3 Apple iPhone 6 Rumors to Chew Over: Chips, Displays, and Designs
With the expected launch of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 6 less than three months away, various rumors about the features and appearance of the next-generation models continue to emerge from the Cupertino, California-based company’s supply chain. While most sources seem to agree that the iPhone 6 will be available in two larger screen sizes of 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches, almost all other rumors concerning Apple’s upcoming devices appear to be up for dispute. Here are three of the latest iPhone 6 rumors making the rounds on Monday.
1. Is This the iPhone 6 NFC Chip Supplier?
A new report from The Wall Street Journal suggests that Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors (NASDAQ:NXPI) may be supplying the Near Field Communication (NFC) technology for Apple’s iPhone 6. Although the report doesn’t offer any evidence for the supplier relationship beyond a rumor that the iPhone 6 will include an NFC chip, The Wall Street Journal pointed out that “The first rule about a design win from Apple: Don’t talk about the design win.”
Although many Android-based smartphone makers currently use NFC technology in their devices, Apple has long favored the use of the Bluetooth LE wireless protocol in lieu of NFC. However, according to unnamed insider sources cited by BrightWire last month, Apple’s iPhone 6 will include an NFC chip to enable a new wireless mobile payments service. Apple has long been rumored to be developing a mobile payments service that would utilize its approximately 800 million iTunes accounts. Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal cited unnamed sources that claimed Apple executives were meeting with various industry leaders to discuss a new mobile payments service, while 9to5Mac reported that Apple had approached various luxury retail stores for similar discussions last month.
Finally, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has also predicted that the iPhone 6 would include an “NFC chip with security element and metal casing” in a note obtained by 9to5Mac. While its unknown if NXP Semiconductors is providing NFC chips for the iPhone 6, it should be noted that Apple has nine separate NXP Semiconductors facilities on its 2014 supplier list.
2. The iPhone 6 Will Feature a New, Thinner Display Technology
A new report from China Times via GforGames suggests that Apple may encounter yield issues with the upcoming iPhone 6 due to the implementation of a new, thinner display technology. According to China Times’ supply chain sources, Apple reduced the number of brightness enhancement films (BEFs) used in the iPhone 6 from two to one in order to reduce the overall thickness of the device.
Per GforGames, this means that the single remaining BEF film must be of a higher quality in order to compensate for the missing layer. Unfortunately, according to China Times’ sources, Apple supplier Minebea has struggled with the production of the new display technology and may be replaced by Omron and Radiant Opto. For this reason, production of the iPhone 6 may be slowed down.
Along with the rumor about the new, thinner display technology, China Times’ supply chain sources also suggested that the iPhone 6 will continue to use “in-cell” technology. This contradicts previously reported rumors that suggested Apple was switching to “on-cell” based displays. The primary difference between the two technologies is that on-cell brings the touch function layer of the display closer to the screen’s surface. As a result, on-cell-based displays supposedly provide better touchscreen responses.
3. The iPhone 6 Mockup Designs Are Misleading
A new report from Japan’s Nikkei aims to correct many of the misconceptions about the design of Apple’s next-generation devices. Except for two iPhone 6 LCD backlight components that were recently posted online, there has been a noticeable lack of genuine iPhone 6 component leaks. As a result, many of the details about the upcoming iPhone 6 models have been derived from mockups that are based on leaked design specifications. Nikkei’s contacts within Apple’s supply chain pointed out several misleading design elements found in many of the iPhone 6 mockup models that are circulating online.
First, although the iPhone 6 is rumored to feature a curved display that extends slightly over the edges of the device, the mockup models have been unable to replicate this design feature due to the limitations of the materials used. According to Nikkei’s sources, the iPhone 6 will feature a slightly curved screen.
Second, the aluminum casing for the iPhone 6 is also misrepresented in many of the mockup models. Unlike the iPhone 5S that features 45-degree angle chamfered edges, the iPhone 6 will feature softly curved edges that are similar to the design of the latest iPod touch models.
Third, as noted by Nikkei’s sources, many of the mockup models have featured thin white-striped lines on the back casing. According to the sources, these lines are not part of the final design and will be replaced with glass panels similar to the ones found on the iPhone 5S.
Finally, Nikkei’s sources confirmed that the rear casing of the iPhone 6 would feature a cutout Apple logo instead of the engraved logo used on previous iPhone models. This design feature suggests that the upcoming iPhones will feature an illuminated logo on the back casing, similar to what is seen on Apple’s MacBooks.
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