With the release of the iPhone 5, no doubt the next generation is in the works and could be released as early as March 2013. Lets take a look back on the iPhone 5 launch and what to expect going forward for Apple.
Apple Revenue Push
From a business standpoint, it is unlikely that Apple will keep the same iPhone design and features. In order to stay competitive in the market, Apple will need to not only make an early release for the iPhone 6 but add unique features that other phones will not have. Upgrades such as the impractical Siri voice assistant simply will not cut it.
The pressure is on Apple CEO Tim Cook to deliver a homerun on the next iPhone release. Investors have not shown the same confidence in the new head huncho Cook as they have shown in his former boss Steve Jobs. The stock price has plummeted over the past 3 months since the release of the iPhone 5. From a high of $705.07 in September, the stock has dipped to a closing price of $520.17 on Christmas Eve. The Street is expecting iPhone 5 sales will miss expectations. The concensus estimate had been around 47M units, but 2013 Q1 numbers have been revised down to the 35M range.
One could argue that Apple’s mission has never been about working for the shareholders. What kept Jobs excited was always innovation and long term success. Here are three features that Apple could add to the iPhone 6 to keep the iPhone ahead of the pack.
Near-Field Communication (NFC)
As for revamping the iPhone, the low hanging fruit for Apple arguably could be the NFC technology. NFC is one of the biggest marketing points for its rival Samsung Galaxy S3, and is also a glaring feature absent in the iPhone. Up to this point, Apple has not shown much interest in NFC, but Apple cannot continue to ignore this technology.
Back in July, Apple dropped $356 million to acquire a company called AuthenTec, which is an industry leader in mobile security. AuthenTec’s AES2750, a fingerprint sensor, is designed to provide protection to NFC. The device is small enough that it could be placed on the edge of the iPhone or iPad.
All signs points to Apple adding NFC to its future products, it would enhance sharing capabilities between phones and introduce the concept of contactless payments to the iPhone line. While NFC is not new technology, its addition would enhance the iPhone 6 to a very competitive level.
Super HD Retina+ IGZO Screen And Larger Screen
One of the iPhone 5’s upgrades included better screen quality. While the difference between the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 5’s display may seem subtle, there are significant upgrades to the colors, brightness levels, and screen reflections. The screen was also upgraded to be less draining on the battery while increasing readability. Because these types of upgrades are typical with Apple releases, it is likely that the iPhone 6 will have an improved screen quality when compared to previous releases.
Rumors of Sharp’s IGZO screen on Apple products is not new. Apple passed on the technology on the previous generation iPad due to concerns that Sharp was not fully ready to unleash the product. But no doubt Apple is interested in the technology. There has even been rumors about an Apple buyout of the failing Sharp company as a whole.
The advantage of the IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) display is the thin assembly, bright colors, and high resolution that require less LEDs, which would mean more energy efficient.
The screen size of the iPhone 5 is about 18% larger than the iPhone 4’s screen. With the consumer’s appetite for larger screens, there has been whispers about an 4.8″ screen to match the specs of the Galaxy S3. At the very least, it is conceivable Apple plans to unveil the next generation iPhone between 4″ and 4.8″, which would be larger than the current model, and up to the size of the S3.
A7 Quad-Core Processor
The new generation iPhone models typically mean “bigger, badder & faster” processors. iPhone 5 was fitted with the A6 processor, which clocked at twice the CPU and GPU of its predecessor. Geekbench results from users have the A5 processor clocking with score in the 600s, while the A6 scored consistently in mid 1000s, ranging from 1400 to 1600. For a successful iPhone 6 launch, users will expect to see that Geekbench score rise significantly, if not double.
The A7 processor is generally expected to be ready in 2014 with a two year turnaround time. It would not make good business sense for the iPhone 5 to stay stale on the market for two years. So what Apple could do is release the Apple 6 with A7 processor in early 2014, and keep the users on their toes with a launch of iPhone 5s in 2013, running on a slightly modified A6 processor.
The current A6 processor are designed by Apple but manufactured by their rival Samsung, there has been speculations that Apple would like to end their reliance on Samsung and potentially have the next A series processor manufactured by the Taiwanese semiconductor giant TSMC. The A7 would be running on 64-bit ARMv8 instruction set.
Other Possible iPhone 6 Features
Each of Apple’s iPhone releases were built to be thinner than previous models. Because of this, it is highly likely that Apple will work to build a thinner phone. The thinner the design gets, the more Apple will need to focus on materials to keep the phone from breaking due to every day wear and tear. Apple has already had success with their paper-thin Macbook styles so developing the technology for mobile phone use seems like a natural move.
The iPhone 5 came loaded with iOS 6 and Apple tends to unveil a new iOS with each iPhone release. The iOS 7 will most likely be released alongside the iPhone 6. The iOS 6 gave the iPhone 5 several new features but was plagued with errors upon its initial release. While the bugs are being fixed, it is likely that the iOS 7 and the iPhone 6 will be beta tested to better avoid another initial flop.
Although the upgraded iPhone 5 seems like a small change, each of Apple’s releases have featured significant improvements. Because of this, it is highly likely that the iPhone 6 will improve greatly on the technology introduced in the iPhone 5, increasing screen quality, the number of useful phone features, and overall style of the phone.