Tired of your white iPhone 4 already? Is the release of the iPhone 5 (expected to happen in September of this year) not exciting enough? Good news: There are already a handful of rumors swirling about the iPhone 6, Apple's next next iteration of the popular smartphone.
The rumors started when the Japanese newspaper Nikkan reported earlier this week that Sharp has already started working on the screen that will be used in the Apple phone. That report led to a number of conversations about the phone that turned up some interesting information. Here's what we know so far:
2012 RELEASE DATE: The Nikkan report suggested that the follow-up to Apple's iPhone 5 would drop sometime during the first half of 2012. That makes sense as it fits with the smartphone's history; since it debuted in 2007, a new model has come out every year.
SHARP LCD SCREENS: The displays being produced by Sharp are made using a new low-temperature poly-silicon (p-SI) liquid crystal. The company is in the process of converting its Kameyama Plant, which is used primarily for the production of LCD televisions, to handle the manufacturing. Sharp will begin mass production of the new screens next spring in anticipation of a 2012 release date. Toshiba is also working with the new p-SI liquid crystal displays, having just revealed a 7-inch touch screen. The screen, though, is still too expensive for Toshiba to work them into a portable tablet, according to Time's Techland. For now, they're installing them in cars.
THINNER, LIGHTER THAN EARLIER MODELS: The new screen from Sharp will allow for a thinner and lighter design. "In a 'p-SI LCD,' the thin film transistor, of TFT, of the screen is made of polycristalline silicon," Apple Insider explained. "With this method, the display drivers can be mounted directly onto the glass substrate, shrinking the TFT section and allowing for a thinner LCD display."
LONGER BATTERY LIFE: Another benefit of the new screens from Sharp is increased battery life. "This technology," Apple Insider explained, referring to the p-SI LCD, "has allowed companies to create 'system on glass' devices, in which the optical sensors, signal processing circuits and other components are located directly on the glass substrate. This negates the need for additional components in a device like an iPhone, saving space within the device and even improving battery life with increased efficiency."
NEW SOFTWARE: The iPhone 6 will be built around the overhauled software being used in the iPhone 5 -- and considered to be the iPhone 5's main selling point. The new operating system is expected to be unveiled at the Worldwide Developer Conference in June. It is also believed that the iPhone 5 -- and any models after it until another upgrade is revealed -- will use the fast A5 processor that Apple has used in its iPad 2s.