On May 12, 2015, appleinsider.com revealed that KGI securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo issued a new note outlining what he believed would be the key features of Apple’s rumored iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. A few days later, Kuo stated that the new phones, with all their new features, could even be dubbed “iPhone 7” and “iPhone 7 Plus”. The leaks generated significant buzz among techies as the source is arguably the most reliable one for advanced information on Apple’s upcoming products. In January of 2011, for example, Kuo almost perfectly predicted the iPad 2’s dual-core processor, screen resolution, and camera specs. He also correctly forecast several features of the iPhone 5, the discontinuation of the 17-inch MacBook Pro, and the redesign of the iMacs. But Kuo has also had his fair share of forecasting duds, including a prediction that a cheaper iPhone would be issued in 2013. Nevertheless, when it comes to forecasts on Apple products, hardly anyone can match Kuo’s accuracy.
Here are ten of Kuo’s most exciting predictions on Apple’s rumored iPhone 6S and IPhone 6S Plus (or iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus), which will supposedly begin being mass produced in mid-to-late August:
10. Force Touch technology will be the most important new feature.
Force Touch, already unveiled on Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Pro and the Apple Watch, is a haptic technology that allows for the detection of the force of a tap and correspondingly responds uniquely to the variances in the applied pressure. But what benefit does the inclusion of such technology in the new iPhones really provide for their users? It’s actually pretty exciting. Because Force sensors allow for the detection of variances in the intensity of pressure applied, a hard press could enable particular capabilities, such as displaying the definition of a word or showing the preview of a file. Increased pressure could also indicate that the user wants to increase the rate at which a movie fast forwards or an image zooms. And not only taps, but also drags can be pressure-sensitive, meaning signatures could be drawn with the precision of a fountain pen, thus raising the possibility for electronically generated signatures to be just as or even more reliably verifiable than physically written ones.
9. Rose gold will be available as an additional casing color.
Currently, the iPhone is available in silver, gold, and space grey. But if Kuo’s prediction holds true, the iPhone 6S will be available in a fourth color: rose gold. However, speculation is rife that the rose gold iPhone will be available only as a luxury (and impliedly much more expensive) model, maybe even containing actual 18-karat gold like the high-end version of the Apple Watch. Unfortunately for Apple, the announcement of the possible new color has been met with some skepticism. The Chinese market, identified as the iPhone’s biggest growing one, is said to be cool to the idea of a rose gold iPhone due to the “tacky” and “old-fashioned” vibe it would give off.
8. The main camera will be upgraded to 12 megapixels.
The role that megapixels play in determining a cellphone camera’s ability to take high-quality photos is a contentious one. In truth, despite the fact that the iPhone cameras’ megapixel counts have consistently lagged behind those of their competitors, several rankings consistently place the iPhone on top in terms of the quality of the photos that it can produce. Nevertheless, if Kuo’s predictions are to be believed, the iPhone 6S will mark the first huge resolution bump in several generations of the iPhone. More specifically, the iPhone 5’s and 6’s 8-megapixel iSight cameras would be upgraded to a 12-megapixel version in the newest incarnation. That could, depending on other factors, mean that significantly higher-quality photos could be taken with the iPhone 6S.
7. Voice clarity will be enhanced by a new microphone near the speaker.
Even the iPhone 5 already has three microphones: a front mic, a rear mic, and a bottom mic, which is near the speaker. So it’s not very clear what Kuo means when he predicts that a new microphone near the speaker will enhance voice quality. Will another microphone near the speaker be added (that would be unusual) or will the microphone near the speaker be replaced by a superior one (which is more likely)? In any case, Kuo predicts that iPhone 6S users will enjoy the superior microphone performance of their new gadgets, and in this regard, that’s probably all that really matters to iPhone users.
6. There will be a new A9 processor with 2GB LPDDR4 of RAM.
While the chipset of the iPhone 6 was an already impressive A8 processor with 1 GB of RAM, Kuo predicts that the iPhone 6S will be even better with its new A9 processor with 2 GB of RAM, doubling the RAM of the most recent edition of the iPhone. What that actually translates to for consumers is that the new iPhone may, like the iPad Air 2 with its 2GB of RAM, allow for multiple browser tabs to remain open without the speed within each tab and the performance of multiple open apps being compromised. Furthermore, previous increases in the RAM of the iPhone have traditionally been partnered with better app functionality, so if the iPhone’s RAM will, as predicted by Kuo, truly be doubled with the arrival of the iPhone 6S, the outcome is certainly worth looking forward to.
5. Gesture control will be supported.
With the introduction of iOS 7, it became possible for iPhone users, using select head movements, to operate a few functions, including controlling the device’s volume and activating Siri, among others. It must be said, however, that Samsung seemed to have always held the lead in the gesture-control race with its eye-tracking, facial recognition, and air-gesture features. However, With Kuo announcing that gesture control will be supported on the iPhone 6S, it seems likely that Apple will try to close the gap. How exactly, we’re not sure. But Apple’s recent patent for what is described to be a “three dimensional user interface session control” seems to point to hand gestures figuring prominently in the iPhone’s immediate future.
4. A new design will address bending issues.
Remember the “bendgate” controversy surrounding the iPhone 6 Plus? Well, if Kuo is to be believed, Apple has taken note of it and will build the iPhone 6S to be more physically resistant to bending even when carried tightly within a user’s pocket. More specifically, Kuo points to “different casing materials” and “internal mechanical design changes” that will make the iPhone more durable. And judging from what is already known about the bending problems of the iPhone 6 Plus, it would be safe to speculate that the “internal mechanical design changes” will involve the insertion of some type of a reinforcing material in the weak point of the phone where bending was observed to occur. Still, the “different casing materials” that will supposedly used for the iPhone 6S remain a mystery. Titanium perhaps?
3. A limited number of iPhone 6S Plus models could feature a sapphire cover.
In November of 2013, Apple was reported to have signed a $578 million contract with GT Advanced Technology for a supply of advanced sapphire material. That deal resulted in the tech world buzzing about how Apple was likely to use sapphire for the screens of the iPhone 6 or the iPhone 6 Plus. In the end, the rumors ended up being false, but why the excitement with sapphire covers in the first place? Well first, sapphire is considerably more scratch-resistant than the gorilla glass that iPhone screens are currently made with, so consumers might be able to worry less about putting their keys and their iPhones in the same pocket. However, the problem with sapphire is that while it is more scratch-resistant, it is also much more prone to shattering. That’s probably the reason why Kuo mentioned that a sapphire cover will only be used in the limited edition iPhone 6S Plus if drop test issues can be resolved. Second, sapphire, which is currently used for the iPhone home button’s Touch ID technology, could allow for whole palm-print scans instead of just fingerprint scans. That would greatly improve the security provided by Touch ID technology.
2. Touch ID will be further improved to promote Apple Pay.
One of the most important new features of the iPhone 5S was Touch ID, which allowed the home button to serve as a fingerprint scanner. However, serious security concerns have been raised about the technology, thus seeming to hurt Apple’s designs for consumers to use it in conjunction with Apple Pay. Additionally, iPhone users have complained that the current fingerprint sensors occasionally fail to recognize their fingerprints. Well, if Kuo turns out to be right, Apple will improve its Touch ID technology with the release of the iPhone 6S such that consumers who use it for Apple Pay can experience faster and more secure readings and transactions.
1. The sizes of the iPhone 6 displays will be retained, with no 4-inch display model being issued.
Devotees of the 4-inch iPhone display are likely to be devastated. Similar to their predecessors, the iPhone 6S and the iPhone 6S Plus are predicted to possess displays measuring 4.7 and 5.5 inches, respectively. And it’s difficult to blame Apple for this decision. Sales of the iPhone 6 and its Plus version have allowed the first quarter of 2015 to be Apple’s most profitable ever, the company even displacing Xiaomi as the #1 smartphone company in China. Besides, it was obviously the larger iPhone displays that allowed Apple to steal a substantial portion of the large-phone market. So, no, it’s certainly not looking too good for 4-inch iPhone display loyalists.