5 Apple iPhone 6 Tech Secrets Revealed

New iTech

While the official unveiling of the Apple iPhone 6 is set for next week, there's never any blogosphere shortage of leaked information, patent-based speculation and just plain wishful thinking. After a heavy round of sleuthing and fact double-checking, the CRN Test Center has gleaned five major technologies that are likely to be present in Apple's latest round of devices, any one of which could deem the iPhone 6 the must-have device this Christmas. Weeks before the announcement, people were already camping out in line to be among the first to place their orders. Read on to discover the iPhone 6 tech secrets that Apple has been hiding.

A Gem Of An Idea

While most of the smartphone industry has had a growth spurt, Apple's devices have been relatively stunted. And although signs indicate that the iPhone 6 will be bigger (4.7- and 5.5-inch phones appear likely), size won't be the screen's most important attribute. According to patent documents, Apple has been working on a composite material that improves scratch resistance by incorporating sapphire. This MacRumors scratch test video demonstrates that it's far more durable than Gorilla Glass and is somewhat more flexible. It's not pure sapphire as some of the rumors had indicated; only the Home button will have that boast. But it does seem likely to free Apple from its Corning commitment.

Thin To Win

Apple may not have fully engaged in the size wars until now, but it has clearly placed thinness atop its list of priorities. Following in the footsteps of iPad Air (pictured), which shaved about 20 percent from the iPad, Apple's next round of iPhones will be roughly 10 percent thinner than the iPhone 5s. Multiple sources have confirmed that this due to a thinner backlight layer resulting from advancements in LED technology and Apple's talent for developing thinner main boards. The result is an iPhone 6 that spreads the micrometer to just 0.27 of an inch, compared with the 0.33 of the Samsung Galaxy S5.

NFC's Finally Come Home

Apple is finally ready to embrace near-field communications, and will include an NFC radio in iPhone 6. This will open the door to cardless financial transactions at millions of merchants around the world without the need to whip out the wallet. Instead, just wave the iPhone (that's probably already in the hand) while pressing the TouchID fingerprint scanner and pay with the card that's linked with an AppleID account. This also will prevent a stolen phone from leading to stolen money.

Apple A8

If you thought that Apple's A7 SoC was fast, wait until you try the A8. Multiple sources are reporting that Apple's latest dual-core 64-bit processor will clock in at an eye-popping 2.0GHz, up from the 1.3GHz rate of the iPhone 5s and iPad Mini with Retina. The new SoC is reported to be coming off a 20nm process and will still be manufactured by Samsung, although rumor has it that production is being transitioned to the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.

Apple iOS 8

Apple's iOS 8 beta program this summer (and the reporting that followed) took attention away from one of iPhone 6's most significant news items: an operating system with major new functionality. Among the hit list will tight integration with Mac OS Yosemite, including the ability to hand off file-editing and browsing sessions from one device to the other, seamless hot-spot implementation, call answering and transferring, Wi-Fi calling, remote texting (with a new mute function for group messages) and other remote control capabilities. Also on tap are soft keyboards, easy interapp connections, interactive notifications, better graphics processing, plus a new programming language called Swift that ties it all together. Read more about what to expect from the Sept. 9 announcement.