iPhone 6 design debate gets testy

Speculating on what the 'iPhone 6' will look like is dicey and, as a consequence, highly debatable.

What's the next iPhone going to look like? Depends who you ask. Apple

With new "iPhone 6" mockups surfacing daily, the Apple faithful can get testy about pushing their vision of the sight-unseen device.

The latest kerfuffle came this week after Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun (aka, Nikkei) reprinted a report from Nikkei Design, a sister publication, claiming their sources -- a Chinese site that sells iPhone parts -- had a new take on the design.

The write-up pushed back on a number of oft-repeated rumors, including reports showing prominent stripes on the back panel (supposedly antenna-related). Nikkei claims that the glaring stripe is not accurate and will not appear in the final design -- at least as currently depicted in mockups. Some observers seemed to agree with this.

On another design point, Nikkei went so far to say that the Apple logo will be etched -- or cut -- into the back panel, not polished and engraved like the 5S.

But maybe the most contentious claim was that the iPhone 6's display will be curved. That didn't sit well with 9to5Mac, which posted a response that called the possibility of that happening "non-existent." Other Apple blogs agreed that it was a questionable claim.

To be sure, the analysis from Nikkei Design is not going to end the design debate. Nikkei even inserted a disclaimer into its article stating that the "completeness" of the mockup it obtained is "by no means final."

This week also saw push-back on a specific release date for the iPhone 6. September 25? Nope. But how about September 12, 19, or 26?

So, what does everyone pretty much agree on at this stage? That it will be thinner (iPod Touch thin?) and there will be a 4.7-inch class iPhone and a larger 5.5-inch class device, both running iOS 8. (Note that some reports claim the larger device will be called the "iPhone Air," but just as many reports have challenged that.)

Beyond that, you'll probably have to wait until we get closer to the real release date to see credible rumors.

The iPod Touch has a rounder and thinner design than the iPhone 5S. Nikkei thinks that a rounder design that conforms to a curved glass display could be key elements of the iPhone 6 but others don't buy the curved glass argument. Apple

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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