If you’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of the iPhone 6 this fall, there are a few rumored features that just probably won’t happen.
As always, the Apple rumor mill is in full swing over the much-anticipated release of the new iPhone 6. The reality is, Apple isn’t unaware of just how hungry we are for news, and a lot of the rumors — many of which are based on patent filings, agreements with other companies and leaks from supposed “Apple insiders” — are probably just a load of hooey. These are the 10 I think are the least likely, though as with all things Apple, you never know what those guys have up their mock turtle-necked sleeves.
(And, don’t worry, I’ll also give you a little insight into what I think is actually possible a bit later.)
Rumor 1: Super-thin profile
This rumor got started after Apple revealed at WWDC 2014 that headphone makers can now manufacture headphones that would be able to connect to an iOS device (iPhones, iPads) via the lightning port. This is great news because the lightning port would allow you to stream lossless audio or even noise-cancellation in headphones that support that.
Now, ditching that old-fashioned audio jack would certainly allow them to make the iPhone thinner (and allow them to deliver lossless audio downloads through iTunes). However, can you imagine how ticked people would be if they lost their ability to use not only the really expensive headphones they’d invested in (because they don’t support lightning) but also the ability to connect their iOS device to any number of other accessories that use the audio jack (like some third-party products that let you run audio from your iPhone to your car)?
I’m not saying it will never happen, but they’ll need to give people time to convert.
Rumor 2: Curved screen
There’s a theoretical advantage to the curved screen, like those on the LG G Flex, in that it could reduce glare. The problem is, after this rumor got out, a host of artistic renderings of what the phone would look like surfaced then were re-shared without any notations that it wasn’t an actual mockup, but an artist’s imagining. But the reality is, the curvature of the display doesn’t necessarily need to be as extreme as that of the G Flex in order to improve outdoor readability, so it’s actually possible (and some would say likely) the curvature would be barely discernible to the human eye.
Rumor 3: Jumbo screen
Many have theorized that the screen would be significantly larger than the current screen, but this is likely untrue. The current models feature a 4-inch (diagonal) display. Firstly, a phone can only get so big before it’s just silly. No one wants to look like she’s holding an iPad mini to her ear. They’re literally calling this rumored monstrosity a phablet (phone + tablet).
But there’s another key reason that any increase will be only slight. The larger the display gets, the more impact it has on battery life. It may well go up, but it’s unlikely to go up more than an inch (probably less).
Rumor 4: Liquid metal frame
The liquid metal frame actually is possible; it’s just not likely. The technology is there and Apple’s had a patent on a way to use it to attach an iPhone screen for a while. The problem is, liquid metal is expensive, which isn’t a great thing for a company who’s already been slammed for their high price point.
Rumor 5: Haptic display
This was a rumor for the iPhone 5, as well. Apple got a patent back in 2012 regarding haptic tech, which started the rumor. Localized haptic feedback would basically give a tactile sensation when you touched the screen. I don’t think this is likely because, to be frank, it’s just not essential and the potential for decrease to the battery life just isn’t worth it.
Rumor 6: NFC
Near field communication (NFC) is a set of standards for devices like smartphones that allow them to communicate via radio communication when they touch or are in close proximity. Sounds great, right? Except that it increases the likelihood (and ease) of hacking the phone. Apple’s actually taken a firm stance against NFC in the past. While many feel the benefits outweigh the disadvantages, Apple execs have previously pointed out that most of what you need NFC for can also be done with Passbook. That said, they have been in discussions with retailers that likely have to do with development of their own mobile payment system, which could conceivably make use of NFC.
Rumor 7: Wireless charging
I’d personally love this one, but it’s another one Apple’s said no to in the past. They make a valid point about the fact that wireless charging does still require you to have the wireless charger plugged into the wall, which is one more device to plug in. But if it were to come in the form of a charging pad, as rumored, it could also allow you to charge multiple devices from the same outlet simultaneously (including your compatible MacBook). As much as I’d love it, though, it still seems unlikely.
Rumor 8: Solar-powered charging
According to this rumor, all you’d need is a sunny day to charge your phone. It was started by a solar-power-related patent Apple filed. They’re committed to solar power, so I guess it could make sense, but we should also keep in mind that they file patents that don’t have anything to do with the iPhone. It’s more likely the patent has to do with something else. I just don’t see them mobilizing with that type of technology by the end of the year (but hopefully, I’ll have to eat my words on that one).
Rumor 9: Flexible wrap-around display
This seems similar to the curved display, but it’s got a bit of a different purpose. Based on yet another patent rumor, this display would basically mean you could view content on any side of the phone and that the content’s orientation may be dependent on your viewing angle. Again, this is something that seems unlikely because of the reduction in battery power and that it’s really just a novelty without apps and other things that can take advantage of it (which means it probably would’ve been announced at WWDC).
Chances are, this patent has to do with another device, such as the rumored iWatch or maybe some form of Apple-branded television (a girl can dream).
Rumor 10: High-megapixel camera
The Nokia Lumia 1020 has a 41-megapixel camera, significantly more than any Apple offering. So when Apple hired Ari Partinen, the man behind the crazy megapixels, the rumor mill went into high gear. Except that most camera manufacturers don’t believe that level of megapixels has a significant impact on picture quality, and Apple clearly agrees. They’ve spent most of their time improving their cameras by actually improving the quality, adding things like True Tone flash, auto image stabilization and a sapphire crystal lens cover.
The day before hiring Partinen, they filed a patent for a super-resolution based on optical image stabilization. And since he’s actually an engineer, there’s no reason to believe megapixels are his only game. Chances are, the new phone will have a megapixel rating of between 8 and 10, but focus on improving the actual technology (and even that may not show up as soon as the iPhone 6 since they just hired him in May).
What we probably will see
I’m expecting the screen to be somewhere around 4.7 inches given some of the rumored CAD mock-ups we’ve seen. Anything bigger than that and I’ll have to figure out a way to grow bigger hands.
And that unbreakable screen you’ve been hearing about? I’m giving that a big old probably! Not only have we seen supposed releases of it, but after a special deal with the company that manufactures the sapphire crystal glass used for their cameras, a move that would allow them to get enough of the special “glass” for 100 million to 2 million 5-inch screens according to 9to5mac.com, it seems Gorilla Glass may be the one for whom the Apple ringer tolls.