Is it just corporate quibbling that stops that from happening, or do you think Gorilla Glass is just too expensive?
H@mmy
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H@mmy,
User Rank: Moderator
8/29/2014 | 4:16:39 PM
Re: How about a screen that doesn't crack?
The use of sapphire crystal in electronics, watches and other jewelry isn't new. Apple also reportedly used sapphire in the iPhone 5s to cover both the home button and the rear-facing camera lens. However, it is unclear to me just how much more drop-proof or shatter resistant sapphire is on a phone.
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
9/1/2014 | 12:28:55 AM
Re: How about a screen that doesn't crack?
@D. Henschen> "Apple has notoriously wimpy sceen glass. Unless you have one of those giant protective cases, you can expect to crack or shatter your screen. How about real Gorilla Glass on the iPhone 6?"

 

My understanding was that the iPhones used Gorilla Glass. Are they not? If so, what are they using? 
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
9/3/2014 | 10:36:11 AM
Re: How about a screen that doesn't crack?
You don't need an enormous case.  You need a good case.

I had such a good, non-large (indeed, it was very form-fitting) case on my old iPhone.  I dropped it and stepped on it a zillion times.  Nary a scratch.

It took DROPPING THE PHONE THREE STORIES ONTO A HARD SURFACE to damage it -- and even then, the screen was not even scratched (let alone cracked or shattered).  All that happened was the screen and the home button popped out a little bit.  I got it repaired that same day.

(Alas, the antenna was permanently screwed up, and I wound up getting a new phone a few months later, but the glass was fine.)
mejiac
IW Pick
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
8/28/2014 | 2:11:07 PM
Raising the bar or status quo?
Great article,

I've been following the IPhone 6 rumor mill for a while, each time more exciting while closer to launch date.

Taking a step back, because of the fierce competition, every other manufacturer tries to outwit the other, and the focus is mostly on a feature here or there to differentiate themselves.

One thing I will always say about Apple is that they're forward thinking, and this is greatly evident on the 64 bit processor that was put on the Iphone 5S, aside from being an industry first, it really does open up new roads for developers to really push the boundaries of what can be considered mobile applications.

If I look at all other competitors, aside from the Galaxy S5 (with the health sensor) nobody has really make a significant leap forward... yes there are a lot of bells and whistles, but that's about it...nothing really major.

So for the Iphone 6, my expectation is not so much on what new features are available, but what developers will push out as they take the lessons learned from the 5S and transpose those to an even better processor and larger screen real state.

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
8/28/2014 | 3:43:18 PM
Re: Raising the bar or status quo?
@mejiac: The days of excitement over smartphone form factors are waning IMHO, so I agree that the real innovaiton now is happening on the app front across the board. Until we see a radically new form factor (hello, nanotechnology) I'm not expecting anything but further iterations of things like battery life,  processors and  materials. As Jeff rightly points out in the article, though, these aren't necessarily the things the light the fire for consumers to upgrade, so it will be interesting to see how the 6 performs in terms of sales.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
8/29/2014 | 11:51:41 AM
The battery problem
I'm an Android user but friends and relatives who have iPhones complain regularly about battery life. And they assume the iPhone 6 will solve the problem. But it will have to deliver more RAM, a faster processor, and bigger, higher resolution screens AND better battery life. It's going to take higher capacity batteries, and those seem to be in the works. I'd be one unhappy customer if battery life stays at status quo.
H@mmy
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H@mmy,
User Rank: Moderator
8/29/2014 | 4:10:26 PM
Re: The battery problem
The iPhone 6 will also likely come with enhanced components that could put a drain on battery life. Whether a larger battery in the iPhone 6 will actually deliver better battery life remains to be seen.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
9/1/2014 | 10:45:43 AM
Re: The battery problem
This is not just for iPhone but a general problem for all smartphones. Nowadays the battery of smartphone cannot last for more than 2-3 days. For iPhone 6, it may become a more severe problem - the phone is so thin and slim. The capacity of the battery cannot be very big. So it may get drained more easily.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
9/3/2014 | 10:37:50 AM
Re: The battery problem
On a related note, here's a protip: Want to be the most popular guy at the industry conference?  Bring a power strip.  ;)
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
8/29/2014 | 1:02:00 PM
How about actually work for the 2 year contract cycle?
I'm sure this is probably not a common issue but my wife's 5S started flaking out with battery charging software (firmware?) a few months before she was eligible to get a new one without paying full retail.

Goofiest thing I ever saw. It would say it had a 100% charge, then after using for a few minutes it would say it had 1% charge and not even come on. After plugging back into charge, maybe it would come up after a few minutes, maybe not. At the end my wife was having to leave it plugged into charge either at home or in car to get it to stay on long enough to use.

It was nothing she did to it, you couldn't cause a defect like that if you wanted to. If carriers are going to require 2 years before you can replace phone for reasonable price, the phone should have a 2 year warranty. Period. Otherwise it's just all one big scam.

 
H@mmy
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H@mmy,
User Rank: Moderator
8/29/2014 | 4:19:39 PM
Re: How about actually work for the 2 year contract cycle?
Warranty extension sounds good. Can't we pay more to get warranty extended, atleast till the contract ends? 
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
8/29/2014 | 10:47:58 PM
Re: How about actually work for the 2 year contract cycle?
In my very humble opinion, warranty extensions for most electronics are worth the paper they're written on.  For your computer, okay, but for phones?  As long as you have a good case and/or are not a total klutz, you're good.
shamika
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shamika,
User Rank: Ninja
8/31/2014 | 11:52:27 PM
Re: How about actually work for the 2 year contract cycle?
@Joe – Most of us don't prefer warranty extensions because of the extra cost we have to incur, but it seems that this is worth the investment. 
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