Have Manufacturing Plans for the iPhone 6 Been Leaked?

Source: Getty Images

Followers of tech news rarely lack for rumors about upcoming Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) products. But lately, speculation and leaks that may reveal the iPhone 6 seem to be heating up. The latest leaks to hit the Internet involve photos of schematics and manufacturing molds that will allegedly be used to make the next iPhone. The photos are said to have come from a plant belonging to Foxconn, a manufacturer responsible for making many Apple products.

If the photos are real, they suggest that Apple will indeed increase the screen size on the next iPhone, probably to 4.7 inches. If that’s how it plays out, it would show that Apple is listening to customers who, according to a survey conducted by ChangeWave, are very interested in a larger iPhone, with 40 percent of customers saying they would probably buy one.

Most major Android phones already have screens larger than the iPhone’s current 4-inch display. Plenty of rumors indicate that Apple will release a 4.7-inch iPhone this fall, with a 5.5-inch iPhone to come sometime later. The reason for the staggered release of the two phones is rumored to be due to supply chain issues, rather than strategic planning.

But back to those leaked images. The photos, posted to the Chinese blogging site SinaWeibo and reported by GforGames, allegedly show detailed iPhone 6 chassis production assets. You can see technical schematics that describe what would end up being an extremely thin chassis (the outer shell and casing for the electronics in the device), with chamfered outer edges, just like in many recent iOS devices.

If the schematics are real, the next iPhone won’t look too different current models — not that anyone really expects it to. It will still have a display surrounded by a thin bezel, with room on top of the screen for a speaker and front-facing camera, as well as room underneath for the home button, which also functions as a fingerprint reader for security purposes.

Another leaked photo is a picture of three-dimensional CAD renderings of the chassis mold, while two other images actually show the mold itself. Since there’s no sense of scale in the pictures of the mold, it’s impossible to tell exactly what dimensions the resulting iPhone would come in.

A separate photo leak over the weekend, posted by Nowhereelse.fr, may have give more hints about the dimensions. It shows a near-identical mold, but the picture also shows an iPhone 4s for a size comparison. According to MacRumors, “Calculations based on the comparison suggest that the mold could in fact yield a device with a display of roughly 4.7 inches, in line with the rumored size for the smaller of the two iPhone 6 models.”

In any case, based on the sheer number of rumors and photo leaks out of manufacturing plants, it’s looking ever more likely that the iPhone 6 will have a larger screen, and it is getting very close to entering production. The main question now is when exactly Apple will announce and release the device. If history is any indication, the announcement may come as soon as two weeks before the iPhone 6 hits store shelves. Since most rumors suggest a September release for the upcoming device, we’re not holding our breaths for an announcement anytime soon.

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