Apple Reportedly Planning Three New iPhone Models for 2015

New iPhone 6S and 6S Plus models would update the existing iPhone 6 and 6 Plus versions, while a smaller iPhone 6C is also being eyed.

Apple, iPhones, new iPhones

Apple is rumored to be planning three new iPhone models for release in the second half of 2015, including an iPhone 6S, an iPhone 6S Plus and a smaller iPhone 6C, according to a published report.

The latest three iPhones were mentioned by unnamed industry sources, according to a March 26 story by Digitimes. The rumored iPhone 6S Plus and iPhone 6C devices will include LTPS displays from Japan Display, Sharp and LG Display, while the iPhone 6S will include displays from Japan Display and LG, the story reported. The 6C is expected to include a smaller 4-inch screen compared with other iPhones, according to a separate Digitimes report.

Other details specified that all three models will include Corning Gorilla Glass covering their displays. The 6S smartphones will use Apple's latest A9 chips, and the 6C device will contain Apple's A8 chips, according to the story. All three models will include near-field communication (NFC) and fingerprint scanning features.

The 6S phones will reportedly be assembled by frequent Apple device maker Foxconn Electronics, as well as by Pegatron, while the 6C is expected to be built by Wistron, the story reported.

Earlier in March, reports surfaced that Apple's upcoming iPhone models will also include the company's Force Touch technology, which was unveiled in the new Apple Watch and the upcoming re-engineered MacBook, according to a previous eWEEK story. The inclusion of Force Touch, which automatically reacts to whether a user presses lightly or with more force on the device's input system, was reported in a March 11 story in The Wall Street Journal, based on anonymous sources who are familiar with the potential changes.

A new Force Touch trackpad in the Apple MacBook includes a "click" that's managed with software rather than through physical means. The trackpad includes a glass surface with four force sensors and a taptic engine for accurate and fast user response, according to Apple. The system also reacts to whether a user gives it a light tap or a deep press. If a user presses harder on the fast-forward button in QuickTime, for example, the video plays faster on the screen, reacting to the user's input.

In January, reports also surfaced about another rumored new feature in upcoming iPhones later in 2015—an improved built-in camera that will allow users to take advantage of true optical zoom, rather than digitally enhanced zoom capabilities that aren't as crisp as zooms performed using optical lenses made from glass. The next-generation iPhone camera could even include a dual-lens system, those reports continued.

Apple reported its best-ever financial quarter in January, posting $74.6 billion in revenue and $18 billion in net profits for the first fiscal quarter of 2015 due to a consumer frenzy of sales of its latest iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones and Mac computers, as well as sales of apps and more in the company's App Store. First-quarter revenue was up 30 percent from $57.6 billion in revenue in the same quarter the previous year, while net profit in this interval rose 37 percent from $13.1 billion.

Record first-quarter sales of iPhones were led by the September 2014 release of the company's latest smartphones. Revenue for iPhones in the quarter totaled $51.2 billion, up from $32.5 billion for the same quarter the previous year, on sales of 74.5 million iPhones around the world. That was an increase of 46 percent from the 51 million iPhones Apple sold in the year-earlier quarter.

The latest iPhone 6 features a 4.7-inch Retina HD display, while the larger iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch Retina HD screen. The latest iPhones—available in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB storage capacities—include an Apple-designed A8 chip with second-generation 64-bit desktop-class architecture, enhanced iSight and FaceTime HD cameras, and the latest iOS 8 operating system.

To battle the success of the iPhone 6 models, Samsung just began accepting preorders on its latest Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge flagship smartphones, while HTC is now accepting preorders on its new HTC One M9 smartphones.