It's Apple devotees' favorite time of the year again.
Apple appears set to roll out its new iPhone this month, with a planned Sept. 9 event likely to mark the unveiling of the fabled iPhone 6. Just like unicorns or Tupac, we can't be absolutely sure what features the new iPhone 6 will have. But the rumors have been flying thick and fast, and expectations are high.
Here are some of features strongly rumored to be on the new iPhone 6.
A Model With a Bigger Screen.
Some Apple critics have compared the iPhone 5's puny 4-in. screen unfavorably with Samsung's flagship phones, like the Galaxy S5, which has a 5.1-in. screen. The iPhone 6 is expected to silence the complainers, with one iPhone 6 model rumored to have a 5.5-in. screen, which is quite a big jump in size. A second model may have a 4.7-in. display, which is also a pretty big increase, and certainly much larger than the comparatively minuscule iPhone 4 display, which was a mere 3.5 in.
Near Field Communication (NFC).
Near Field Communication is essentially a way to wirelessly connect devices over a very short range. The Financial Times reported Friday that Apple is working with a Dutch chipmaker to add NFC capabilities to the new iPhone, opening up the possibility of mobile, pay-by-touch payments and open other potential applications.
The iPhone 6's purported NFC capabilities will mean Apple could turn the iPhone into a mobile wallet, allowing users to pay for goods and services with a swipe of the phone. Apple is reportedly holding talks with credit-card companies and banks on the effort, and thanks to Apple's massive database of financial data it's collected through the App Store and iTunes, this could be push mobile payments into the mainstream.
One of the biggest complaints with the iPhone and other smartphones is that they're pretty fragile devices, considering how often we use them and how expensive they can be — and there are few things uglier than a cracked iPhone display. Well, Apple is developing synthetic sapphire at its new facility in Arizona, the Wall Street Journal reports, a harder and more expensive material that can replace glass. And if this can be believed, sapphire is remarkably resilient. Plus, Apple already used sapphire in smart parts of the iPhone 5 (over the camera lens) and in the iPhone 5S (for the home button/fingerprint scanner).
Apple's new operating system is one of the few things we do know a lot about, and it's official information from Apple this time. For instance, we know that Apple is rolling out a new HealthKit app as part of iOS 8 that allows users to keep track of their personal health and fitness data, which also pulls in data from other sources like Nike+ apps and health institutions. We also know that iOS 8 allows you to share apps, music and books purchased with the same credit card with your family, as well as save photos, video and documents to iCloud. The camera software will have a shot timer and other improvements, and group messaging will be more versatile: you can now add or drop someone from a conversation, finally.