What does Apple have in store for the iPhone 6?

Keeping tabs on just what the iPhone 6 is going to look like is risky business. It looks like bigger is better for Apple, but is a stylus also on the cards?

Keeping tabs on just what Apple is going to reveal next from its bag of tricks is risky business -- not that the tech giant will mind the idle chatter around the iPhone 6.

The latest iteration of the iPhone is expected to provide a clear indication of what lies ahead in the smartphone space, and unsurprisingly the immediate focus is on the form factor.

Apple is reportedly looking to release the iPhone in two new sizes: a 4.7-inch version and a 5.5-inch one.

The latest research note from UBS analyst Steve Milunovich suggests that the launch of the two models may be staggered, with the 4.7-inch model to come out in June and the 5.5-inch model to be launched in August or September.

Just when the iPhone 6 makes an appearance may still be a mystery, but we can be confident in the knowledge that the next batch of Apple phones are going to boast more screen real estate.

For some this concession from Apple should have come a while ago -- bigger screens are a big selling point for consumers.

Piper Jaffray analysts Gene Munster and Douglas Clinton highlighted this trend last year, telling clients that screen size was one of the top two factors in consumers opting for Android devices over Apple devices.

Incidentally, the trend seems to be particularly prevalent in Asia, the key battleground for device makers of every shape and size.

Apple has copped criticism for being late to the party in the Asian markets but the iPhone 6’s purported form factor upgrade may be designed to address that issue.

Apple doesn’t do reactive and so far has not seen the need to get embroiled in the screen size wars, but consumers' preference for bigger screens is directly linked to behaviour, usage and how they engage with mobile advertisers.

Addressing changing consumer needs is what Apple professes to do best and bigger screens on the iPhone 6 fit neatly into that narrative.

The success of Samsung's Galaxy Note line has shown not only the appeal of big screens but also the fact that consumers like the idea of using a stylus on mobile devices.

While the concept was an anathema to Apple founder Steve Jobs, there is talk that Apple is thinking of bringing the stylus to iOS devices.

Of course, this won’t be your run of the mill stylus but a re-defined navigation tool with the characteristic Apple bells and whistles.

According to Apple Insider, the tech giant is working to give the stylus multiple and intelligent functions via an adjustable nib.

The ability to adjust the length of the nib gives users greater control and potentially opens up a new interface capability that can’t be matched by Samsung’s S-Pen.

Meanwhile, MacRumors reports that the next batch of iOS devices could be sporting an enhanced graphic engine, offering high-performance ray tracing, graphics and computing for mobile.

According to the report, Imagination Technologies is supplying Apple with the PowerVR Wizard GPU, and the prospect of embedding photo-realistic, computer generated imagery to new real-time applications could be a live prospect later this year.

Speaking of photos, the iPhone 6 is also reportedly bringing major upgrades to the camera and battery life.

Apple has already shown its disinterest in chasing its rivals down the megapixel rabbit hole and while the competition is squeezing as many mega-pixels as it can on their respective devices, it would seem Apple is more concerned with enhancing image quality. 

According to Apple Insider, Apple will likely forego a high megapixel bump-up on the camera in its 2014 iPhone offerings, instead focusing on enhancing individual pixel size and better optics.

In addition, there are also tweaks coming to the battery, with a built-in power manager that smartly predicts users' behaviour set to make its debut in iOS8. 

According to the Cult of Mac, the application is programmed to learn and predict usage patterns and adjust the battery settings accordingly.

Enhancing battery life and power management features could be another crucial selling point for Apple.

Just how of this end ups in the final product that’s released remains to be seen, but the rumour mill certainly provides an insight -- albeit an unfocused one -- into not only Apple’s device strategy but also just what consumers hope to see with the next iPhone or iPad.

Apple may have a distinct roadmap when it comes to product development but the Cupertino-based company is under no illusions about why listening to consumers isn’t such a bad thing after all.

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