As anticipation for Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) next-generation iPhone builds, multiple reports on Tuesday point to the likelihood of a product launch on September 9. Re/code’s John Paczkowski reports that Apple is preparing for a large media event scheduled for that date.
The event is expected to be the debut of the new generation of iPhone devices. The new iPhone is widely – though unofficially –referred to as the iPhone 6. The date is consistent with Apple’s launches of previous iPhone generations, which have all seen September debuts.
Both Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal are also reporting that the September 9 event will be the launch of the new iPhone, respectively citing individuals who are familiar with the company’s plans. Bloomberg points out that last year’s iPhone 5s and 5c also debuted on the second Tuesday in September, which is September 9 this year. Sales will likely start a few weeks after the press event.
The iPhone 6 is expected to be available in two different models, one with a 4.7-inch screen and the other with 5.5-inch screen. (Both of those are larger than the current iPhone 5s and 5c’s 4-inch display.) However, it’s the subject of some controversy whether the two models will launch at the same time, with rumors circulating that production issues could cause the launch of the larger model to be pushed back, possibly until next year.
Those production delays could reportedly be related to the production process for the display, which integrates touch sensors into the liquid crystal screen.
The iPhone 6 has been the subject of a wide variety of rumors, with the larger screen size the object of much discussion. Samsung (SSNLF.PK) and other smartphone manufacturers have made larger and larger smartphones, capturing market share, as Apple has stuck with smaller display sizes.
While some consumers say they’d buy an iPhone if the screen were larger and others say they wouldn’t replace their current iPhone if the screen were larger, the market consistently demands larger phones. Apple is expected to respond in order to compete with Android (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL) smartphones and the large displays that many of them offer.
Other features expected with the new iPhone include a sapphire crystal display for one or both models, representing a shift away from Corning’s Gorilla Glass, which current models use. It’s also possible that the phones will be thinner in size, and both models are expected to feature metal cases like the current iPhone 5s. They may also be offered in multiple colors. Apple may also introduce an atmospheric sensor, plus temperature and humidity sensors, in the new models.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has asked its suppliers to prepare between 70 million and 80 million units of the two iPhone 6 models, a significantly larger production volume than last year’s order for 50 million to 60 million units of the iPhone 5s and 5c.
The production forecast reportedly accounts for a surge in global demand, spurred in no small part by Apple’s partnership with China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier. In China and in other emerging markets, the smartphone is replacing the computer as the primary personal computing device, and Apple is certainly looking to capitalize on that trend.
Apple is likely planning to make iOS 8 available to consumers at the time the iPhone 6 is launched, so current iPhone and iPad owners would receive an update around the period that the new models launch.
With iOS 8, Apple will introduce the new Health app; better integration among the iPhone, iPad, and Mac; updated capabilities for Messages; a new Photos app to sync photos across all devices with the iCloud Photo Library; new Family Sharing iTunes, iBooks, and App Store purchases; and updates to a wide variety of other features and tools.
The debut of the new iPhone typically begins Apple’s cycle of updating its other product lines for the holidays, and the company is expected to launch new iPads and a wearable device this year, widely expected to be the so-called “iWatch,” also the topic of its own range of rumors. A wearable device could be Apple’s next big thing and see the company enter a new market.