The introduction of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus might well prove a seminal moment for tech giant Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) when we look back on it decades from now. Apple's larger iPhones fueled the most profitable quarterly report ever and should help solidify its uber-sticky ecosystem for years to come.
Just six months later, the industry is already rife with rumors regarding the next generation of Apple's iPhone lineup -- the purported iPhone 6s. Here are two interesting Apple rumors investors will want to track in anticipation of the device.
May the Force (Touch) be with you
Apple loves to heavily market new "flagship" technologies or features during its new product launches (think Siri , Touch ID, Apple Pay, etc.), and it's likely to do so again to differentiate the upcoming iPhone from competitors made by Samsung and other companies. The Wall Street Journal reported the company will borrow the Apple Watch's Force Touch as the iPhone 6s' new marquee feature.
Apple developed Force Touch as a way to accentuate the Watch's user input capabilities. The company says the system can sense the difference between a "tap and a press," giving the user "instant access to a range of contextually specific controls." Force Touch is intended to increase the ways an Apple Watch user can interact with the forthcoming smartwatch by creating input based on the sensitivity of a user's contact with the iPhone 6s' screen. What's unclear is how this would enhance the iPhone 6s user experience. Within the limited confines of the Apple Watch's diminutive face, Force Touch serves a practical purpose. However, with the iPhone 6s likely to sport a large screen akin to the iPhone 6 line's, users won't face these size issues.
O the explanations offered, gaming seems like one possible area in which Force Touch's increased sensitivity could prove accretive to the iPhone 6s user experience, but that also seem to fall well short of a hallmark improvement in the technology. There's also the possibility that Apple will simply want to include Force Touch to create greater interoperability between Apple Watch and iPhone apps and Force Touch's value in the next-gen smartphone will be largely promotional. We'll need to get our hands on the Apple Watch to see just how beneficial Force Touch is in order to set expectations on its potential utility in the iPhone.
Pretty in pink?
That's right. The Wall Street Journal also reported that Apple is experimenting with increasing the breadth of the color options for the upcoming iPhone. This might sound trivial, but it could prove key for a few reasons.
The first reason is historical. Apple's color additions to its iPhone lineup have been far more calculated and sophisticated than they might initially appear. Although other colors like space gray have proven quite popular in critical markets like the U.S., the defining data point here is the gold color Apple introduced with the iPhone 5s.
Although some cited the gold coloring option as gimmicky (and I'm not saying it isn't), it also proved immensely popular in China, a market that has become increasingly integral for Apple's financial performance over the years. When Apple began accepting pre-orders for the iPhone 5s and 5c last year, the gold option sold out almost instantaneously in both Hong Kong and mainland China. The inclusion of the gold iPhone 5s was also cited as a reason initial sales nearly doubled for Apple in China during the 5s rollout. When Apple adds a color to its iPhone lineup, it typically does so for a very specific and calculated reason. And while I'm still scratching my head regarding the potential reason for a pink iPhone, aside from the obvious, I have faith that if this rumor comes to fruition it will likely prove equally logical.
It's also not impossible that the pink iPhone 6s rumor could actually be mistakenly referring to the possible iPhone 6c claimed to be in development. According to recent reports, Apple has tapped Intel to provide LTE chips for a forthcoming iPhone designed to target emerging-market consumers in Asia and Latin America. Although there is little detail at the moment, this sounds eerily similar to the two-tiered price structure Apple pursued with its iPhone 5s and 5c lineup prior to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus form-factor overhaul. And as the iPhone 5s and 5c likely proved more financially prescient than many give credit for, it certainly makes sense the pink device these reports refer to might actually be an Apple iPhone 6c prototype of some kind.
We still have roughly six months until the presumed Apple iPhone 6s, and potentially 6c, actually go on sale. More rumors will undoubtedly surface between now and then, so make sure to check back for all the latest on Apple's most important device.