It’s that time of year again.  Apple is set to take the wraps off its eighth generation device on September 9th.  There are tons of rumors and speculation suggesting this year’s event could be one of the most dramatic events in Apple’s recent history.

Is it bigger?  Faster? Stronger?  Will it FLOAT? Lasers? We’ll have to wait until the big event itself to see what Apple has up its sleeve.  You can also follow our live blog here.  Until then, here’s what we think we know about what we think we’re going to see:

READ MORE // WWDC2013 Liveblog

Whats in a Name?

Here’s a safe bet to make.  After the iPhone 4 was the iPhone 4s.  After the iPhone 5 came the 5S – and 5C of course.  The logical choice is the iPhone 6.

Not so fast. Rumors and reports have hinted strongly that Apple will introduce 2 different sizes at the same time – a first for Apple.  In that case, Apple could simply name its 4.7-inch model the iPhone 6 – while some leaks and hints suggest a long-rumored 5.5-inch model would take a cue from iPad line and call itself the iPhone Air.  Other rumors have suggested the iPhone 6L.

It’s not clear how identical the phones will be on the inside, but the same leaks suggest the bigger sized iPhone 6 will have better specs.

There are also big hints about how it will look on the outside.

LOOKS

If Apple sticks to its usual product cycle, the next iPhone will see a big hardware redesign.  Much of the excitement has to do with a new size – which could mean space for new goodies.

Both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have reported on an overhaul of the iPhone.  Numerous leaked photos suggest the design will borrows some aspects from the original iPhone while moving on from the latest iteration of the device.

Several leaked images suggest smooth, rounded edges, glass that is curved at the edges, and a smooth chassis.  Other changes include iPad-like volume buttons and an embedded logo on the back.

A Leaked Shot of the iPhone 6 Casing
A Leaked Shot of the iPhone 6 Casing

On the other side, we could see Sapphire glass.   Sapphire Glass could mean we wont see the dreaded cracked iPhone screen.  The new glass is stronger than steel and harder than the current Gorilla Glass.  It’s also more expensive, but Apple has been investing heavily in a new Sapphire glass manufacturing facility.  That means if it ISN’T coming to the iPhone 6, it will likely show up at some point in the near future.

Recently, the Times has also reported that Apple’s wearable – more on that later – will feature a sapphire screen if/when it appears.

A leaked photo supposedly showing the body of the iPhone 6
A leaked photo supposedly showing the body of the iPhone 6

More details are harder to deduce: curved screen rumors are floating around for a while and are back.  It’s no stretch to assume the new iPhone will be thinner and sport a slimmer bezel.  Other leaked photos suggest a mesh-covered speaker and a rubber seal to keep out dirt.

Finally, a few other reports along with leaked videos and documents show the sleep/wake button being moved, possibly to the side, while the Time’s is suggesting iOS 8 will offer one-handed typing.

Assuming both a 4.7- and 5.5-inch devices exist, word has it they will both be very consistent.  The big differences could be on the inside.

The Guts

Like we said: more space, more goodies.  The WSJ and The NYT have reported – not rumored, but reported – the new iPhone will feature Near Field Communication or NFC technology.  The technology will be used to connect the iPhone with – wait for it – the long-rumored iWatch to make mobile payments.  Basically, NFC will allow Apple to offer touch-to-functionality on both the iPhone 6 AND the iWatch.  A leaked schematic earlier this month seemed to confirm the NFC rumors.  A couple of weeks ago a source said Apple had big plans to enter the mobile payment market, and that the technology would be included with the iPhone 6.

A faster A8 chip will be included in the new model of course – be it in only the 5.5-inch model or both.  Rumors also suggest the devices will keep the 1GB of memory currently being used in the 5S model.  Leaked images of the logic board also suggest a new faster 802.11AC WiFi chip and an upgraded modem – one that is possibly capable of 150mbps.

iPhone 6 circuit board
A Purported iPhone 6 circuit board compared to the 5S

The battery will of course be bigger and last longer.  Reports also suggest the new battery would be a huge improvement over the 5S’.  Even the best rumor still puts the iPhone battery behind the Samsung Galaxy S5’s.

The 5.5-inch model could also offer a 128-gb storage option.

Due to some of the features in iOS 8, many people believe the camera could get a slight bump in specs and some leaks suggest addition optical image stabilization.  Touch ID will at least be included, perhaps improved.

Less likely improvements still warrant a mention: wireless charging has been rumored strongly, and atmospheric sensors could be included to collect weather data.  Patents suggest Apple is strongly working on wireless charging, but considering its late adoption of NFC, don’t expect wireless charging.  Reports also say Apple could be ditching the headphone jack in favor of using the lightning plug.

iOS 8.

We already know lots about iOS 8.  Apple announced the new OS months ago and everyone who has gotten their hands on it seems to love it.

iOS 8 carries on the design from iOS 7, but the big difference lies under the glitz and glamor.  Apple is rolling out its Heathkit API with the Health app to organize and track your health data from third-party devices and wearable.

Health Book in iOS 8
Health Book in iOS 8

Continuity in the camera app will get an improvement, and you’ll e able to switch seamlessly between devices.  Tons of apps get slight improvements, and a new feature called extensions will let third-party apps talk to each other.  You can also download keyboards.

Price.

Usually the pricing doesn’t change with updates to the iPhone line, but because of a bigger screen – one that is possibly made of Sapphire glass – we could see a new tier added.  That would mean an upper end 5.5inch iPhone would be $300 USD on contract.  That could push the 5S down to $100.

That could either push the 5C further down, or see it discontinued given its sluggish sales. The iPhone 4 has become obsolete given that it can’t run iOS 8 and the 4S will likely just be very slow.

When

Last year, the 5S was announced Sept 10 and landed in stores Sept 20. This year could be no different, as we’d see the new device on Sept 9 and land on shelves September 19th.

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