As we're likely to see when it reports next week, the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhones 6 and 6 Plus will continue to power what should be a record-setting year for the world's largest publicly traded firm.
In fact, the Apple's latest iPhones have and should continue to be so successful and Apple iPhone 6s rumors have already appeared aplenty in recent months. As the evidence of the next generation of iPhones continues to mount, a recent move by Apple highlights what could be the iPhone 6s' killer new feature.
Apple's most amazing iPhone camera yet
Apple tends to leave the form factor of its flagship iPhones intact during its even fiscal years, and it's largely expected to do the same with the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. So, in order maintain its consumer appeal in these years, Apple tends to lean on some kind of hallmark feature in these even-year iPhones to keep consumers interested; think Siri in the iPhone 4s and TouchID in the iPhone 5s. And for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, numerous reports have claimed Apple could be planning to use a significant camera overhaul as the upcoming devices' potential hallmark feature.
Furthering this notion, Apple recently acquired Israeli camera-technology firm LinX Computational, which controls some pretty impressive imaging technology, for around $20 million. Apple confirmed the purchase but commented no further than its typical boilerplate language it uses for virtually every acquisition, "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans." However, there appears reason for excitement here just the same.
LinX's technologies allow for a smaller number of software-powered sensors to more effectively gauge depth in images. They can create 3D image maps and perform better in suboptimal photographic situations like low light settings or indoors. All told, LinX's product portfolio, especially combined with other Apple camera moves, could allow the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus to produce SLR-like quality photos without having to engage in the same pixel-pushing tactics we've seen from so many other smartphone OEMs over the years.
More reasons for optimism
The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will likely ride a massive upgrade cycle throughout the remainder of Apple's FY 2015, setting the stage for challenging comps for the next year's iPhone lineup. However, moves like possibly dramatically overhauling the camera will hopefully differentiate Apple's upcoming iPhone 6s and 6s Plus to keep consumers interested. Thankfully, it isn't the only move Apple appears to be making to ensure the success of next year's iPhones either.
Although still unconfirmed, a bevy of news outlets have cited rumors from within Apple's supply chain that it plans to include an updated version of the c-series iPhone in next year's lineup. It might sound insignificant, but Apple launching an iPhone 6c would be more welcome news than many investors probably realize. If it keeps with the same pricing strategy of the iPhone 5c, the iPhone 6c would provide Apple with a higher margin mid-tier phone in its usual three-tiered pricing strategy, a move that could help pad Apple's margins, especially if sales of it's the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus flatten or even decline.
And beyond the possible iPhone 6c, Apple should have a number of other tailwinds to help stabilize its financial performance should this year's likely iPhone 6 sales glut create growth challenges next year. The on-going growth from the Apple Watch will give Apple a new growth driver, especially if Apple updates the device as some have speculated. There's also a bolstered capital return program Apple could announce as soon as its earnings report next week. A larger enterprise-oriented iPad Pro could help Apple ramp sales in its slumping tablet business, as could increased sales success of Apple's enterprise partnership with IBM. So while improved cameras will certainly help the iPhone 6s, it's by no means the only reason for continued confidence in Apple.
Andrew Tonner owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and International Business Machines. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.