iPhone 6 Release Date: Industry Abuzz as WWDC Arrives

**Editor’s Note: Click here for our ranking of April’s hottest selling smartphones to see how Apple’s iPhone fared against the competition.**

As developers and media descend upon Silicon Valley for Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference next week, the world will be watching for news about what could be the company’s most anticipated hardware announcement ever: the iPhone 6 (which some say might be called iPhone Air).

Apple has said it will once again focus on software at this summer’s gathering, outlining the features of the latest version of its operating system, iOS 8. So even if we don’t get a formal iPhone announcement, we’ll know much more about its functionality when it is released later this year.

The follow-up to the iPhone 5s might include design changes, health monitoring, a faster processor, improved camera stabilization and more.What can we expect?

One interesting rumor is that iOS 8 will deliver a split-screen function – obviously more useful on a device with a larger screen (the iPad).

It’s widely anticipated that “Healthbook,” Apple’s foray into the health and fitness market, will be part of of iOS 8. It would reportedly be capable of measuring your sleep quality, how much oxygen you’re getting, and more. Where would the data come from? Perhaps the much-discussed Apple iWatch, which has also been a source of speculation for a couple of years, but to this point, hasn’t come to fruition.

We’ve heard a lot about what the new iPhone will look like, but Apple has confirmed nothing to this point. Expect the screen size to jump from four inches to 4.7 inches, a pretty significant increase over the existing model. A “phablet”-sized, 5.5-inch handset is also rumored, but we’re not sold on that one. What else? We expect Apple to change up the design a little bit, offering curved bevels that give the handset a little more “edge,” if you will. Near-field communications technology for easier mobile payments is another change we think it’s high time that the company included. Also expect to see a camera with improved stability, as well as a faster processor, which is standard on new iPhones.

Some of the wilder possibilities out there, ValueWalk noted, are panels that integrate solar technology into the device, and touch-sensitive sensors that would eliminate the need for the “home” button. But these ideas are only in the patent stages and are likely a couple of years away, if they happen at all.

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