iPhone 6 Loses Sapphire on Release Date but Gains 128GB Storage, Programmable Power Key & One-Hand Use

By @ibtimesau on
The Apple logo.
IN PHOTO: The Apple logo is pictured at a retail store in the Marina neighborhood in San Francisco, California April 23, 2014. REUTERS / Robert Galbraith

All the hype about the iPhone 6 getting a sapphire glass cover on September 19 release date is just that, a hype, as a new report suggests that the material will be excluded from any of the two 2014 iPhones - the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models.

No sapphire coating

In fact, Ming-chi Kuo of KGI Securities is firmly convinced that not only sapphire glass will skip the next iPhone but the material will also exit the Apple supply chain altogether this 2014.

"Due to drop test issues, neither 4.7-inch nor 5.5-inch iPhone 6 will have a sapphire cover lens, we believe," the respectable Apple-focused analyst was quoted by 9to5Mac as saying.

Previously, Apple has employed sapphire as protective coating for the iPhone camera lens and the Touch ID fingerprint reader that was introduced with the iPhone 5S. It appears now, if Kuo is to be believed, that the material will be completely absent once the iPhone 6 begins rolling out.

To begin with, Apple has never confirmed that sapphire will play a bigger role with the upcoming iPhones, according to Apple Insider, adding that the material's supposed inclusion with the device is but the product of wild speculations stemming from the tech giant's partnership with sapphire producer GT Advanced Technology.

A 128GB iPhone 6 variant

Yet as the handset will never benefit from the scratch-free protection that sapphire would have afford, iPhone 6 users will surely rejoice with Apple's finalised plan of delivering up to 128GB of internal memory for the 2014 version.

A 128GB iPhone 6 will solidify Apple's hold on top of the global smartphone food chain and Kuo expects the variant to become immediately available "as Apple has strong bargaining power on NAND Flash price."

This move is also expected to meet the growing demands from Apple fans for more iPhone storage space without mimicking the widely-embraced memory expansion slot found on most Android flagship devices, Kuo said.

Programmable power button

Also, the KGI analyst is predicting that the Power key will have expanded functions in the iPhone 6. The button, Kuo said, will be given more input options and will be programmable that will give users direct access to specific applications. Pairing with apps is expected to be initially limited, the report hinted.

It is suggested too that the Power key will be relocated from the top portion to the right side of the device, which is true for both the regular and phablet-size new iPhones, Kuo said.

One-hand use mode

The rationale for the redesign, according to The New York Times, is to keep the iPhone 6 optimal for one-hand use despite its overstretched front panel. The same report also revealed that significant tweaks to come with iOS 8 "will allow people to type or use apps with just one hand."

Users have the option to reconfigure or turn the feature on and off, The NY Times added.

The KGI report also affirmed that mobile payment service and health management features will be packed with the iPhone 6 on release date, seen to happen a week after the Sept 9 grand Apple intro, though is warning in advance that initial supplies for both the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch builds could become problematic due to brewing labour issues with Asian manufacturers.

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