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A highly suspect photo out of East Asia on Thursday purportedly offers a first look at retail packaging for the next-generation "iPhone 6s Plus," though a closer inspection of its contents reveals a number of design choices inconsistent with Apple's usual aesthetic.
Posted to Chinese tech blog cnBeta, the low-quality image supposedly shows an iPhone 6s Plus package wrapper unfurled from its cardboard box. While the image itself does not appear to be digitally doctored, a number of curious design choices bring the label's authenticity into question.
Apple's iPhone retail packaging has remained relatively consistent since the original model debuted in 2007. The familiar rectangular box always includes a picture of the iPhone contained within, powered on to that year's iOS Springboard, or default home screen layout. Only two designs deviated from this rule: the plastic iPhone 5c package which showed off the device (with home screen decal) through a transparent cover, and last year's all-white boxes with embossed iPhone 6 illustration.
The iPhone 6 series also stripped out model designators like "4S," "5" and "5s" from packaging side panels, leaving only the "iPhone" moniker appended with an Apple logo. Today's "leak" not only reverts back to the old naming convention without Apple logo, but uses an extremely large font size, a peculiar choice considering "iPhone 6s Plus" is already a mouthful.
Finally, the use of a black Betta with mustard yellow fins, while striking, is not in line with Apple's usual feature-forward marketing materials. It should be noted that none of Apple's iOS 9 beta builds included the fish as a wallpaper option.
If the packaging turns out to be legitimate, which seems unlikely, it would be a major departure from an eight-year design evolution culminating in the austere and refined aesthetic introduced with iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
The report goes on to say Apple's next-generation smartphones will see battery capacity reductions from current models, perhaps resulting from the inclusion of Force Touch components. Specifically, the "iPhone 6s" will reportedly incorporate a 1,715mAh battery, down from 1,810mAh on the iPhone 6, while the "iPhone 6s Plus" will feature a 2,750mAh cell, down from 2,910mAh on the iPhone 6 Plus.