With the expected unveiling of Apple’s new iPhone 6 models less than one month away, it seems that the usual trickle of iPhone 6 component leaks and rumors has recently turned into a flood. Along with several previously unseen iPhone 6 parts, last week also saw new rumors about the device’s production schedule, release date, and the possible addition of a new country to the list of places that will be included in the initial launch for the upcoming iPhone models. Here are the latest Apple iPhone 6 rumors that were making the rounds last week.
1. iPhone 6 Apple logo, camera ring, and more
The source: Last week kicked off with a deluge of purported iPhone 6 components courtesy of French tech website Nowhereelse.fr. The leaked parts included a translucent Apple logo that will supposedly be embedded in the rear casing of the new iPhone models, a round camera ring, a camera flash module, a Touch ID support ring, a headphone jack, and a Lightning connector bracket.
The background: Most of the leaked components obtained by Nowhereelse.fr are not particularly notable except as further evidence that the production of the iPhone 6 is ramping up. However, the translucent Apple logo, the round camera ring, and the flash module are all interesting because they suggest Apple has implemented several major design changes from the current model’s design.
Previous leaks of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 rear casing showed a cutout Apple logo aperture. The emergence of a translucent Apple logo part appears to offer further proof that Apple will use an embedded logo in the iPhone for the first time since the original iPhone in 2007, instead of the usual engraved logo. The embedded logo has also led to speculation that the iPhone 6 will feature an illuminated logo, like what is seen on Apple’s MacBooks.
As noted by Nowhereelse.fr, the round camera ring appears to be designed to protrude slightly from the casing, a significant departure from the current sleek iPhone design. Finally, the camera flash module appears to show the True Tone dual LED flash technology that Apple introduced on the iPhone 5S. However, it appears that Apple has abandoned the “pill-shaped” aperture used on the iPhone 5S and has returned to a round hole design.
2. iPhone 6 rear casing
The source: Perennial Apple leaker Sonny Dickson provided another look at the purported rear shell of the upcoming iPhone 6 with several images posted to his Twitter account. The well-worn component shows a cutout Apple logo, as well as a round camera lens hole and round flash aperture.
The background: Dickson is a well-connected Apple components leaker who is known for being able to obtain genuine parts for unreleased products. Although it is difficult to tell from just looking at the images, the unfinished silver ring surrounding the camera lens hole suggests that the device’s camera may indeed protrude slightly from the body of the device, similar to the camera design on the fifth-generation iPod touch.
3. iPhone 6 in final testing stage
The source: According to a post on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo that was first spotted by GforGames, Apple’s iPhone 6 is currently in the PVT (Product Validation Test) stage of production. According to GforGames, the source is a respected tech expert in China who presumably has connections in Apple’s supply chain.
The background: As noted by GforGames, the PVT stage is a full speed assembly line test that is the final stage before regular mass production is started. The source, who purportedly obtained this information from Foxconn’s facility in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, claimed that yield rates reached 90 percent during this crucial test run. The source also noted that this means Apple’s expected iPhone release date in September will not be a problem. This report aligns with a report from ReCode last week that stated that Apple would unveil the new iPhone models at a media event scheduled for September 9.
4. Thailand government agency confirms approval for two iPhone 6 models
The source: An official from Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission revealed earlier last week that his agency had approved two new iPhone models for sale in the country, reports Manager Online via MacRumors. The official noted that he could provide no other details and had no knowledge of the devices’ release date. According to MacRumors, a report from Thailand’s Thai Rath newspaper stated that Apple representatives later met with government officials in order to discuss the disclosure and to clarify that the devices may not be sold under the iPhone 6 name.
The background: Since Apple didn’t seek Thailand’s approval for last year’s iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S until after the devices had been launched in the U.S., China, and other major markets, this bid for early approval suggests that Apple may be preparing an even larger initial launch for this year’s models. Last month, The Wall Street Journal cited sources that claimed Apple has told its suppliers to manufacture between 70 million and 80 million units combined of both larger-screen models before the end of the year, significantly more than last year’s production run for the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S.
5. Pegatron snags half of 4.7-inch iPhone 6 orders
The source: Apple supplier Pegatron has secured 25 million of the estimated 50 million total orders for Apple’s 4.7-inch iPhone 6, according to supply chain sources cited by the Taiwan-based DigiTimes. The remaining 4.7-inch model orders will be handled by Hon Hai Precision Industry, also known as Foxconn.
The background: As noted by DigiTimes, Foxconn was previously believed to be handling approximately 70 percent of the orders for the 4.7-inch model. However, it appears that Foxconn will still be handling all of Apple’s 5.5-inch iPhone orders. While it’s not clear why more 4.7-inch model orders were shifted to Pegatron, it may be related to Apple’s ongoing efforts to diversify its supply chain. According to Apple’s 2014 supplier list, the iPhone maker currently uses eight separate Pegatron facilities to manufacture its devices. According to the sources cited by DigiTimes, Pegatron’s increase in orders means that Apple will provide about 35 to 40 percent of the company’s total revenues.
6. Will sapphire screens be limited to “more expensive” models?
The source: A recent report from The Wall Street Journal cited unnamed sources who claimed that Apple may only be using sapphire screens for a limited number of high-end iPhone models in both sizes. The report also noted that Apple may charge a premium for the sapphire-covered devices due to the higher cost associated with sapphire production.
The background: Although Apple has a well-known interest in sapphire due to its documented investment with GT Advanced Technologies, analysts are still divided over how extensively Apple will use this hard, but expensive display material. PTT Research analyst Matt Margolis — who is well known for his investigative research on Apple’s partnership with GT Advanced Technologies — recently told Wall St. Cheat Sheet that he believes Apple will likely use sapphire in the “majority if not all of the iPhone 6 units sold in 2014.”
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