A “green” iPhone? With a possible graphene touchscreen, case made of naturally-sourced plastic, and ORB (organic radical battery), the iPhone 6 might be hailed as the most environmentally-friendly iPhone yet.
So far, Apple’s been mum about the details, as they are famous for doing, but the rumor mill and fake pictures are already starting to spring up.
Here’s what we can probably expect:
4G: The iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 are belatedly available on Verizon in the United States, but 4G (LTE) is likely not going to be available until AT&T releases its own 4G service (HSPA+) nationwide, expected in later 2011 at the earliest. The iPhone 6, released in 2012, will likely be the first 4G phone available on both US carriers. This is, admittedly, a disappointment for Verizon users, since its speedy LTE network will have been deployed for well over a year and accessible with competitive devices during that time.
Edge-to-edge screen. The entire front face of the iPhone might be a screen, doing away with the physical home button.
Wireless charging. Removing the need for a port-cable connection for charging, the iPhone 6 might employ inductive charging, where the iPhone is placed on a charge mat and the phone battery is charged by induction. You can easily imagine buying mats for your desk, car, and elsewhere where your iPhone is typically lying around losing its charge. Since iOS 5 enabled data sharing over the air, inductive charging might allow the iPhone to finally ditch cords altogether.
Faster chip. iOS 6 will also debut around the same time, and with each successive Apple mobile operating system, increased complexity and added features create strains on the processor. A chip faster than the ubiquitous 1 GHz chip we’ve seen rolled out, or even a dual-core processor, might be unveiled.
- Graphene touchscreen on Gorilla Glass. Graphene is an atom-thick material bonded to a polymer support, reducing its thickness, and which is far more environmentally friendly (no heavy metals needed, like the currently-used indium tin oxide) and, importantly, boasts far quick response times to tracing and drawing on screen. Gorilla Glass, a Corning innovation, resists breakage far better than any other commercially-available glass. Coupled with the faster chip, the iPhone 6 might be the first phone which can capture your signature as fast as you can write it with your finger.
- More memory. The iPhone app store shows no signs of abating in popularity, and without SD card memory expansion in Android phones, Apple will up the phone storage options available. Expect 64GB and 128GB variants.
- Improved battery. The iPhone 6 might be the first to use the organic radical battery (ORB) technology developed by Japan’s NEC, which is more environmentally-friendly than current lithium ion batteries that have dangerous heavy metals. ORB also boasts an absurdly fast recharge time (about 30 seconds) and higher energy density (will be able to pack more power into a smaller battery).
- Better camera. The iPhone 6 might be the first iPhone to cross the 10 million pixel threshold with its camera, unsurprising as high-resolution images have always been a hallmark of Apple’s products.
- Near-Field Communication (NFC) chip. Debuted on the Samsung Nexus S and most likely implemented on the iPhone in the 5th generation product, this newest hardware addition enables contactless communication between a phone and objects similarly embedded NFC capabilities. This should eventually enable things like paying via credit card by holding your phone over a terminal for a second, or paying for things from vending machines using your phone. The technology is similar to Bluetooth although it uses less energy and establishes a connection far more quickly (although at a much closer range – a few inches away instead of yards away).
- Form factor improvements. Apple puts a tremendous amount of emphasis on the sleekness of its products. The iPhone 6 will be no exception, with a modern, lightweight, and thin look. Expect some surprises in terms of shape and, especially, materials, as Apple hopes to push the envelope and fend off attacks from Android handmakers, its largest competition.
- Case material improvements. To round out the environmental friendliness of the new device, more advanced, naturally-sourced plastics might be used in the case. For example, isoplast polymers might replace the previously used polycarbonate case manufactured with BPA (bisphenol-A). The glass back used in the iPhone 4 has had too many breakage issues, although Gorilla Glass makes the glass far less fragile.