In a world where US presidential candidates are groomed for a
campaign the moment another one is elected, it's not unthinkable
for analysts to begin spouting theories about what features the
next iPhone will have only a few months after the previous one was
released. As they say, nothing stops the ever-churning
) rumor mill.
In the last few years, the iPhone has fallen behind the
technological curve and had its glimmering sheen dulled in the
shadow of other fully capable devices.
) recent entries like the Nexus 5 and Moto X, as well as
(OTCMKTS:SSNLF) Galaxy S4 and HTC One, all sport advanced features
that rival or outpace Apple's offerings, making the iPhone a little
less special than when it debuted in a field of also-ran devices.
To that end, Apple is now under more pressure than ever to deliver
an iPhone with game-changing features that blow Cupertino's
competitors out of the water. (See:
Why Apple's Reputation Depends on the iPhone
And already there are some rumors and theories as to what Apple
will deliver in the next year. Some predict simple improvements to
existing features, while other improvements could redefine what
makes an iPhone an iPhone. But a few new features could put the
technological edge back in the hands of Cupertino.
As Android screens typically hover around five inches and up,
iPhones -- especially those prior to the iPhone 5 -- appear
positively diminutive by comparison. Well, rumor has it that the
upcoming iPhone 6 may be given an expansion to show off those
Retina Displays. Prototypes sporting 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens
are allegedly being tested, meaning one (or both!) could make its
way to consumers' hands. (See:
Where's Apple Going With the Next iPhone?
Not only is Apple said to be pushing screen size, the company could
introduce a curved screen. Like the Samsung Galaxy Round and
) G Flex, the iPhone may have a concave screen to better conform to
a user's cheek. Additionally, Apple might finally make good on a
rumor that the iPhone screen will have a wrap-around design,
replacing the sides of the aluminum frame with more screen and
providing an extra dimension on iOS interface and interaction.
3-D Gesture Controls
Apple recently confirmed that it has acquired PrimeSense, the
company responsible for the motion-sensing technology in the
) Kinect, for an estimated $345 million. (See:
What Will Apple Inc. Do With Its Latest
) Although that could mean big, new features for the Apple TV or
perpetually rumored Apple HDTV, 3-D gesture controls could make
their way to the iPhone. But the features wouldn't just stop with
facial recognition or page scrolling based on eye movement: The
technology may potentially mimic 3-D imagery simply by sensing eye
placement and incorporating the 3-D perspective into the screen. If
proven successful, this -- perhaps more than any other rumored
feature -- would permanently change the smartphone landscape.
And the PrimeSense buyout keeps paying off. Using its newly
acquired technology, Apple may introduce a plenoptic camera to the
iPhone's bag of tricks. Famously shown off in the
, the focal point in a photo can be adjusted after the picture is
taken, thereby decreasing the depth-of-field and giving the already
fantastic iPhone camera a dynamic edge.
Improved Siri and TouchID
Unfortunately, given their bugs and glitches, Siri and TouchID have
languished as mediocre party tricks rather than solid, dependable
modes of interaction. (See:
Apple Inc. Botched a Major iPhone 5S Feature,
) However, with the help of the PrimeSense technology and its
ability to recognize a user and spatial placement, Siri could be
given a boost in intelligence that will help it gain some footing
against Google Now. Also, the next generation of the TouchID sensor
may become a tiny trackpad, adding an extra layer to the iOS UI.
Anyone who owned an iPhone 4 knows how fragile that glass back was.
Sadly, the aluminum that replaced it in the iPhone 5 was
even more vulnerable to scratches
. However, rumor has it that the iPhone 6 will not only ditch the
Gorilla Glass screen for the scratch-resistant sapphire coating
found on the current TouchID sensor, but it will also be completely
covered in the protective layer, making the entire iPhone case as
scratch-proof as its screen.
Earlier Release Date
Up until the release of the iPhone 4S, Apple maintained a summer
release date for each new model. But since 2011, the iPhone has
held an autumnal setting for its grand debut. That all might
change, however, with the iPhone 6, as analyst speculation puts its
release back into the mid-2014 summer season. Considering Android
gets a new flagship device every few months or so, a quicker
turnaround for the next iPhone will definitely help Apple keep up.
Regrettably, a quicker iPhone debut isn't without its downside.
Given the higher cost of new materials and the declining profit
margin in recent models, Apple may be forced to boost the price on
the already costly iPhone, which it had done with the new iPad
Mini. Although that pesky "Apple Tax" is prevalent across its fleet
of devices, maybe the iPhone 6 will pack enough revolutionary
features so the few extra dollars will be more than worth it.
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