Apple may be planning some pretty big changes with the iPhone 6s it’s expected to unveil this fall, according to a report from one of the most reliable, well-connected Apple analysts. Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities issued a research note, obtained by Apple Insider’s Neil Hughes, reporting that this year’s upgraded iPhone will feature a new rose gold casing option, a 12-megapixel camera, and 2 gigabytes of RAM. Kuo also expects that another microphone will be added near the speaker on the iPhone 6s to improve sound quality, and thinks that Apple will include an upgraded Touch ID sensor to improve the Apple Pay experience.
The report also corroborated previous rumors that the iPhone 6s will feature the Force Touch input method that Apple introduced with the Apple Watch. Kuo thinks that the addition of Force Touch will be the biggest selling point of the iPhone 6s, but notes that it could also represent one of the biggest bottlenecks in Apple’s supply chain. He wrote, “Force Touch can enrich user experience due to more input methods and support of handwritten signatures, which is beneficial for expanding the commercial market.”
Hughes notes that Apple first introduced the gold color with the iPhone 5s in 2013, but so far hasn’t made any iPhone models of actual gold, unlike the luxury Apple Watch Edition that’s made of 18-karat gold and starts at $10,000. Kuo didn’t indicate whether the “rose gold” iPhone 6s would be made of actual gold or would simply resemble the color of the Apple Watch Edition, but the new color option would presumably bring the total to four as it joins the existing lineup of gold, space grey, and silver.
Kuo also reports that the iPhone 6s will feature a new design with different casing materials and a restructured internal design. Those changes would supposedly address the bending issues that affected the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus that the company released last fall. Kuo also suggested that some 5.5-inch Plus models could use scratch-resistant sapphire covers, but he notes that whether or not Apple chooses that material would depend on whether issues exposed by drop tests could be resolved.
With the iPhone 6s, Apple is also expected to upgrade its so-called A9 processor with 2 gigabytes of RAM, matching the memory of the iPad Air 2. Hughes points out that Apple has used a single gigabyte of RAM for the iPhone since the iPhone 5, which launched in 2012. It’s also rumored that Apple is considering a switch to the proprietary SIM card found in the latest iPads. Kuo believes that there will be no new 4-inch iPhone model this year, and that buyers of Apple’s upgraded iPhone will need to choose between the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch sizes.
The pace of rumors and reports about the upgraded iPhone expected out this fall is beginning to pick up. MacRumors reports that analysts have speculated on everything from the naming scheme for the new phones — one analyst thinks Apple will jump straight to “iPhone 7″ — to the materials Apple’s expected to use. (Some report that Apple’s new iPhones will use the same 7000 series aluminum as the Apple Watch, since it’s 60% stronger than standard aluminum but is still lightweight.)
In the past, “S” upgrades have added features like Siri, TouchID, new processors, and significant camera improvements, so MacRumors considers a more powerful A9 processor the minimum improvement that Apple will make with the phones to be unveiled this fall. Beyond Force Touch, rumored improvements include the introduction of a possible two-lens camera system, or the integration of other technology to improve the iPhone’s camera.