The iPhone 5s, Apple’s flagship smartphone, has been available to buy since September 2013, so it’s not surprising that everyone’s now talking about what to expect from the iPhone 6, coming 9 September. Here, we’ve used the most viable speculation, leaks and rumours from around the web to compare the iPhone 5s’s specs, features and design with its potential successor.

  • iPhone 6 will be even better & bigger when it’s released
  • iPhone 6 is likely to have much better specs
  • iPhone 6 will be the coolest smartphone to own

iPhone 5s vs iPhone 6 comparison preview

The iPhone 5s, Apple’s flagship smartphone, has been available to buy since September 2013, so it’s not surprising that everyone’s now talking about what to expect from the iPhone 6, set to be unveiled at a 9 September Apple event. Here, we’ve used the most viable speculation, leaks and rumours from around the web to compare the iPhone 5s’s specs, features and design with its potential successor.

Before we get started, we’d like to point out that this comparison is in no way, shape or form designed to be taken as fact. We are simply using the information and evidence we’ve collected since the launch of the iPhone 5s to predict what the iPhone 6 will be like.

The aim is to give you some perspective about what we can expect from the iPhone 6 launch, and perhaps aide you if you’re considering waiting for the iPhone 6 to arrive before buying an iPhone, or you’re thinking about upgrading from an older iPhone when the iPhone 6 comes out. It should spark your imagination, and get you thinking about what the future holds for Apple, too.

Here’s the official invitation to the 9 September iPhone 6 launch event, which we’ll be covering live here on Macworld UK.

Apple invite

Read more: iPhone 6 release date rumours

Read on for our thoughts about how the iPhone 6 will compare to its predecessor, the iPhone 5s.

iPhone 5s vs iPhone 6: design

Aside from a new, gold colour and the introduction of the Touch ID home button, the iPhone 5s doesn’t look much different to its predecessor, the iPhone 5. This time, however, we expect Apple to bring a new look and feel to the iPhone with the iPhone 6, as it has traditionally done with each release that follows an ‘s’ device.

It’s possible that the iPhone 6 will be even thinner and lighter than the iPhone 5s thanks to the use of Liquidmetal, a material that’s exclusively licensed to Apple and is said to be extremely durable. According to reports, Liquidmetal could enable the iPhone 6 to be just 6mm thick compared to the iPhone 5s’s 7.6mm.

iphone 5s

If you’re hoping for a bigger smartphone from Apple, you may just be in luck this year. It’s possible, and widely rumoured, that the iPhone 6 will have a bigger display than the iPhone 5s, perhaps achieved by the super-durable sapphire glass Apple is believed to be manufacturing in Arizona.

The iPhone 5s has a 4in display but there are rumours of a display of 4.7in for the iPhone 6. Many reports even suggest that there will be two new iPhone models available, one with a 4.7in display and the other with a 5.5in display. That second, even bigger new iPhone is dibbed iPhone Air or iPhone 6L. You can find out more about it in our iPhone Air rumour round-up, but here we’re focusing on the rumoured 4.7in iPhone 6 model.

The bigger display might not mean an enormously bigger iPhone overall. Some reports suggest that Apple will make an edge-to-edge display for the iPhone 6, accomodating the bigger display without needing to significantly increase the size of the chassis.

Overall, we love the design of Apple’s iPhone 5s, but would expect the iPhone 6 to look even nicer, with an updated design that will help the new iPhone become one of the most sought after gadgets on the planet. It’s recently been suggested that the iPhone 6 sales will be 20 per cent greater than the iPhone 5s.

Take a look at the latest iPhone 6 leaked images to get a better idea of what the iPhone 6 will look like.

iPhone 5s vs iPhone 6: processor, performance

It’s pretty much a given that Apple will improve the processor and performance of the iPhone with the next version. Currently, the iPhone 5s sports a 64-bit A7 chip, but we expect an A8 chip to feature in the iPhone 6. How that’ll actually translate to user experience, though, is another question. The iPhone 5s is already so powerful that a boost won’t be obvious to the general iPhone user.

One area that could be significantly improved, though, is RAM. The iPhone 5s only has 1GB of RAM whereas some competitors have up to 3GB, which would make for an even smoother experience, particularly when multitasking.

iPhone 5s vs iPhone 6: storage

There isn’t yet a 128GB version of the iPhone available, but there is for the iPad, which suggests it’s a possibility for the iPhone 6. 128GB is pretty huge, though, so we don’t expect many people to opt for that capacity, particularly because it would push the price of the device sky high.

It’s also quite unlikely that Apple will go the opposite way and offer an 8GB model of the iPhone 6. There is an 8GB model of the iPhone 5c available, but only in select countries.

iPhone 5s vs iPhone 6: camera

There’s a fair bit of debate about the iPhone’s camera. After all, at 8-megapixels, it’s far behind many of its rivals on paper. However, as Macworld UK’s Karen Haslam explains here, megapixels aren’t everything.

We expect that, while Apple may increase the megapixels somewhat with the iPhone 6, the company is more likely to focus the camera improvements on other areas such as image stabilisation, aperture and software features.

iphone 5s camera

Current rumours suggest that the iPhone 6 could have a 10-megapixel camera with a f/1.8 aperture and improved filters. The iPhone 5s has an 8-megapixel camera with an f/2.2 aperture.

Right now, we find the camera in the iPhone 5s to be excellent and able to capture impressive images that satisfy our needs, so a camera improvement isn’t the most important thing we’re looking for with the iPhone 6, but we certainly wouldn’t be complaining if it gets even better with the next version.

iPhone 5s vs iPhone 6: software

The iPhone 5s currently runs iOS 7, but it won’t be long before we’ll get the option to install iOS 8 on our iOS devices. The iPhone 6 will ship with iOS 8 installed, and its possible that there will be some features in iOS 8 that are exclusive to the newest iPhone.

You can find out more about iOS 8 in our iOS 8 preview.

iPhone 5s vs iPhone 6: battery life

One of the most called for improvements for the iPhone 6 is battery life. We wholeheartedly agree that battery life is an issue that Apple is battling with and needs to be addressed. It’s no mean feat, as the slim nature of the iPhone means it’s tricky to cram in a super battery that’s able to power the device for longer.

Apple could introduce a power saving mode similar to Samsung’s and Sony’s instead, though. This software feature would shut down any unnecessary applications and features that may be draining battery when the power is dangerously low, and could even go as far as to turn everything black and white and dim the display.

iPhone 5s vs iPhone 6: other features

It’s possible that Apple will add new capabilities and improvements to the iPhone 6’sTouch ID fingerprint sensor, the technology that debuted with the iPhone 5s last year. This could work closely with NFC, which is rumoured to be coming to iPhone 6, to enable a new mobile payments system from Apple.

Other possibilities include the addition of wireless charging thanks to a new Broadcom chip, though we’re not completely convinced about that one, a curved display (again not convinced), and new quantum dots to improve the accuracy of the iPhone 6’s colour reproduction.

Apple could use its September iPhone 6 event to launch an iWatch, the company’s rumoured foray into the wearable tech market. You can find out more about the iWatch in our iWatch rumour round-up.


Overall, the iPhone 6 is sure to be a significantly better smartphone than the iPhone 5s, but that’s not to say the iPhone 5s isn’t already great. It has extremely high build quality, impressive camera, processor, capacity and software, but the iPhone 6 can only improve on that.

There could be a surprise stand-out feature that makes the selling point of the iPhone 6, but we suspect that may be the rumoured bigger screen. If you’re not looking for a bigger-screened phone then the iPhone 5s is a perfectly good and extremely impressive smartphone to opt for, but the iPhone 6 is bound to be even better.

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