The iPhone 6 release date may be more than a year away, especially given the mounting rumors that Apple will opt to unveil an incremental upgrade to the iPhone 5 later this year dubbed the "iPhone 5S." Although the iPhone 5S will likely be released before the end of the year, the most die-hard Apple fans are still clamoring to predict what technology will find its way into the next generation iPhone, regardless of when it comes out.

The iPhone 6 is shrouded in secrecy, which should be no surprise to any Apple fan. The company has been known to keep new devices and projects deeply ensconced in the highest level of the company. Even without a direct acknowledgement of the iPhone 6, there are still plenty of reasons to believe that Apple is developing the next generation iPhone.

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Apple has not made a major announcement since November 2012, about six months ago. In that time, brands such as Samsung, HTC and Blackberry have made major announcements about flagship smartphones. Apple iOS controls about 38.9 percent of the market share of U.S. smartphones, behind Android with 51.7 percent. The Samsung Galaxy S4 has been met with favorable reviews, and so has the HTC One. Many experts believe that the current set of top-tier Android smartphones have already surpassed the iPhone 5 in terms of processing power and functionality. Apple is expected to make a response to its competition soon. Here are all the details on the iPhone 6:

iPhone 6 Release Date

The next major scheduled press event hosted by Apple is WWDC 2013, the company's annual developers conference. Apple's WWDC is scheduled for June 10-14 in San Francisco at the Moscone Center. The company has historically used its developer conference Moscone Center to drum up support for its two major platforms, OS X and iOS. Major announcements in the history of WWDC include the unveiling of iLife, new iMac displays, the implementation of Intel processors in Apple computers, the new Mac Pro desktop, the unveiling of the App Store, the unveiling of the iPhone 3G, the new 13" Macbook Pro and iPhone 4. The iPhone 5 was given its own special media event that was scheduled in September 2012.

Apple is expected to make major software announcements at WWDC 2013 rather than unveiling new products. "Apple Internet Software and Service chief Eddy Cue is believed to be working to improve existing services like iCloud and Maps, but at the same time is planning to launch new initiatives," reports Apple Insider. The rumors blog believes that Apple may introduce a new service called iRadio that is essentially a freemium streaming radio service. Several reports indicate that the iPhone 5S will be released alongside new Apple services at WWDC 2013, but not the iPhone 6

The iPhone 6 release date is more than likely a year away or more. If the rumors are accurate, and the iPhone 5S is released at WWDC 2013, the phone will likely spend six months to one year on the shelves. The existing iPhone 5 is still in high demand, and it's hardly six months old. Apple has no reason to rush out a new iteration of the iPhone.

iPhone 6 Features and Rumors:

iPhone 6 features are difficult to predict this early in the game, especially since there haven't been any credible photo leaks of iPhone 6 casing parts, but, it's once again safe to expect a slimmer and lighter phone. The iPhone 6 is expected to make gigantic strides ahead of the iPhone 5, which is already one of the slickest, sharpest and most-responsive smartphones on the market. The iPhone 6 will likely have a slimmer body and bigger, sharper screen.

The iPhone 6 display may be one of the first to use bendable screen technology. For several years, bendable displays have appeared in trade shows and conferences around the world. Samsung and other brands have touted the resilience of flexible displays. Apple has never confirmed that it has any interest in bendable screen technology, but several new reports indicate that Apple is pursuing bendable screen technology for either the iPhone 6 or the rumored iWatch, a wearable computing device.

It's no secret that Apple has been pursuing bendable screen technology. "Apple states that one of the advantages of using a polyimide substrate is that the AMOLED display screen can be heated that allows the AMOLED display screen to be configured into any number of shapes. Moreover, once the heat is removed, the AMOLED display will then "remember" the original shape even if temporarily rolled up or flattened out," reports Patently Apple, which details the technology at length in a recent report.

Another possible iPhone 6 feature stems directly from the operating system. Apple iOS 7, the company's new mobile operating system, is expected to launch at WWDC 2013. Rumors indicate that iOS 7 will give a major makeover to Apple's mobile operating system and perhaps allow users to do more from the home screen. One rumor suggests that Apple will be doing away with the grid-lock system on the front of the device.

The iOS 7 release date is expected to occur just a few weeks after Google is expected to release its new mobile operating system, Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie. Many believe that Apple will incorporate some Android-only features into the smartphone such as swipe-typing and perhaps even widgets. Now that Jony Ive is the head of all Apple products, many experts are predicting a design overhaul.

In addition to new software, the iPhone 6 is likely to have plenty of new features that have never been seen in smartphones before. It's still unclear whether Apple will incorporate an IR blaster into the phone, which allows it to be used as a remote control for any infrared receiver. Both HTC and Samsung opted to give their new flagship phones IR blaster functionality.

One rumored innovation that might be making its way to the iPhone 6 is tactile feedback. "Apple's actual invention relates to a haptic device that provides an improved tactile feedback to the user by increasing an amplitude achievable by the haptic device. The increased amplitude may be both easier to sense and may provide a crisper sensation," reports Patently Apple in a long post about Apple's haptic feedback patent. In essence, when users touch the touchscreen, it would give your finger some sort of sensation to communicate that the command has been read.

The iPhone 6 release date, features and other rumors circulating around the Internet are difficult to sift through with any degree of certainty about their authenticity. Unfortunately, since there are still more than two months until the iPhone 5S is expected to be released, we likely won't learn much more about the iPhone 6 anytime soon. Most details surrounding the device are speculative at this point, but don't be surprised if some of the information leaks turn out to be true in the long run. We'll keep you posted as more information become available about the next-generation iPhone.