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iPhone 6 Rumored to Arrive in September, in Two Sizes

·Technology Editor

A mockup of the iPhone 6, next to an iPhone 5s and iPhone 4s, by Sonny Dickson (SonnyDickson.com)

It’s been a little over 10 months since Apple released the iPhone 5s. This means that more than enough time has passed to start demanding: When’s the next one coming out already?!

Well, calm yourself down, eager iShopper. If the latest prominent rumors prove reliable, we could be seeing the iPhone 6 in less than two months.

Mark Gurman of Apple specialty site 9to5Mac reported that Apple is tentatively planning an iPhone 6 unveiling event for the second or third week in September. This isn’t something Apple officially told him, of course; the secretive company would never divulge its future plans. Gurman’s report comes from his anonymous sources.

That might ring a little sketchy to you, but there are plenty of reasons to put faith in the rumor. First: Gurman is generally trustworthy when it comes to Apple rumors. He’s not batting 1.000, but he gets way more right than he gets wrong. He has earned a reputation as one of the most reliable Apple reporters going. On stature alone, you could put stock in the mid-September rumor.

But there is supporting evidence beyond reputation to buttress that rumor, too. As I’ve written many times before, Apple tends to release its iPhone in predictable one-year cycles. The new iPhone comes out one year after the last. A year passes; the next iPhone arrives. For the past three years, the updated iPhone has debuted in the fall. It stands to reason that this one will, too.

And Gurman isn’t singing the September rumor alone: Other reputable sources have pegged it as the month we’ll see the iPhone 6, too. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has been impressive with his Apple predictions in the past several years, has written that the “consensus" indicates a September-October release for the next iPhone. The Wall Street Journal also expects a mid-September debut.

Mark it down: We’ll probably see the new iPhone by the end of September.

The other major rumor surrounding the next iPhone concerns its screen size –– or screen sizes. Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal both recently reported that Apple plans to unveil two new iPhones. One of the iPhones will have a 4.6-inch screen, they say; one will have a huge 5.5-inch screen. Both would be substantially larger than the iPhone 5s, which features a 4.0-inch display. The thinking is that a larger iPhone would better appeal to smartphone shoppers in China, who have been more drawn to large-display phones from Samsung and LG than they have been to the relatively svelte iPhone 5s.

For your reference, here’s the iPhone 5s next to Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3, which boasts a 5.7-inch display. That’s the kind of screen size upgrade we could be looking at should these rumors prove true.


This one, however, doesn’t seem quite as concrete. Analysts and reporters disagree on the timing of the two iPhones. Some say they will be released together; others believe the larger will lag behind by a couple of months; a few predict the larger could be delayed until next year. (This talk of delays arises from the apparent difficulty of bulk manufacturing the display for the 5.5-inch iPhone.)

All of this disagreement seems to be a sign that not even Apple knows its plan with 100 percent certainty at this point. Tech companies’ plans can change quickly, especially if there are manufacturing difficulties from suppliers. If you can’t make tens of thousands of new iPhones, and have a good stock ready for a September release date, then you delay the thing until you do.

Longtime Apple watchers might remember a similar situation in 2011. Almost everyone expected Apple to release two iPhones that year, too: The iPhone 4s, which would be the same size as the iPhone 4, and the iPhone 5, which would be larger and thinner. When only the iPhone 4s came out, disappointment followed. Where was the larger iPhone?

2014 could be a repeat, with only one new iPhone arriving on time. Granted, that iPhone could boast a substantially larger screen, from 4.0 to 4.6 inches, so the grousing about “It looks the same!” wouldn’t be as pronounced.

To sum up: The iPhone 6 will likely have a larger screen than the iPhone 5s. Whether it comes with an option for a much bigger screen, we don’t quite know yet.

Check back in a month –– when we’re a month away from the release of the next iPhone.