AND SO IT BEGINS. The iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C might have made their debuts only six months ago, but that hasn't stopped the online rumour mill from churning out rumour after rumour about Apple's next generation smartphone(s) likely to launch as the iPhone 6.
Here, we round up everything we know about the anticipated iPhone 6 handset so far. Keep this page bookmarked, as we'll update it with every new detail, feature and rumour about the iPhone 6.
iPhone 6 release date
If the launch of the iPhone 5S and 5C is anything to go by, Apple's iPhone 6 is likely to make its debut in September 2014, with last year's unveiling taking place on 10 September.
The iPhone 6 is likely to be made available a week or so after its unveiling. Last year, for example, the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C went on sale on 20 September, 10 days after they made their debut.
The latest reports out of Japan back up this schedule. According to a report from Nikkei, suppliers of LCD panels for Apple's new iPhone will ramp up production soon.
The report, which quotes unnamed sources, notes that manufacturers have begun making parts like fingerprint sensors and chips for liquid-crystal drivers. Mass production of LCD panels will start as early as the second quarter, which begins in April, at Sharp's Kameyama factory, Japan Display's Mobara plant, and other locations with LG Electronics also expected to supply panels.
iPhone 6 specs
First, the display. There have been many conflicting rumours about the iPhone 6 screen size, and some reports have claimed that Apple is plotting to unveil two 'curved' iPhones in 2014. If these rumours are to be believed, Apple's iPhone 6 will launch in two versions - 4.7in and 5.5in - that will feature flexible displays, much like the LG G Flex.
However, more recent rumours seem to have slapped down talk of curved iPhones, and while talk of 4.7in and 5.5in screen sizes continues, it seems unlikely that the displays will be bent. The Wall Street Journal denied these rumours, claiming that Apple will launch two, non-curved iPhones this year featuring screens larger than 4.5in and 5in, respectively, while leaked documents have suggested that the iPhone 6 will feature a 5in sapphire crystal display.
According to Reuters, the 4.7in iPhone 6 display will go into production in May, followed by the 5.5in panel later in the year.
There's also talk that Apple will improve its Retina display screen resolution with the next generation iPhone, however, with the firm reportedly set to out the even higher resolution Retina display+.
In terms of design, there's talk that Apple's iPhone 6 will arrive crafted from Liquidmetal, lighter than the aluminium that's used for the iPhone 5S. This will allow Apple to make it slimmer too, with rumours claiming that the iPhone 6 could measure just 7.6mm thick. We'll likely find the same Touch ID fingerprint scanner as debuted on the iPhone 5S, and rumours have suggested that Apple may take things one step further by equipping the iPhone 6 with a built-in iris scanner.
There are not many rumours yet regarding what we can expect under the hood of the iPhone 6, with last year's iPhone 5S debuting Apple's new 64bit A7 processor and M7 co-processor. It's unclear whether Apple will equip the iPhone 6 with a new or upgraded chip. We do know, however, that the iPhone 6 will feature Imagination Technologies graphics, with the two firms having extended their multi-year agreement.
We likely will see an improvement in the camera department, however, with speculation suggesting that the iPhone 6 will either sport an upgraded 8MP or 13MP rear camera.
Further speculation has suggested that the iPhone 6 will be the first iPhone to support wireless charging, much like the Google Nexus 5.
iPhone 6 software
Of course, the iPhone 6 is expected to run a yet-to-be-announced version of Apple's mobile software, which will likely launch as iOS 8 at WWDC on 2 June. It's still unclear what we can expect from Apple's next-generation software. However, Apple might go for a user interface tweak after facing plenty of criticism over the iOS 7 design overhaul.
iPhone 6 price
The price of the iPhone 6 is still unclear, but it likely will fetch around the same as Apple's flagship iPhone 5S. If so, expect 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models of the handset to cost £549, £629 and £709, respectively.
However, speculation has suggested that the iPhone 6 could cost around $100 more than Apple's 2013 flagship, due to its rumoured larger screen size.
If previous launches are anything to go by, the iPhone 6 will also likely get a clean sweep of the major UK mobile operators. On contract, the iPhone 5S was available from around £35 a month at launch. µ
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