Tech Columnist AARON BROWN published an article on the Apple that has quietly ushered-in a new iPhone model.
The Cupertino-based company has introduced a new storage configuration for the iPhone 6 range to be sold in China.
When the iPhone 6 debuted back in September 2014, Apple did not offer a 32GB storage option.
At the time, iPhones only shipped in either 16GB, 64GB or 128GB configurations.
APPLE WOULD LATER BUMP THESE STORAGE CONFIGURATIONS WITH THE LAUNCH OF THE IPHONE 7
Apple would later bump these storage configurations with the launch of the iPhone 7, doubling the entry-level model to 32GB of memory.
However the 16GB iPhone 6 and iPhone SE remained on-sale, unchanged.
That now appears to have changed, with Apple now offering a 32GB iPhone 6 in Gold.
Unfortunately, the revamped smartphone is not available in the online or brick-and-mortar Apple Store.
Instead the memory-laden new iPhone 6 is purportedly only available via Taiwan Mobile.
The new iPhone was first spotted by 9to5Mac, when the 32GB model was advertised as an exclusive offer on its network.
The decision to include a new 32GB iPhone 6 is a slightly confusing move from Apple.
THE IPHONE SE WAS DESIGNED TO APPEAL TO THOSE LOOKING FOR A CHEAPER IPHONE MODEL
The iPhone SE was designed to appeal to those looking for a cheaper iPhone model with up-to-date specs.
It remains unclear whether Apple will upgrade the iPhone SE later this year.
Clearly, there are still consumers who do not want to move to a larger handset, and prefer the size (not to mention, the price) of the four-inch phone.
Apple could solve this problem with the radical redesign purportedly planned for the iPhone 8, due for release later this year.
The Californian technology firm is expected to drop the physical Home Button and shrink the bezels around the screen to reduce the overall footprint of the phone, while maintaining a large display.
Renown analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities claims Apple will incorporate the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, usually located in physical Home Button, beneath the glass display in the next iPhone.
According to Kuo, the current system Apple uses for its fingerprint recognition functionality will not allow for its revolutionary all-glass design.
Instead, Mr Kuo claims, the new fingerprint sensor will require optical sensors to read the print resting on the display.
The complicated new display set-up, which presumably will still need to incorporate the pressure-sensitivity debuted with the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, will require a number of new, custom solutions from the panel manufacturers.
However the KGI Securities research report states that Apple has enough clout within the industry to get the system built ready for the new iPhone.
Alongside the new fingerprint recognition technology, the iPhone 8 could also see Apple introduce facial tracking sensors into its flagship smartphone, Mr Kuo has claimed.
These could be used to scan users’ faces to help verify identification.
Mr Kuo believes the fingerprint recognition system will “ultimately be replaced by a facial recognition system” in an effort to make the iPhone even more secure.
“However, if the technical challenges cannot be overcome, we believe a combination of fingerprint and facial recognition is another possible solution,” he writes.
Elsewhere, Apple is reportedly looking to distance itself from the curved aluminium design language it has used for the past three generations of iPhone, first introduced with iPhone 6.
With the Home Button gone, Apple can extended the display to the bottom of the phone – reducing the chunky bezels around the screen, and shrinking the overall footprint of the device.
The new 10th anniversary edition of the iPhone is also expected to be modelled with an all-glass design, similar to the iPhone 4 and 4S.
Apple is expected to debut its new industrial design language early this year with a refresh of its iPad range.