With Apple's next smartphone still months away, fans have been gobbling up iPhone 6 rumors faster than Pac-Man on a power pill bender. However, even the hottest rumor mill in tech can't turn this device into a winner. Based on everything we know now, the next iPhone will be a year late and a bitcoin short of the competition, doing nothing to slow Apple's descent from smartphone pioneer to high tech has-been. Here are six reasons why the iPhone 6 has already lost.
Weak Camera Features
While many still like the quality of the current iPhone 5s' 8-MP low-light-friendly sensor, it captures half the detail while offering none of the powerful image-processing features of its competitors. While current rumors peg the iPhone 6's camera at either the same 8-MP or a slightly higher 10-MP, the Samsung Galaxy S5 is about to launch with a 16-MP shooter, real-time HDR and goodies like Eraser Mode, which removes photobombers from your pictures, and Best Face, which helps you choose a different expression for each person in a group shot. Sony's upcoming Xperia Z2 takes the megapixel war a step further on Android, going with a 20.7-MP lens while Nokia's Lumia 1020 Windows Phone continues its 41-MP dominance.
Apple could surprise us all by including some more shooting modes and filters in the iPhone 6, but it would probably still be behind the likes of Samsung, LG and Nokia. Users looking for a superior camera experience have no reason to wait for Apple to get its act together.
Poor Battery Life, No Removable Battery
If you don't like carrying a charger around with you, you'll probably be disappointed in the iPhone 6. The iPhone 5s and its puny 1,560 mAh battery lasted just 5 hours and 46 minutes on the Laptop Mag battery test, slightly below the 6-hour smartphone average and hours behind leaders like the 11-hour and 15-minute Galaxy Note 3. While it is possible that the iPhone 6 will include a higher-capacity battery than its predecessor, the latest rumors peg it with a much-larger 4.7 or 5.5-inch display (perhaps one model with each), which will undoubtedly consume more power.
If you're not happy with the iPhone 6's likely short battery life, you won't have many options. While Samsung's Galaxy phones and some LG handsets allow you to swap out your battery for a higher capacity unit or a backup of the same size, the iPhone 6 will probably ship with a Liquidmetal, unibody design that has a sealed back panel. You'll have to opt for a battery case if you want extra juice.
While just about every other phone on the market, most tablets and a slew of laptops now feature Near Field Communication chips, Apple won't touch this new technology with a 10-foot poll. Even as more stores and vending machines allow you to pay with a tap, digital locks let you tap to get into your house, and a slew of peripherals use one-tap pairing, Tim Cook & Co. have shunned NFC. Considering that NFC debuted in 2011 -- 3 iPhone generations ago -- we can't imagine Apple changing course now.
Too Few Sharing Options
I have an easier time getting a 2-year-old to share than an iPhone. While Android has a universal sharing menu that lets you send content to any share-capable service, iOS treats every app as an island unto itself. For example, the Safari Web browser can share with Facebook, Twitter, email and SMS messaging, and the iPhoto app lets you share with Flickr and iTunes as well.
Since neither of these preloaded apps have heard of Google+ or Pinterest, you can't share to them. However, on Android, I can share from any content app to the most obscure social network or messaging service (ICQ, anyone?), as long as I have it installed. Unless Apple makes a major change to its operating system, which is unlikely, the iPhone 6 will suffer from the same, lame sharing problem.
The iPhone 6 may have a higher resolution screen and a sleeker design, but neither of those things will help you make fewer typos or answer the boss's urgent email any faster. Like its limited camera features and woeful sharing, the iPhone's keyboard seems to be frozen in time.
Unlike most Android keyboards, Apple's has no haptic feedback, no trace (aka Swype) functionality and no ability to learn your patterns from your social networking/email accounts. And because Apple thinks it knows what you need more than you do, iOS doesn't allow you to install a third-party keyboard. It's possible iOS 8 will allow more freedom, but we have no reason to believe the iPhone 6 will be any different from previous generations.
You don't have to be a hacker to make major changes to the look and feel of your Android phone. You can add widgets to the home screen, arrange your icons in any pattern you want or even install a completely new launcher.
Apple's design philosophy, which shouldn't change with the iPhone 6, is to design for the lowest common denominator and offer the fewest choices possible, not letting you change much about the look and feel of the UI. Those giant training wheels may have been an advantage for Apple when most users were on their first smartphone, but it's now 2014 and most consumers know how to operate a mobile device and want more control of it.