iPhone 6s and 6s Plus: All the Major Changes on the Way
While the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are a little more than six months old, Apple is already gearing up for the next versions of its smartphone. Rumors have begun popping up about the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, not to mention a mysterious third model that could be released. From a sharper camera to more memory to the addition of Force Touch technology found in other Apple hardware, here's what we know about Apple's iPhone 6S and 6S Plus so far.
Earlier this month we heard rumors about Force Touch coming to the new iPhone models from the Wall Street Journal, which cited leaks from Apple's supply chain. Force Touch would allow the smartphone's display to know the difference between a short tap and a long press, potentially giving the device a slew of new commands. Apple showed off Force Touch at a March 9 press event when it revealed the new, sleek MacBook, which has Force Touch technology in the touchpad.
A 9to5Mac report in late May also says that the next iPhone 6 will feature a Force Touch display with real-time haptic feedback that lets you physically feel your input. The report spells out ways Force Touch might be used on the phone -- to drop pins in the Maps app, create Calendar events, and replace other long press-and-hold interactions with your phone. Force Touch support will be built into iOS 9, though it may not be announced at June's Worldwide Developers Conference, where iOS 9 is expected to be unveiled.
Apple may make one of the best smartphone cameras even better with its next round of iPhones using a recent patent for a "digital camera with light splitter." This technology would allow the camera to split light into red, green and blue components, eliminating the need for color filters and making photos clearer and sharper.
Also, this technology would reduce "color cross-talk," which can make pictures look muddy due to bleeding or inaccurate colors. If this rumor is true, it would be the biggest update to the iPhone's camera in a long time, not to mention giving this future iPhone an edge over its Samsung and LG rivals.
A May research note from Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities obtained by Apple Insider claims that the iPhone 6S will feature a 12-megapixel camera. That would improve upon the 8-megapixel iSight Camera found in both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
The next iPhones could get a memory upgrade, jumping from 1GB of RAM to 2GB of RAM, according to a report by AppleInsider. Back in 2012, Apple introduced 1GB of RAM into the iPhone 5, as well as into the iPad with Retina display lineup. More RAM would allow the smartphones to multitask open apps and Safari tabs better, but since memory constantly consumers power, it would take a toll on the iPhone's battery life.
Kuo's May research note reiterates that the next iPhones will jump to 2GB of RAM and be powered by a new A9 processor from Apple. Kuo also expects Apple to add another microphone to the next iPhone for improved audio. Other internal design changes will tackle the bending phenomenon that some iPhone 6 Plus owners reported last fall, Kuo writes.
We could also see the addition of an Apple SIM card in the iPhone 6S series, which would allow users to sign up for mobile data plans from any carrier just by going into the Settings menu. Apple debuted its SIM card in the iPad Air 2, much to the dismay of nationwide carriers. If Apple does put its SIM card into the new iPhones, it could mean that customers purchasing a new device directly from Apple would have the opportunity to pick and switch plans as they please.
We may not have seen the last of Apple's "C" line of iPhones. A report from Digitimes suggests that Apple could introduce an iPhone 6C, possibly a cheaper device with a 4-inch display reminiscent of the iPhone 5. Rumor has it that the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus will have displays sourced from Japan Display and LG Display, while the C model will be sourced from Sharp.
Also, the C model will likely be powered by Apple's A8 processor, while the newer A9 processors will be used in the new iPhone 6 series. Those A9 processors will reportedly be built by Apple rival Samsung, the same company responsible for providing the A7 processor found in the iPhone 5s.
With the addition of a third model, Apple may even stray away from its traditional monotone, metallic color range by introducing a pink smartphone. A recent leak from a relatively unknown site called Future Supplier shows what appears to be images of the pink iPhone 6C, with a bright plastic body and a noticeably different oval flash hole on the rear camera.
Apple could go in an entirely different direction with colors, according to KGI Securities' Kuo. In his May research note, Kuo says Apple will add a rose gold color option to its phone lineup, taking a page out of the Apple Watch's playbook. However, it's not clear whether that color would be in the anodized aluminum style of the iPhone's gold, silver and space gray models or whether it would be 18-karat rose gold like the high-end Apple Watch edition. The latter would mean a substantially higher price tag.
Apple hasn't announced another press event or released any official word of the new iPhones. Typically the company debuts new smartphone models in the fall, so we could likely see the next iPhone 6S and 6S Plus models around September or October. Stay tuned for our full coverage, and for rumor updates as those months draw near.