Apple's next iPhone could be the best business phone of the year. The iPhone 6, due out this fall, is expected to pack a faster processor and a much bigger display than any iPhone before it. Plus, it will be the first Apple handset to debut with iOS 8, an updated version of the company's mobile operating system that packs in new ways for your iPhone to interact with your desktop computer. Apple hasn't confirmed any of the rumors below, but that doesn't mean we can't speculate about Apple's next flagship smartphone. Read on to learn about five features rumored to be included in the next iteration of the iPhone.
1. Bigger display
The original iPhone debuted with a compact, 3.5-inch (8.9 centimeters) screen, and no iPhone has featured a display larger than 4 inches (10.2 cm). That's a problem for some business users; it's hard to do real work on such a small screen, and even everyday tasks such as browsing the Web and managing your email inbox are less comfortable on a cramped display.
That's why the next iPhone is set to feature a much bigger display, with most rumors pointing to a 4.7-inch (11.9 cm) screen. It would be a significant increase, but would still leave the iPhone trailing behind 5-inch (12.7 cm) flagship phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8, in terms of screen real estate. Still, 4.7 inches strikes a pretty good balance between productivity and portability, since bigger devices are less portable and generally harder to use with one hand.
Some rumors have even suggested the iPhone 6 could debut alongside a huge, 5.5-inch (14 cm) version dubbed the "iPhone Air." If it's real, the device would match up pretty well against phablets such as Samsung's Galaxy Note 3, while not sacrificing as much portability as mammoth 6-inch (15.2 cm) phones like the HTC One Max. Phablets are excellent for screen-intensive tasks such as viewing and editing documents on the go, if you can deal with their pocket-stretching breadth.
2. Faster processor
Since its debut last fall, the iPhone 5s remains one of the fastest smartphones on the market. It runs on Apple's A7 processor, the first 64-bit chip ever put in a smartphone. And reports suggest that the iPhone 6 will ship with an even more powerful processor, the new 64-bit A8 CPU, making it the first iPhone with a quad-core processor. But processing power isn't everything in a business phone; most mid-range smartphones are speedy enough for basic productivity tasks. Still, faster performance and snappier multitasking have the potential to let you run more complex applications and generally be more productive.
3. iOS 8
Apple's new iPhone is sure to ship with iOS 8, a new version of the company's mobile operating system; the update was announced this spring, and is slated for a fall release on newer models of the iPhone and iPad. In addition to the typical interface tweaks, it includes a slew of productivity-boosting enhancements for business users.
For starters, iOS 8 adds a revamped notifications system that lets you act on incoming messages and alerts in a hurry. When a new text message or email arrives, for example, you will no longer have to launch the messaging app to send a reply. Instead, you can swipe down to reveal the keyboard, type your message and hit send — all without leaving the app you're currently viewing. Different actions are available depending upon the type of alert. The notifications drawer will also support widgets for the first time, letting you check on stocks, view the weather and see your reminders at a glance.
But the biggest addition to iOS 8 has to be Handoff, which could help connect the iPhone 6 to your desktop iMac or MacBook computer. When you're working on your desktop device, Handoff lets you transition seamlessly to your mobile device, and vice versa. It works because Mac computers and iOS 8 devices that are connected to the same network are now automatically aware of each other. So if you're typing out an email on your iPhone 6 but decide you'd rather use a physical keyboard, you can just click the Handoff icon on your desktop computer. That will launch the Mail app and import your in-progress email draft, including attachments, so you can finish writing at your desk.
4. Touch ID
Apple's iOS is already arguably the safest of the major mobile platforms, thanks to Apple's strictly monitored app store, which ensures most users can't install unsafe applications. But the iPhone 5s' fingerprint scanner, dubbed Touch ID, was still a nice security enhancement, and it's expected to return with the iPhone 6.
Touch ID lets you quickly unlock your device just by placing one of your fingertips over the scanner, which is embedded in the iPhone's home button. Essentially, this feature lets you lock down your phone without the need to type a cumbersome password each time you turn on the screen. The functionality is quick and reliable on the iPhone 5s, and it's slated to return for the iPhone 6, with some improvements.
The biggest change is the ability to use Touch ID to lock individual apps. For example, if you use the Mint finance app to track your spending, you'll be able to secure that data using the fingerprint scanner. Another rumor suggests that Apple will cover the next Touch ID scanner with super-strong sapphire glass, which is virtually impervious to scratches, ensuring the scanner's fingerprint-reading capabilities remain reliable.
5. NFC support
Android phones have supported Near Field Communication (NFC) technology for years, and reports suggest that Apple is finally about to get on board with the iPhone 6. NFC lets smartphones communicate wirelessly with other computers and mobile devices when the machines are in very close proximity. It opens up a range of new functionality, including the ability to transfer files between devices with a quick physical tap, and even send a document to the printer from your iPhone 6. It could also benefit small businesses by letting users send and receive money via NFC for quick and easy transactions.