It's that time again, when rumors about a new iPhone are pushing up through the noise. According to some news reports, the iPhone 6 is scheduled to be unveiled and launched in August, instead of the previously expected September date.
The Taiwan-based Economic Daily News reported Friday that, based on information from people with knowledge of what Apple intends to do, a new 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will be accompanied by the appearance of a larger, phablet-ish iPhone with a 5.5- or 5.6-inch display.
That larger iPhone, the publication said, will not be available until September. Reuters news service has previously reported that 4.7- and 5.5-inch iPhones will be released later this year. Currently, the iPhone's screen size is 4 inches.
'Super-Resolution' Patent Application
Meanwhile, some buzz is being generated about Apple's intention for the next generations of phone cameras.
A key member of Nokia's camera engineering team, Ari Partinen, has confirmed that he will be moving to Apple, beginning in June. And an Apple patent application was published on Thursday, as part of the normal patent approval process.
It covers "super-resolution based on optical image stabilization," where the tech giant envisions several, slightly differently angled images merging into a super-image.
However, that application's technology may not appear in this year's iPhone releases. As Apple Insider points out, the stabilization technology discussed in the application requires additional hardware, and rumors indicate that Apple is focused on digital stabilization in the near future. It is possible that digital stabilization and enhancement could also significantly increase the phone's picture-taking quality -- although, given the superb quality of many phone camera-taken images, one wonders at what point a non-expert's human eye will be able to recognize any further improvement.
Ramon Llamas, research analyst at industry research firm IDC, told us flatly that he expects the iPhone 6 to launch in September, not August.
When the company does announce its next round of iPhones, he said, larger screens are "the low-hanging fruit, no pun intended."
"If you look at Apple's gaps in its product portfolio, and the appeal of the larger screen smartphone," he said, "Apple has been absent."
Llamas also said he "always expects new camera features" in any smartphone maker's announcements, although he did not specify which camera features he expects from Apple's next launch. He did, however, share with us his "wish list" for the next iPhone, which, given his familiarity with the territory, could well be near or on the top of Apple's own to-do list.
Those wishes include near field communication, or NFC, which has been frequently mentioned as a nice-to-have prior to the release of the last few rounds of new iPhones. Llamas also said he hoped to see wireless, or induction, charging, where, for instance, you rest your phone on a charging box instead of having to negotiate wires. And he hoped for "a fingerprint sensor that is used for more than just unlocking" the device, but is also used as, say, a substitute for any password-required log-on for an app.