Apple iPhone 6 Release Date Nears: iPhone 5C May Borrow 8-Megapixel Camera From iPhone 5

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For the first time in company history, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is getting ready to release two smartphone models in the same year, including the security-focused iPhone 5S, and the colorful low-cost iPhone, known largely as iPhone 6, but perhaps called iPhone 5C, given a recently leaked photo of the iPhone’s plastic packaging. The iPhone 6 or 5C is expected to release in a variety of candy colors, including red, green, blue, yellow and white, and become available soon after the release date of iOS 7.

Rumors had pegged the iPhone 6 to release with similar features to the current-generation iPhone from Apple, the iPhone 5, but a new report from China’s IT168 on Thursday shared a photo of what the company claims is the camera for the iPhone 5C, which looks similar, if not identical, to the camera module currently featured in the iPhone 5.

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If the new iPhone camera is in fact identical to that of the iPhone 5, the iPhone 6 or 5C will feature an 8-megapixel rear side camera. It’s been widely reported that Apple is upgrading the camera in the iPhone 5S to be a 12-megapixel camera, which will offer enhancements for low light settings, and even slow-motion video.

Besides the 8-megapixel camera, the iPhone 6 (or 5C) is expected to release with most of the same features of the iPhone 5, but fitting them inside a cheaper polycarbonate shell rather than the anodized aluminum unibody of the iPhone 5. Back in January, iLounge editor-in-chief Jeremy Horwitz said the iPhone 6 is a "cross between the iPhone 5, the fifth-generation iPod touch and -- wait for it -- the iPod classic." With its 4-inch screen like the iPhone 5, a tapered bottom like the latest iPod touch and a rectangular shape like the iPod classic, the low-cost iPhone 6 or 5C is said to be substantially made from plastic but feature a hybrid chassis made of both plastic and metal. The right side of the iPhone 5C features a flat, centered SIM card tray like the iPhone 5, with the locations of the camera, microphone and rear flash located similarly to where they were on the latest-generation iPod touch.

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While Apple tries its best to keep all its products a secret, especially new iPhones and iPads, the iPhone 5C or iPhone 6 has been the subject of a great number of reported leaks. After French site NowhereElse posted several photos that looked like rear shells of Apple’s candy-colored iPhone 6 in early July, M.I.C. Gadget blog’s editor-in-chief Chris Chang posted photos and video of the iPhone 6 on the Techdy Blog that he said came directly from suppliers in Taiwan. Since then, there have been nonstop leaks of the iPhone 5C; most recently, an image of the iPhone 5C appeared on Sina Weibo with all its required legal notices from the FCC, which leads one to believe that all previously released alleged iPhone 6 and iPhone 5C photos are indeed legitimate.

Apple is expected to release the iPhone 6 or iPhone 5C in all the same markets as its high-end iPhone, the iPhone 5S, but will reportedly aim to drive the iPhone 6 in China, which is Apple’s second-largest market after the U.S. And as proven by Apple CEO Tim Cook’s recent multiple visits to China, Apple badly wants to strike a deal with China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL), the largest telecommunications carrier in the world with 703 million subscribers, to support the iPhone 6 on its expansive TD-LTE network after its release date this year.

Speaking of its release date, we believe Apple will release the iPhone 6 or 5C on Friday, Sept. 27. Considering how we believe Apple will release iOS 7 100 days after its June 10 unveiling on Sept. 18, we believe Apple will follow a similar pattern to past years and release its new iPhone model immediately after the latest iOS sees its release date. With two new iPhones slated to release in 2013, however, Apple may want to separate the release dates of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C to prevent major crowds at its retail stores. With that in mind, we believe Apple will release its high-end iPhone, the iPhone 5S, on Sept. 20, while the iPhone 6 or iPhone 5C will see its release date just one week later on Sept. 27.

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What do you think of the iPhone 6? Would you consider purchasing an iPhone 5C over Apple’s high-end iPhone line, even if that means sacrificing some key user features to save some money? Do you think Apple will bundle the release dates of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 together? Give us your thoughts of the iPhone 5C in the comments section below.

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