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The iPhone 6: Everything We’ve Heard About Apple’s Next Phone

Daniel Howley
Technology Editor
Yahoo Tech
iPhone 6 mockup

Apple’s iPhone 6 looks like it could offer some of the biggest changes to the company’s smartphone since it debuted in 2007. Rumors abound about the phone sporting a larger screen, a better camera, a slimmer design, and even a special chip that will let you make wireless payments at the checkout counter.

Oh, and did I mention that the iPhone 6 will likely come in two sizes?

There are so many rumors about Apple’s next smartphone crossing the wires that it can be hard to keep track of them. To help you sort through the clutter, we’ve put together this comprehensive rundown of what to expect from the iPhone 6. Here you’ll find all the latest information on the handset’s expected features and how they’ll impact your overall experience. Let’s get to it.

So, another iPhone, huh?
Yep. Just as summer always turns to fall, Apple, like clockwork, is getting ready to debut its newest iPhone. This one, though, looks like it’s going to be a rather large departure from Apple’s previous handsets. In fact, the company is said to be working on two versions of the iPhone 6.

Did you say two iPhones?
That’s right. Two iPhones. Apple is reportedly preparing to unveil two versions of the iPhone 6, one with a 4.7-inch screen and another with a 5.5-inch screen. That’s way bigger than the 4-inch display found on the iPhone 5s.

What’s so great about bigger screens?
Compared with its leading Android competitors, the iPhone’s screen is absolutely tiny. What’s more, surveys have repeatedly shown that consumers prefer large smartphone displays. And there’s a good reason for that.

iPhone 6 mockup with two smaller iPhones

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

Bigger screens generally make for a more enjoyable viewing experience, as you can see more content onscreen at once. Not to mention the fact that text is generally larger. What’s more, on a phone with a larger screen, you don’t have to squint to make out every detail of that movie you’re streaming.

Think of it like watching a movie on a big-screen TV vs. a 13-inch TV. It just doesn’t compare.

Doesn’t a larger screen just mean there’s more glass to break?
Good point. But Apple is taking steps to make sure that at least one of its big-screen iPhones is more durable than its predecessors thanks to the company’s new sapphire display technology.

Sapphire what?
Sapphire display. Apple is rumored to be producing sapphire screens for either one or both models of the iPhone 6. The tech is more durable than the standard Gorilla Glass panels that cover most of today’s smartphone screens.

Screenshot from video about sapphire glass

(Marques Brownlee)

In fact, videos posted online claiming to demonstrate the iPhone 6’s sapphire coating’s durability show the screen being bent and even scratched at with a knife without any signs of damage.

Sapphire displays are difficult and expensive to make, which is why many rumors indicate that only one version of the iPhone 6, presumably the more expensive 5.5-inch model, will get a sapphire screen.

So will the iPhone 6 be gigantic, then?
Kind of. While larger screens do mean that both versions of the iPhone 6 will be taller than the iPhone 5s, leaked images of the handset seem to indicate that the 6 will actually be thinner than its predecessor. It’ll be a big change for most folks who are used to the iPhone 5s’s smaller size, but in the end, it’ll be worth it.

Is there anything new with the iPhone 6’s camera?
Besides a pair of larger screens, the iPhone 6 will also reportedly get an improved camera. Rumors point to the iPhone 6 getting a larger camera than the current 8-megapixel camera found on the iPhone 5s. But there appears to be a disagreement on just what kind of camera the phone will get.

iPhone camera

(MacRumors)

According to some reports, the iPhone 6 will get a 10-megapixel rear camera, while MacRumors, citing a report from Digi-Wo, says the handset could get a 13-megapixel camera. The 13-megapixel camera could, however, end up on the more expensive 5.5-inch handset, while the 10-megapixel camera may go to the 4.7-inch phone, though that’s simple speculation on my part.

Further rumors indicate that the iPhone 6’s camera may offer optical image stabilization, a technology that keeps your videos and photos level even when your hand bounces or shakes.

Additional reports point to the iPhone 6’s camera sporting a detachable lens that can be switched out with optional lenses. This rumor, though, seems less likely than any of the others.

What’s this about NFC?
NFC, or near-field communication, is a specialized chip built into a smartphone that allows it to quickly pair and communicate with other NFC-compatible devices. One of the biggest upsides to NFC is that it can also be used as a means to make wireless payments with your phone at your store’s checkout counter.

iPhone being swiped in place of a card

Android smartphones have been using NFC for quite some time now, but the technology has never been used in an iPhone. But it’s looking more and more likely that the iPhone 6 will include the feature.

According to multiple reports, the iPhone 6 will use its NFC chip for wireless payments. The move makes sense for Apple, as it has already made some headway in brick-and-mortar stores with its iBeacon technology, which alerts phone owners about the location of nearby sale items and deals in their immediate vicinity.

Will the iPhone 6 be faster?
Rumor has it that the iPhone 6 will get one of Apple’s new A8 processors, which should be significantly faster than the company’s current A7 chip. According to 9to5Mac, Apple is also adding a new version of its M7 coprocessor to the iPhone 6, which will include a barometer and an air sensor.

What about iOS 8?
Shown off at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this year, iOS 8 will include everything from a slightly updated look to improved notifications. Siri also gets a brain boost, with features including a new hands-free mode.

There’s also an improved Spotlight search, and TouchID now works with third-party apps, not to mention third-party keyboard options.

HealthKit app displayed on two iPhones

But the biggest additions to iOS 8 are HealthKit and HomeKit. HealthKit is a one-stop shop for all your health information. The app aggregates all your stats from your disparate health and fitness apps and puts them in a single location, giving you a more complete view of your health.

HomeKit, on the other hand, lets you easily control your iOS-compatible in-home appliances, including lights, the thermostat, and even your garage door.

How about battery life?
Both the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch versions of the iPhone 6 are expected to get larger batteries than the power plant found in the iPhone 5s, according to CNET. That’s because with their larger screens and enhanced features, the new iPhones will require more power than their predecessors.

Whether that means both versions of the iPhone 6 will offer longer-lasting batteries than the iPhone 5s remains to be seen, but we certainly hope that’s the case.

Great. When can I buy one?
Apple usually releases its iPhones about 10 days after they are announced. So if the iPhone 6 is announced Sept. 9, you can expect to be able to buy one on or around Sept. 19. That said, there are rumors that one of the new iPhones might be available a little later than the other due to production issues.

How can I follow Apple’s announcement coverage?
We’ll actually be covering the event live from San Francisco. So be sure to check back with us Sept. 9 for all the up-to-the-second information on Apple’s big day. And don’t forget to stick around for our commentary and analysis of the day’s announcements. We’ll see you then.

Email Daniel at dhowley@yahoo-inc.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley or on Google+ here.