iPhone 6: Super-slim Liquidmetal iPhone ‘due in May’

iPhone 6 with wrap-around screen design

Latest reports suggest iPhone 6 will be just 6mm thick thanks to new Liquidmetal frame

LAST UPDATED AT 10:23 ON Thu 16 Jan 2014

THE iPhone 6 could be just 6mm thick – and the latest reports suggest that it will be with us by May at the latest.

Analysts have long predicted that the new phone will have a larger screen, but South Korean website ET News says the handset will also be significantly slimmer. Quoting sources from Chinese companies within Apple’s supply chain, says the new model will be called the iPhone Air.

“To earn the moniker already bestowed upon the top-of-the-line iPad and Mac models, the new iPhone will reportedly measure only 6 millimeters thick,” says Forbes, after translating the [2]South Korean report.

By comparison, the iPhone 5S is 7.6mm thick and the 5C model measures 9mm. The iPhone 3GS, sold until late 2012, measured 12mm – twice as thick as the proposed new model.

Patent applications released this week suggest that some components within the ultra-slim frame will be built from Liquidmetal, which is stronger and more durable than aluminium. The documents, published by MacRumors, suggest that Apple is planning to use the alloy in buttons and switches, which have been a weak point on past models.

Some rumours have suggested that Apple may use Liquidmetal more extensively in the iPhone 6, replacing part or all of the aluminium shell. In theory that would mean the handset could be lighter and slimmer without skimping on strength or build quality, but in practice it seems unlikely.

Although one of the inventors of Liquidmetal predicted two years ago that Liquidmetal cases would be possible by mid-2014, its use has so far been limited to small components.

Analysts disagree about the likely timing of the new iPhone. The International Business Times says that the release date is likely to be “May 2014 or even earlier as fresh data suggests that the iPhone 5S and 5C duo is not winning the battle against the Android and Windows Mobile platforms.

Other analysts have favoured an October release, which would maintain Apple’s established pattern of annual upgrades.

Tech news website BGR acknowledges that an all-new model seems “improbable” in May, just seven months after the debut of the iPhone 5S, but says that reliable sources in the company’s supply chain say the device is definitely on the way.

Widespread speculation suggests that the new phone, whenever it arrives, will have a five-inch screen. The four-inch screen on the current model is small compared with those of many of its rivals.

“Releasing a device with a larger display is an interesting move for Apple because it will be a rare instance where the company will be following rival Samsung, which first sparked the ‘phablet’ craze back in 2012 with its original Galaxy Note,” BGR says, using the term given to phone-tablet hybrids.

“It would be rare to see Apple release a new version of the iPhone so close to the release of its latest iPhone 5s, but maybe the company doesn’t want to wait much longer to put out a device with a larger form factor.”

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