Sources: Apple's 2015 'iPhone 6s' models to gain Force Touch but no dual-camera system

Posted:
in iPhone edited March 2015
Apple's 2015 family of iPhones are expected to adopt features first introduced in other Apple products, such as the dynamic Force Touch input found on the Apple Watch, but won't include a recently-rumored multi-camera system, AppleInsider has been advised.




People familiar with development of Apple's next-generation handsets -- internally codenamed "N71" for the 4.7-inch model and "N66" for the 5.5-inch version -- say they're bound to hit the market under the expected "iPhone 6s" naming convention and retain the same two screen sizes and casing enclosure designs first introduced this past September in the iPhone 6 lineup. Those customers clamoring for a return to a smaller iPhone in the 4-inch range won't hear their cries answered -- this year, at least.

Instead, those familiar with existing prototypes say Apple's current plans call for both the new 4.7-inch model (N71) and the 5.5-inch "iPhone 6s Plus" (N66) to gain Force Touch, a capability Apple debuted with the Apple Watch when it was announced in September. Their arrival on the iPhone product line would come roughly one year later, falling in line with the company's historical pattern of first debuting new cutting edge technology on one iOS device (iPhone) before extending it to another (iPad) the following year.

Apple's 2015 iPhones -- internally codenamed "N71" for the 4.7-inch model and "N66" for the 5.5-inch version -- are to adopt Force Touch, sources sayWith variable forces, a message notification might trigger a tapping sensation, while pressing down on the Watch's digital crown or screen to trigger Force Touch would invoke completely different tactile sensation. How Apple might implement the dynamic new touch input method on the iPhone -- whether paired with its haptic feedback engine or otherwise --?is unclear.

Apple has called Force Touch its "most significant new sensing capability since Multi-Touch," lending some amount of credence to the idea that it could expand beyond the Apple Watch. Such a move could also require a corresponding switch to a flexible display material, however -- electrodes surrounding the Apple Watch's OLED display detect the level of deformation caused by the user's press, a measurement not possible with rigid displays.

One person -- who has recently proven extremely knowledgable regarding Apple's forward-looking plans -- said the company toyed with putting Force Touch in the iPhone 6 last year, but "calibration" issues led to the feature being pulled from the device during its development cycle. With the Apple Watch release imminent, any issues preventing a potential iPhone debut have presumably been resolved, as the company's current roadmap calls for its extension to the 2015 iPhones.


The Apple Watch, seen in this September 2014 staff photo, will be the first Apple product to hit the market with Force Touch this April.


People familiar with the ongoing development of N71 and N66 have also dismissed the notion of a two-camera system in the "iPhone 6s" lineup, explaining that doing so would require a major redesign of the chassis of the handset. As in years past, this year's "s" upgrades are expected to look largely identical to their predecessor, with the most significant updates coming in the form of hidden internal upgrades and Force Touch.

A rumor popped up in November claiming Apple's next-generation iPhone will employ a "two-lens system" to capture DSLR-quality images. Existing smartphones and small form factor devices, like HTC's One M8, already sport secondary imager for calculating depth data.

There are obvious hurdles to cramming another lens -- and presumably camera sensor -- into an already cramped iPhone 6 chassis. From a design perspective, tacking on another imager may not be ideal considering the current iPhone chassis is thinner than its camera module. A small controversy erupted when Apple unveiled iPhone 6 with a camera "bump" that breaks up the handset's otherwise clean lines.

Apple SVP of Design Jony Ive, who has a knack for creating simplistically beautiful products, also seemed disappointed with the protrusion. In an interview with The New Yorker earlier this month, he said the decision to keep the protruding camera lens was "a really very pragmatic optimization."

With internal real estate at a premium, packing in an extra camera would require a modification of iPhone's housing, which will not happen this year, those familiar with the matter say.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 90
    No 4 inch :'(. Hopefully there is a 4 inch in development though and its just not been seen.
  • Reply 2 of 90
    Doesn't "Force Touch" refer to the ability to tap and press on the screen? https://www.apple.com/watch/technology/

    So is the article complete crap?
  • Reply 3 of 90
    There is big mistake in this article. Taptic Feedback and Force Touch are two different features - the article reports otherwise. Taptic Feedback is the Apple Watches feature of letting its user know that an incoming message arrived via an discrete tap on the users wrist. The Force Touch feature on the other hand gives the user a new UI menu by pressing the watch's display. So these are two totally different thing.
  • Reply 4 of 90
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Andy Stewart View Post



    Doesn't "Force Touch" refer to the ability to tap and press on the screen? https://www.apple.com/watch/technology/



    So is the article complete crap?



    That's what I was thinking. The Taptic Engine and Force Touch are two different things. Force Touch would require a flexible Retina Display, which is not something I'd expect to see in an S update.

  • Reply 5 of 90
    Makes sense to me. Force Touch seems like a technology that could change the form factor of future iPhones (no home button?). Makes sense to get it into an S upgrade and get the masses used to it before phones change significantly.
  • Reply 6 of 90
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,957member
    It may all decided internally what will go into the next iphone 6 but knowing this far advanced as external leak is not easy to swallow. So, read with a grain of salt. More concrete info will be known after Apple Developer conference. Apple knows and will replace iphone 4" with technology update similar to current like upgrading CPU/GPU, camera, LTE modem, Apple Pay. Apple probably waiting for 14nm integrated CPU/GPU/Modem/NFC SOC chip to fit into 4" phone real estate with decent battery life. Apple can't ignore around 4" phone user market.
  • Reply 7 of 90
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wood1208 View Post



    It may all decided internally what will go into the next iphone 6 but knowing this far advanced as external leak is not easy to swallow. So, read with a grain of salt. More concrete info will be known after Apple Developer conference. Apple knows and will replace iphone 4" with technology update similar to current like upgrading CPU/GPU, camera, LTE modem, Apple Pay. Apple probably waiting for 14nm integrated CPU/GPU/Modem/NFC SOC chip to fit into 4" phone real estate with decent battery life. Apple can't ignore around 4" phone user market.



    Actually, the A9's already being sent to the chipmakers. And Apple can and does ignore markets that some claim are unignorable.

  • Reply 8 of 90



    "Force Touch, a capability Apple dubbed the "Taptic Engine" when Apple Watch was announced in September."

    "Essentially a rebranding of advanced variable haptic feedback technology."

     

    You're confusing two different technologies: one is for input and the other is for feedback - which leads to the question of whether the iPhone 6S is rumored to have one, the other, or both.

     

    "Force Touch uses tiny electrodes around the flexible Retina display to distinguish between a light tap and a deep press... It’s the most significant new sensing capability since Multi?Touch."

     

    "Taptic Engine, a linear actuator inside Apple Watch that produces haptic feedback. In less technical terms, it taps you on the wrist."

  • Reply 9 of 90
    From an engineering perspective, I think a larger surface using ForceTouch might be problematic, whereas the additional flex and physical wear on the small surface area of the watch face would be less of an issue.
  • Reply 10 of 90
    "...any issues preventing a potential iPhone debut have presumably been presumably resolved..."

    Presumably.
  • Reply 11 of 90
    As I read the article, I was confused by what the author had written and wondered if he was a newbie.

    Anyway, the Taptic Engine could be programmed to help the blind navigate walking, the deaf feel music.

    Depending on the durability of the sensor, there is much that TE could do over the lifespan of the new iPhone.
  • Reply 12 of 90
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Andy Stewart View Post



    Force Touch seems like a technology that could change the form factor of future iPhones (no home button?). 

     

    Doing away with the home button and applying its function to a whole screen touch input would likely result in unintentional activation while the phone is in a pocket or bag. It would probably also present challenges for TouchId.

  • Reply 13 of 90
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,293member
    Doesn't "Force Touch" refer to the ability to tap and press on the screen? https://www.apple.com/watch/technology/

    So is the article complete crap?

    Yeah, maybe.

    Force touch could eliminate the hacky double tap on the home screen to get to the top level controls. Which doesn't work in many cases anyway. Instead you just tap longer and drag down to bring a window to half height.
  • Reply 14 of 90
    freediverx wrote: »
    Doing away with the home button and applying its function to a whole screen touch input would likely result in unintentional activation while the phone is in a pocket or bag. It would probably also present challenges for TouchId.

    Apple has a patent for embedding the touchID sensor under the screen as well as using a for flexible display as a speaker system.
  • Reply 15 of 90
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,428member
    Glad to see Ive admitting the protruding camera was a mistake. That must have been quite a power struggle debating that decision during development.

    Good thing they had to leave some features out so they have something to add to the 6s. ;-)

    Looks like my purchase of a 5s this year was a good investment. Might have to wait until the 4" 7 to upgrade again now, but there's nothing the 5s lacks for my needs. Well ... %uF8FFPay. Might just be the reason I have to buy an %uF8FFWatch (2nd gen, or used 1g of course).
  • Reply 16 of 90
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mac_128 View Post



    Glad to see Ive admitting the protruding camera was a mistake. That must have been quite a power struggle debating that decision during development.



    Good thing they had to leave some features out so they have something to add to the 6s. ;-)



    Looks like my purchase of a 5s this year was a good investment. Might have to wait until the 4" 7 to upgrade again now, but there's nothing the 5s lacks for my needs. Well ... %uF8FFPay. Might just be the reason I have to buy an %uF8FFWatch (2nd gen, or used 1g of course).



    Where did he say it was a mistake?

     

    I don't think the 5S is a good investment at all. It won't hold some special value or anything, it's obsolete and going to remain that way. There is less demand for a 4" iPhone than most people think.

  • Reply 17 of 90
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

     



    Where did he say it was a mistake?

     

    I don't think the 5S is a good investment at all. It won't hold some special value or anything, it's obsolete and going to remain that way. There is less demand for a 4" iPhone than most people think.




    He didn't. He hinted that the design decision was not without controversy while affirming that it was ultimately the practical solution to a problem.

     

    " I asked Ive about the slightly protruding camera lens that prevents the iPhone 6 from resting comfortably on its back. Ive referred to that decision—without which the phone would be slightly thicker—as “a really very pragmatic optimization.” One had to guess at the drama behind the phrase. “And, yeah . . .” he said."

  • Reply 18 of 90
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    freediverx wrote: »

    He didn't. He hinted that the design decision was not without controversy while affirming that it was ultimately the practical solution to a problem.

    " I asked Ive about the slightly protruding camera lens that prevents the iPhone 6 from resting comfortably on its back. Ive referred to that decision—without which the phone would be slightly thicker—as “a really very pragmatic optimization.” One had to guess at the drama behind the phrase. “And, yeah . . .” he said."

    I'm sure he's less than thrilled with it; same with the antenna lines. But everyone who says the phone should have been thicker to make it flush...until you actually held that phone in your hand you can't say for sure. My iPhone 6 feels great in the hand and is the perfect weight. If it was thicker would it feel as good? Maybe not.
  • Reply 19 of 90
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    asdasd wrote: »
    Yeah, maybe.

    Force touch could eliminate the hacky double tap on the home screen to get to the top level controls. Which doesn't work in many cases anyway. Instead you just tap longer and drag down to bring a window to half height.

    I want force touch for control center. Force touch on Bluetooth and you get a list of devices to pair to. Same with wifi. What a great convenience that would be.
  • Reply 20 of 90

    I initially thought I'd prefer a slightly thicker design with flush mounted lens and slightly better battery life. But after using the iPhone 6 for a short while I realized that combined with its increased width and length, the extra thickness would have made it significantly more uncomfortable to use. As it is, I definitely consider it less ergonomic than its predecessors, but I accept it as a tradeoff for the larger screen.

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