2014, Apple made the biggest upgrade to its iPhone lineup: it finally
introduced a larger iPhone, and not just one, but two models, the iPhone
6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
This year, in 2015, we don’t expect another
major redesign. Instead, rumors agree that Apple will stick to its
tradition of focusing on internal hardware and software updates in the
second year after it introduces a new design.
Now, the first
rumors have started coming in from reputable sources, and it’s time to
round up the picture around the 2015 Apple iPhones: the iPhone 6s and
iPhone 6s Plus, as most analyst expects them to be called.
More capable, 12-megapixel camera, and maybe, 4K video (finally?)
first featured an 8-megapixel camera on the iPhone 4s back in 2011, and
since then all iPhones have used 8-megapixel sensors with slight
variances in the size of the sensor itself. At the same time rivals like
Samsung, HTC and Sony have started using 16- and 20-megapixel main
cameras, which theoretically are capable of capturing more detail in
daylight but come with reduced pixels that make it harder to capture
great low-light images.
In 2015, it seems that it is time for
Apple to also make the jump to a higher-res camera, and rumors agree
that the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will focus on the camera
experience with a brand new, 12-megapixel camera sensor.
12-megapixel sensor would also allow Apple to enable 4K video recording,
something that is not possible on an 8-megapixel camera.
seen various rumors about this particular upgrade, including wild
theories about clip-on lenses introduced by Apple, and even a
mirror-like system that would allow using the rear camera also for
selfies, but so far, these seem like a far stretch. Having a
12-megapixel camera with some new shooting options and 4K video
recording, however, do seem possible and very likely.
first introduced Force Touch with the Apple Watch. A feature that
allows the device to know the difference between a slight tap and a
longer, more forceful touch on the display, this feat is already
available on the Apple wearable, and now rumors point out that it’s
coming to the new, 2015 edition of the iPhone.
find this rumor very credible for two reasons: it comes from various
sources, with reputable ones like KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo among
them, and it fits well in a tradition of synergies for Apple that we’ve
seen with the iPad mini design being adopted by others, as well as in
So far, though, it’s hard to say how will Force
Touch work on the iPhone. Also, having both a slight tap and ‘force
touch’ is not all that intuitive, and will take some getting used to.
Such a solution is also not a transparent one in many cases: what would
happen if you force touch in the Music app? what if you do the same in
the Photos application? and what about other places? We’re curious to
see how and if Apple implements Force Touch in the iPhone 6s.
Apple A9 expected to make the jump to 14nm, and – finally – an iPhone is coming with 2GB of RAM
has remained a leader in terms of benchmark performance (especially on
the CPU side) with the Apple A8 chip it introduced with the iPhone 6,
and the 2015 edition of the iPhone is practically certain to get the new
Fine details about the Apple A9 chip are still under a
veil of secrecy, but there are some transitions that are very likely to
happen. First, we do expect the Apple A9 to be built by Samsung and not
TSMC due to the more advanced manufacturing that’s already available at
Samsung fabs. Apple chose TSMC as its supplier for the 20nm Apple A8,
and this year, Bloomberg has reported that it will make the jump to 14nm
with the Apple A9 with Samsung being the manufacturer.
Cross-section of Samsung’s 14nm FinFETs in Exynos 7420, image courtesy of Chipworks
importantly, this will also be a move from a planar design to FinFET
for the transistors in the chip. This is important as, at current
miniature nodes, planar architectures are affected by power leakage
issues due to the gate in planar architectures having a reduced control
over the source-drain channel, while FinFETs have their gate wrapping
around the channel (rather than just laying on top of the channel) and
are thus capable of keeping tighter electrostatic control over the
channel. And while Samsung is at its first generation of FinFETs, while
Intel is alread at the second one, it’s nonetheless remarkable how a
cheap mobile SoC will be edging closer to the expensive Intel chips,
using the same advanced technological process.
performance terms, we do expect this switch to a new node and
architecture to yield some substantial gains in performance. Last year,
Apple stated that the A8 brings 25% more CPU performance and 50% more
graphics performance while drawing only 50% of the power compared to the
Apple A7, and we’re curious to see what the numbers will be this year.
Improved design: sturdier, 7000 series aluminum, and a rose gold option
iPhone 6 Plus was widely accused of being prone to bending, even under
lighter pressure, and this bend-gate was quite the hot topic around the
launch of the phone late in 2014. Apple seems determined to put all
chances of such deformation occurring even under slight pressure to
rest, as rumors say that rather than using 6000 series aluminum, the
2015 generations of the iPhone might come with a sturdier 7000-series
aluminum alloy. If this change does indeed happen, it’s not certain
whether Apple will advertize the new material all that much – given all
the controversy around the issue – but this new alloy does seem like a
Interestingly, rumors also speculate that
Apple is working on adding a fourth, ‘rose gold’ color option for
iPhones along with the current gold, space grey, and silver models.
A concept for a rose-gold iPhone
Apple iOS 9: the big launch for Beats
One thing that seems
practically certain is that the new iPhones will run on iOS 9. Apple
hasn’t skipped a year since the launch of the original iPhone in 2007,
introducing new versions of iOS every year. This year, we expect to see
iOS 9 at WWDC 2015 on June 8th, and while the feature list for the new
version of the platform is not official yet, the big highlight is
expected to be the re-introduction of the Beats music subscription
Apple seems to have built a lot of momentum in the music
industry, and with names like Taylor Swift and others leading what
looks like an open war with Spotify, the new Beats Music subscription
service could snatch some high-profile exclusive artists. So far,
expectations are that all-you-can-eat music with Beats will cost $10 a
month, just like Spotify.
Apple iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus price and release date
the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are not likely to surprise us when it
comes to their price and release date. Apple keeps a steady yearly
cadence with its iPhone announcement, and if this year is part of that
repetitive pattern, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus announcement should happen
on Tuesday, September 8th with a release date on Friday, September
The prices will also likely be unchanged at $200 for the iPhone 6s and $300 for the iPhone 6s Plus on a two-year contract.
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