I’ll start this off the way I always do. What I am about to present in this editorial is not fact, but guesses based on rumors and years of covering all. We don’t know Tim Cook’s executive janitor or anyone at the factories in China. It could be right, it could be wrong, or it could be somewhere in between. The only people who can confirm Apple rules are Apple.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let us begin. It’s once again that time of year where we guess what shape the iPhone will take. We are in a “tock” year, so the iPhone, like The Doctor, is up for a new face. Last time, with the iPhone 5 in 2012, it grew a little. Will 2014 be the year it grows a lot? Also, could this be the year it’s joined by a new product? Let’s discuss.
Here’s what we can gather from the invite to the event. Apple is having an event. It’s having said event on September 9th, 2014, at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on the Campus of the De Anza Community College in Cupertino at their customary time of 10 AM Pacific. They also wish to say more, which they will presumably do at the event. Beyond that, not much. The iPhone 5 invitation had a clearly styled 5 under the September 12th date. Last year’s event had the colors of the iPhone 5C with white circles that looked suspiciously like the Touch ID sensor. This year’s invitation is very plain and to the point. Its honestly, not that far off what one would see at a wedding or graduation invite.
This has lead others to try to gasp at straws. Maybe the 9 upside down is a 6 or the tagline of “Wish We could say more” is somehow about the iWatch. Truth of the matter, there is nothing obvious here. While there could be something in there in hindsight. I think Apple just doesn’t want to tip their hand like in years past. The invitation is just that, an invitation.
Is this the iPhone Event?
While there is absolutely nothing concrete to support this, the timing suggests this is indeed the iPhone event. The last two were held the second week of September. If an iPhone were not announced, it would be really unexpected. What will said iPhone be called? It could be iPhone, it could be iPhone Air, but I would put my money on iPhone 6. They had a chance to switch the naming convention like they had with the iPad with the iPhone 5, but choose not. In fact, I’ll just call it the iPhone 6 until Apple tells me otherwise.
A Bigger Screen…again
The iPhone 5 was essentially akin to a lay-up in golf. Instead of making a difficult shot for the green, Apple went the easy route and kept the same screen width as the iPhone 4/4S, but changing the aspect ration from the 3:2 used in the first five generations of the iPhone to the more common 16:9. I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed. I find the screen a little too small for my tastes. It didn’t hurt Apple in iPhone 5, 5C, and 5S sales though.
In 2012, large screens were a bit on the fringe. The 4.8″ Galaxy S III was just announced May of that year and the Note II was announced only a few days prior to the iPhone 5. Two years later, large screen phones over 4.5″ and even phones 5.3″ are larger are selling well and a proven commodity. If there was a time to jump in, it would be now. There are quite a few users that would be happy with a smaller 4″ screen, but there are also more than a few who want large-size iPhones. If there was a time for Apple to upsize the iPhone, it would be now.
If they do, what would be the screen size? There have been rumors of a 4.7″ model since almost as soon as the 5 launched. They were pretty easy to dismiss back in the day, but now there’s a bit more smoke in that direction. Potential parts have surfaced, but they’re not as much of a slam dunk as the iPhone 5C leak was last year. 4.7″ makes sense though. It’s big, but not too big.
There’s also been talk of a 5.5″ model. Personally, that’s what I would buy. But is it too big of a leap for Apple? I’m torn on this one. It’d certainly make a splash brining the iPhone from the little phone that could to basically size parity with the other platforms. On the other hand, that would be asking a lot out of developers to support 4 different screen sizes. I would say it’s plausible, but much less certain.
The Big iPhone Leak?
It looks like the big leak happened over the Labor Day weekend from a pair of videos out of Russia. While it appears they could be authentic, take them with a grain of salt. The phone in question has features similar to those described in earlier leaks. Compared to the iPhone 5S, which is also featured, the new phone is indeed larger and thinner than the current phone. The side edges are rolled rather than than flat. The volume buttons are metal, but are larger and bean shaped. The mute is metal and pretty much unchanged. The lock screen button appears to have been moved from the top of the the phone to the side right where the thumb would rest while using it with your right hand. On the back, there is a what looks like a more advanced, but circular version of the True Tone multi-color flash. The camera itself protrudes a bit with a metal bushing around the exposed part of the lens. This would a larger and better sensor to fit in the thinner phone.
The phone is almost fully finished other than the battery. It will start up and boot to the install screen when connected by Lightning. The video also gives a look at the electronics inside the case. The design, fit, and finish are consistent with Apple design. It could be fake for sure, but if it is, the designer has talent. Make your own conclusions, but it seems to me that this is likely the iPhone 6.
The iPhone 5C and 5S got a new wireless chip, but didn’t get LTE Advanced or Voice over LTE. While some Macs got upgraded, the iPhones didn’t get 802.11AC Wi-Fi either. I would peg -AC as a near certainty, the other two are less certain. LTE-A isn’t exactly widespread by any means. I fact, it might even be the iPhone 7 before this shows up. Voice over LTE, however is planned for deployment with the larger US carriers. With LTE only plans starting by 2016. It might be worth getting ahead of the curve here.
There’s one technology that’s talked about more than anything: NFC. It’s been rumored to be coming to the iPhone pretty much every time there’s a new release cycle. Considering that most everything NFC can do can be replicated in Bluetooth Smart, I just don’t see Apple jumping on the bandwagon. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some kind of push at mobile payments though.
If Apple gets into the market right now, they’d be taking one hell of a risk. You see smartwatches with several OSes, sets of functionality, and shapes and sizes for good reason. The market is trying to throw everything up against the wall to see if something sticks since neither the manufacturers nor the consumers know what they really want one to do.
As of iOS 8, the pieces are there for an iWatch with Continuity. I think it’s too soon. Then again, smartphones and tablets weren’t exactly desirable until Apple came around.
Sorry Gene Munster, if you want an Apple HDTV to happen, it’s not. This would be a good point to update the Apple TV set top and operation system. I have to say though, this is more a wish list item than anything. Siri and Continuity integration, a games store, and even CEC over HDMI with the ability to act as a cable box would be nice and available hardware like the A6, A6x, and A7 could handle it, but the question again is whether that’s where Apple wants to play. I’d be presently surprised of one shows up.
There have been so few credible leaks, that I have no idea what’s going to happen. Honestly, I like it that way. It makes the presentation all the more exciting. However, I’ll make a few ill-informed predictions.
- 4.7″ iPhone 6: Yes. But I have no idea about the specs after that.
- 4.0″ iPhone 5C, 5CS: Yes. iPhone 5C becomes the low end phone and a new version with the iPhone 5S’s internals taking up the midrange.
- 5.5″ iPhone 6: No. This would require a lot of work for developers at once. Apple’s primary concern has been the user experience. Not Specs.
- iWatch: No. Too early, the market doesn’t yet know where it’s going with wearables.
- Apple TV Update: No. I see one coming, but I don’t see it given Keynote time unless it’s a major functionality update
- iOS Release Date: Yes, later half of October or early November
Geek Beat will be live for the announcement. We’ll also update you through the daily show and the website. Keep tuned to our Social Media Accounts.
Source: My head.