In the last few weeks, the dust has settled after Apple historic earnings blowout, and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shareholders have been vindicated for their faith in the world's largest publicly traded company.
The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have proven to be the massive hits we all knew they would be, and Apple stock sits at new all-time highs.
However, in our "what have you done for me lately" world, analysts and investors alike have already shifted their focus from the present to the future. That's right. Despite all the recent positives, the Apple investing narrative has once again begun to slowly shift its focus toward Apple's upcoming product cycle, especially the iPhone 6s.
If you're like me, you're probably rolling your eyes at the thought of the iPhone 6s. However, in reviewing several of the reports on the matter, I changed my tune. Turns out, there are several iPhone 6s rumors with which investors should have at least a passing familiarity. Here are three of them.
1) Improved TouchID
Although Apple has filed numerous patents for the embedding of Touch ID into various display materials, it appears the home button isn't about to disappear the iPhone 6s. Rather, the upgraded Touch ID will likely firm up the Apple Pay user experience by further improving the iPhone 6s' fingerprint scanner's security and reducing its error rate.
With Samsung likely to roll out its own Apple Pay when it launches the new Galaxy S6 in early March, it makes perfect sense that Apple would want to roll out some kind of incremental improvement to its own TouchID and Apple Pay. It isn't entirely clear just how much distance an improved TouchID scanner could put between Apple's digital payments platform and the host of rival services its likely to spawn in the coming years. However, if this move helps keep Apple Pay and TouchID one product cycle ahead of the competition, it's certainly a smart competitive move on Apple's part.
2) Apple staying out of the megapixel arms race
It's long been widely accepted that more megapixels doesn't necessarily translate into better pictures. Although its made numerous other improvements to the quality of its image capturing capabilities, the iPhone's iSight camera has stayed at 8 megapixels since the iPhone 4s, and there's little reason to think Apple will suddenly change course with the iPhone 6s either.
Microsoft, Samsung, and others will continue to cram in more megapixels into their smartphone cameras in hopes of differentiating themselves from the iPhone, but this has consistently proven to be really just a marketing ploy to smartphone users who don't know any better. So while better image capturing is a consistent theme for nearly every product cycle for Apple, it's unlikely that Apple would address picture quality enhancements through simply souping up its iSight cameras. All told, it's highly unlikely Apple would play into the "megapixel arms race." I don't find this rumor the least bit surprising.
3) From Apple Watch to iPhone 6s?
One of the several new technologies Apple's introduced with the Apple Watch is its "Force Touch" pressure recognition functionality, which uses tiny electrodes embedded in the Apple Watch's flexible retina display to "tell a tap from and a press." And according to a few reports, Apple is planning on rolling this functionality into the iPhone 6s as well.
This rumor's a bit harder to parse for a few reasons. For starters, it's unclear just how adding Force Touch sensing would enhance the iPhone 6s experience. In the context of the smaller-screened Apple Watch, gesture controls like Force Touch should help enhance core functions like messaging, for one. The iPhone 6s won't suffer from the same space constraints, so it's unclear exactly how Force Touch's presence would incrementally improve the iPhone 6s' user experience. It's entirely possible that Apple's preparing some kind of new features to leverage Force Touch on a grander scale. However, ultimately it's hard to see how Force Touch makes a ton of sense in the iPhone 6s without a bit more information on what else the iPhone 6s will feature.
Early, but important
It might seem obnoxious to already be shifting the Apple's investing several seasons away from today. However, if Apple's recent earnings bonanza has taught us anything, it's that the iPhone has and will continue to become the financial engine that powers Apple.
So, premature? Yes. However, it's also imperative that anyone interested in investing in the world's largest publicly traded company watch this slowly emerging storyline like a hawk in the months to come.