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iPhone 6 rumour rollup for the week ending October 7

Bloggers are so confident about what they know of iPhone 6 that they are advising you to forget about buying the iPhone 5S
  • John Cox (Network World)
  • 07 October, 2013 19:12

The eco-friendly iOSsphere has already begun recycling lapsed iPhone 5S rumours for the iPhone 6. There's a comforting familiarity to it all.

Bloggers are so confident about what they know of iPhone 6 that they are advising you to forget about buying the iPhone 5S. Among other things it's sure to have a better and, of course, bigger display. And that display will display a radial screen menu. Not that it matters, really, but Apple finally may be getting rid of Samsung as its processor supplier.

You read it here second.

iPhone 6 will be so good, you should cancel plans to buy iPhone 5S and just wait

Apparently many people are in a dilemma: They don't know whether to buy the iPhone 5S or wait anywhere from four to 12 months for the iPhone 6. Sachin Trivedi, at International Business Times, has it all figured out and offers "5 reasons why they should wait for the next handset iteration."

It's not clear how many people are in this dilemma, since it's being reported that in the past month, iPhone 5S became the number one-selling smartphone on all four major American carriers; and the 5C was either number 2 or number 3.

"Perhaps the biggest feature on the current iPhone 5S is the Touch ID fingerprint scanner," Trivedi writes. "The [same] feature is expected in the iPhone 6...." But since it's already in the 5S, isn't that a reason to buy the 5S?

Other "expected" improvements that are so compelling you should not buy an iPhone today are:  a quad-core processor, more RAM, the mythical still-larger screen, and a still-more-improved camera.

Finally, and this is our favorite of the five reasons for not buying the 5S, the Gold Issue. "Given the huge popularity of the gold colour, Apple may launch new variants of the gold colour in the iPhone 6," Trivedi writes. "The company will need to outdo the gold pink colour offering by Samsung...."

The logic here is a bit difficult to follow. But, having said that, outdoing the Samsung gold pink color cannot happen too soon.

iPhone 6 will have LTPS display technology and a bigger screen

GottaBeMobile's Josh Smith, posting about a "report" at Korea's ETNews, assures his readers, that "Apple's CEO Tim Cook is not sold on current screen technology for larger, higher resolution displays, but reports indicate Apple is experimenting with screens between 4.8 and 6 inches in size for the iPhone 6."

He links to a confusing English translation of the original Korean post on the ETNews site. But there's very little to it. "iPhone 5 increased the display size from 3.5 inch to 4 inch and its next version is sure to come with a bigger display at least 5 inch," according to the ETNews post. "The fact that display makers recently embarked on increasing their high-definition LCD production capacities for smartphone supports such observation."

That's an apparent reference to the spread of low-temperature, poly-silicon (LTPS) technology for displays. Among other things, LTPS can result in brighter displays, reduced power demand, improved accuracy in gray scale and color, as well as thinner, lighter assemblies that may be cheaper and easier to manufacture.

There's no question that Apple is evaluating maturing and emerging display technologies. And there's plenty of evidence that it has been testing for years an array of screen sizes. But there's still no indication that Apple has made the decision to either increase the iPhone's display size or to add a larger-screened model to its portfolio for 2014.

We can look forward over the next 12 months to the same arguments for a bigger iPhone screen that we've endured for the past 12 months.

iPhone 6 will have Micro USB 3.0 charging/connection port, and radial screen menu

The bigger iPhone screen argument is settled, at least for Erik Pineda, writing for International Business Times (IBT), who blithely describes other upcoming features also.

"Latest developments in Europe and a new Apple patent will likely dictate the final make of the phablet-size iPhone 6 on its release date, which is rumoured to become a reality in the first half of 2014," he posted.

The mention of Europe is a reference to some kind of vote recently by some kind of committee in the European Parliament to force "mobile device makers to standardize the connecting port that will be used in upcoming builds of smartphones and tablet computers."

The idea being that if the European Commission mandates Micro USB 3.0, then that will create a problem for Apple, since its Lightning dock and power interface, introduced with iPhone 5, is not compatible with the latest USB standard.

But this issue has been grinding on since at least 2009, when the EC and 14 mobile device makers including Apple signed a June memorandum of agreement on...standardizing the interface, as AppleInsider noted in a December 2010 post.

It's not clear if anything has actually changed. An alarmist MacworldUK story, by Karen Haslam, declares "Apple may be forced to drop Lightning connector for MicroUSB." But Haslam offers no details to back that up.

IBT's Pineda also thinks iPhone 6 will have "radial menus," based on a new patent just granted to Apple, as covered by PatentlyApple. The patent is for a way of organizing on-screen navigation menus "in a radial form," or a series of concentric and probably expanding/shrinking circles.

The patent is certainly evidence of Apple's technology research. But when, or even whether, any given technology will appear in a product is way, way up in the air.

iPhone 6 will have A8 chip, and Apple will dump Samsung as its chipmaker

A post in the Korean Economic Daily ( rippled throughout the iOSphere in reposts about Apple's processor future.

Here's the original KED post's headline, based on Google translate (linked to originally by Engadget): "Samsung, iPhone 6 'brains' makes ... Apple patent dispute 'refuse' to order quantities 30-40%"

Here's how various sites regurgitate it:

Engadget: "Apple rumored to need Samsung for some A8 chip production"

CNET, based on Engadget: "Apple may need Samsung to make enough chips for iPhone 6"

Digitimes, based on KED: "TSMC to cover 60-70% of Apple A8 chip production, says report"

InRumor based on Digitimes: "iPhone 6 rumors: Apple could shift to Taiwan's TSMC for chip manufacturing"

The Verge, based on KED: "Apple reportedly cutting Samsung's share of next iPhone chip production"

MacRumors, based on The Verge: "Samsung to Assist with Production of Apple's Next-Generation A8 Chip"

What does it mean? There have been about two years, or more, of rumors springing from the fact that because Apple and Samsung are smartphone rivals, Apple is or should be trying to cut its ties to various Samsung business units for its system-on-chip, displays, and various other internal iPhone components. But there doesn't seem to be much credible evidence that Apple is actually dissatisfied with Samsung as a supplier; or that Samsung wants to lose one of its biggest component customers.

Instead, Apple is continually refining its supply chain in light of its product plans and maturing or emerging technologies, shifting between companies as needed. In a lengthy, and somewhat rambling September blog post, AppleInsider's Daniel Eran Dilger argues that Apple already may be using chip foundry TSMC to manufacture some of the new 64-bit A7 SOCs for the new iPhone 5S, while Samsung supplies the majority of them.

That, Dilger suggests, may be a manufacturing prelude allowing both TSMC and Apple to test and evaluate TSMC's scale and quality, before going into full production for a 20-nanometer 64-bit A8 chip for later in 2014.

"If anything, it seems likely that Apple would push to introduce a TSMC A7 ASAP, and possibly create a mid-year enhancement of the same [A7] design benefitting from a newly completed die shrink process (as it did with the A5 for Apple TV last year)," Dilger says.

In a July 2013 post, Korea Economic Times claimed that "industry sources" said Samsung already has the 2015 contract with Apple to supply the majority of the "A9" chips using a 14 nanometer process for the first time.

For those who like their Korea Economic Daily straight up, there's an app for that: KED's own app on iTunes.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.Twitter:

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