KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, otherwise known as the most well-connected Apple analyst in the world, has issued a new note to investors about what he believes will be the hardware specs of the next iPhone. Before getting to those specs, it’s important to note that Kuo is more often right than wrong–making him a rare source of knowledge in the field of iPhone rumors. It doesn’t appear Kuo has any inside contacts at Apple feeding him tips, rather he has deep sources within Asia’s supply chain which allows him to predict with great certainty what future Apple products will be made of.
There has been speculation that the next iPhone will be called the iPhone 7, yet the spec predictions by Kuo suggest that the next iPhone may not be different enough from the current 6 series to get a new numbering branding. Rather, it’s likely Apple is going to name the next iPhone the "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus”. So, what does Kuo know (or thinks he knows) about the next iPhone?
Force Touch Display
Kuo says “Force Touch will be the biggest upgraded selling point, but also one of the main bottlenecks of the supply chain. Force Touch can enhance user experience due to more input methods and support of handwritten signatures, which is beneficial for expanding in the commercial market.”
Force Touch is of course the driving input method on the Apple Watch. It allows the screen to detect how hard and long a touch is applied. This enables greater input methods. It seems like a given for the iPhone and opens up an entirely new array of input possibilities–which are much more useful on a bigger display than the one found on the Apple Watch.
No New Screen Sizes
Kuo says “Screen will remain at 4.7 and 5.5 inches, with resolution the same as existing models. There will be no new 4-inch model.”
No surprise here given Apple just introduced two new screen sizes last year. One thing that some people will find disappointing is Kuo says there won’t be a new 4-inch model, which while though small by today’s standards, some people still love.
Rose Gold Body
Kuo says “There will be an additional casing color, rose gold, matching the rose gold Apple Watch Edition.”
This is actually somewhat of a surprise considering we already have a gold iPhone. The key phrase in Kuo’s prediction is “color”, however. I find it hard to believe that Apple will make a rose gold iPhone that is made of actual gold. It would cost a fortune–or well over the Rose gold Apple Watch’s $17,000.
Kuo says “The camera will have a pixel upgrade, likely to 12 MP.”
iPhone, welcome to 2013!! But seriously, we all know Apple has the camera tech to eek out the best pics even though it uses lower megapixel sensors, but a 12MP sensor addition is much welcome and long overdue. I for one would rather have built-in optical image stabilization across the line, though. Here’s hoping the next iPhone has that too.
Kuo says “One microphone will be added near the speaker to enhance voice quality.”
Not exactly groundbreaking, but nice nonetheless. Not only will this help with calls, it could signal Apple has bigger plans for Siri in iOS 9, as an extra mic would make it easier for Siri to accurately pick up what you are saying.
A9 PLUS More RAM!!!!!
Kuo says “The A9 processor with upgraded 2GB LPDDR4 will be adopted.”
A9? No shock. More RAM? About freaking time! Even though Kuo is predicting 2GB LPDDR4 RAM–double the iPhone’s current RAM, it’s still well behind most Android phones that have 3GB or more of RAM. Still, this will be a nice little boost that is going to make the next iPhone a monster powerhouse.
Bendgate Be GONE!
Kuo says “The bending issue will be improved by using different casing materials and internal mechanical design changes.”
Look, “bendgate” with the iPhone 6 was overblown. Though it got a crazy amount of media attention, hardly anyone’s iPhone actually bent. Regardless, it’s nice to hear Apple is taking any flaw, no matter how rare, seriously.
Kuo says “If drop test issues can be resolved, the 5.5-inch model will have a limited number of units with sapphire cover lens.”
This is an interesting assertion. First, Kuo clearly isn’t sure of this. Second, if he is right and Apple is going to add a sapphire covering lens to the iPhone 6s Plus it will further distinguish between the Plus and the regular model. Those 4.7-inch fans might feel like Apple is treating them as second class citizens–never a good thing. We shall see. Currently Apple does use sapphire on both iPhones via the Touch ID and camera lens coverings.
Better Touch ID
Kuo says “The recognition rate of Touch ID will be improved further in a bid to promote Apple Pay.”
This is good news for two reasons. First, the Touch ID is one of the best features on the iPhone. When it works, it’s flawless. The bad thing about it however is that if your hands are moist or have dust on them, the Touch ID won’t recognize your fingerprint. Anything that makes sure the Touch ID works all the time is a good thing in my book. The second reason this is exciting is because Apple Pay is awesome–it just needs bigger adoption. Apple wants to make it easier for people to use Apple Pay so an improve Touch ID experience makes sense.
Gesture Control Support
Kuo says “Gesture control support.”
Very brief. So, what is gesture control support? It’s the ability to move the device in a gesture pattern to do something on the device itself. For example, a tilt gesture would allow you to tilt the iPhone to scroll through a web page without needing to touch the screen.
Everything Kuo is predicting sounds good in our book. Though he didn’t give a timeline for the next iPhone’s launch, he did say mass production of the device will start in mid-to-late August. That puts a late September launch (as usual) likely. Kuo also says Apple will ship 80-90 million iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus’ in 2015 with a 2:1 ratio of 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models.