It’s no secret that Apple’s follow-up to a new iPhone has historically been an incremental improvement. But in 2015, its next smartphone -- the rumored iPhone 6S -- may be its biggest upgrade yet.
Apple has yet to announce the device. But it is expected to come with a slew of new features and enhancements, according to a research note from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, obtained by MacRumors.
Among the biggest upgrades will be the addition of Force Touch. The technology first introduced with the Apple Watch and the latest MacBooks enables a touchscreen or trackpad to detect the difference between a tap and a hard press, paving the way for new touch controls. The Touch ID sensor’s fingerprint recognition may also be improved to further promote the use of Apple Pay.
Apple’s iPhone 6S and 6S Plus are likely to remain the same, with 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays. However, Kuo does not expect Apple to launch a 4-inch iPhone, the so-called 6C.
Sapphire may also make an appearance on Apple’s next smartphone, but the material may be limited to the 5.5-inch 6S Plus, according to Kuo.
In addition to the current lineup of gold, silver and space gray models, Apple may also introduce a rose gold option. This would put the iPhone in line with current color and finish options available on the Apple Watch.
The iPhone’s camera, which has remained at 8 megapixels since the iPhone 4S, may get an upgrade to 12 megapixels, according to Kuo. Apple already has a number of patents related to camera designs that pack higher-resolution sensors and lenses into a smartphone. But its acquisition of Israeli startup LinX may help accelerate its efforts to bring a better camera to the iPhone.
Apple’s next processor, the so-called A9, may come with 2 gigabytes of RAM, an upgrade from the 1GB on the iPhone 6, according to Kuo. Samsung is expected to handle the bulk of the chip’s production, with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company likely handling a third of manufacturing.
No More Bending
Following the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in September 2014, some of Apple’s customers discovered that their iPhone 6 Plus was not “back pocket compatible,” resulting in a bent case. But the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus aren’t expected to have these problems, since they will use a different case material and will incorporate some internal design changes, according to Kuo. While this could mean a thicker iPhone case material, Apple is also experimenting with using carbon fiber and other materials to strengthen the aluminum iPhone while also making it thinner.
Kuo expects production of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus to start in late August, with 2015 shipments totaling between 80 and 90 million units. The smaller 6S is expected to outnumber the 6S Plus by a ratio of 2:1.