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Apple iPhone 5S: all you need to know

Apple
by James Laird
, 24 Dec 2012
Apple iPhone 5S: all you need to know

Like a bit of iPhone gossip? So do we. Our constantly evolving iPhone 5S roundup is your one-stop shop for news and rumours relating to Apple's next-generation handset, and will be regularly updated with the latest reports as they break. Head to the bottom of the article for the most recent speculation (Last update: 25-01-2013) or read on to catch up with the story so far...  

Now that mobile hungry consumers are all up-to-date on Samsung Galaxy S4 news and rumours, more inquisitive punters are no doubt starting to think about 2013's other earth-shattering smartphone launch, that of the Apple iPhone 5S. But where to begin?

Let's start with the disclaimer that 'iPhone 5S' is a purely speculative tag and, given that Apple only introduced its iPhone 5 in September, the unveiling of its next blockbuster device is still a fair way off. Or is it? One rumour gaining traction has the iconic American firm launching its new iPhone in the first-half of 2013 instead of sticking to its traditional product release schedule, which dictates an autumn arrival for the incremental update.

The prediction is likely based around Apple's desire to compete even more directly with bitter rival Samsung, whose Galaxy S3 took the market by storm after it was announced in May 2012. The iPhone 5's launch was greeted by a typical consumer frenzy, of course, but the fact that the S3 will go down in in many pundits' book as the smartphone of the year can't sit well with the hugely competitive Cupertino-based firm, and some feel it may adapt its business strategy accordingly.

We're approaching this one with a bit of caution, however. The iPhone 5 only just rolled out to as many as 50 countries, so while development for the 5S may well be imminent and Apple could start talking up its next offering sooner than usual, we'd be surprised if the device itself arrived ahead of schedule. As much as anything, Apple's immense pride means it is unlikely to want to be seen to be having its corporate blueprint dictated by a competitor.

What might the iPhone 5S look like when it does arrive? Apple's annual WWDC will provide a much clearer picture, but there are some early indications as to what features the new device might offer . With regards to software, currently speculation regarding iOS 7 points to things like additional Passbook options, additional Siri integration and, of course, improvements to the much maligned native Maps application.

From a hardware perspective, the future iPhone is a fairly vague proposition: we're expecting a faster processor, more RAM, NFC, and a better specification camera complementing the continuation of existing features like 4G LTE support. There's little of substance out there at the moment, with an alleged image leak of iPhone 5S casing indicating "component tweaks" and little more.

As such, the most substantial new iPhone rumour points not to the 5S but an 'iPhone 5 mini.' The budget handset would be a scaled-down version of the existing model aimed at emerging markets. It's an idea that makes great business sense, but we're still taking it with a pinch of salt - Apple's modus operandi is to only offer exclusive products, and again we think it is unlikely to willingly 'dumb down' its range to make a cheap buck in countries like India and China.

More likely is for the firm to drop the pricing of its older devices, like the iPhone 3GS and 4. There's still a big sense of 'watch this space' when it comes to the iPhone 5S, so if you haven't already, bookmark this page now - it's sure to fill up quickly in 2013.

Updates

28 December, 2012

If you thought that the Apple rumour was grinding to a halt over the holiday season, think again. Reports arrived from China today that Apple may release a smart watch product in 2013 - presumably dubbed something along the lines of 'iWatch' - to complement its next-generation iPhone. The new iDevice would sync up with the handset via Bluetooth and allow users to text, make phone calls and check emails from their wrist. Featuring a 1.5in OLED display and running an adapted version of iOS, the project apparently sees Apple teaming up with chip giant Intel and may break cover as soon as early-2013 - intriguingly, the same time as some industry insiders are suggesting an accelerated iPhone 5S release could occur. Could the iWatch be Apple's next big gadget? Only time will tell, but we like what we're hearing.

2 January, 2013

Now that's just swell - all this attention we're giving to the 'iPhone 5S' and Apple might go ahead and call its next-generation handset something different, the cheeky swine. According to the latest reports, developer logs linked with the firm's HQ identify an "iPhone6,1" in the pipeline alongside iOS 7, the next instalment of Apple's mobile operating system. What's doubly interesting about this rumour is that, in addition to bringing the naming of the upcoming iPhone into question, it also lends credence to earlier speculation that the next Apple handset will arrive in the first-half of 2013, rather than launching in autumn like the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S. If we were feeling bold, we'd say that this was all a carefully crafted red herring in which the Cupertino-based company was probably quietly complicit, but as we know from the 'new iPad' adventure, Apple is more than capable of springing surprises. 

10 January, 2013

Taiwan-based tech news site Digitimes has renewed speculation that Apple is lined up to release a budget iPhone in the second-half of 2013. Apparently, the handset will be aimed at emerging markets, feature pared down specifications, and don a more affordable price tag. If analyst reports are to be believed, an entry-level iPhone could net Apple billions in revenue and help it regain smartphone market supremacy, but for our purposes as iPhone 5S observers it's significant because a shift in product strategy could chime with some of the more lateral-thinking rumours making the rounds, like those of an Apple iWatch.

11 January, 2013

Apple's slashing of iPhone 5 component orders may not seem like classic rumour mill material. The fact is, due to increased competition from the Android market, the Cupertino-based firm is producing less handsets and therefore requiring less parts from its partners. But the news is also a potentially telling indicator of when the iPhone 5S is likely to arrive, as another plausible explanation for the cut-down orders is that Apple is already turning its attention to future devices. This could mean that a Q2 2012 iPhone 5S launch is indeed on the cards, or that the hotly-tipped 'iPhone mini' (see 10 January update, above) may be among us sooner than we thought.

22 January, 2013

New reports point to Apple unveiling a 4.8in device dubbed the 'iPhone Math' alongside the iPhone 5S this summer, as the iconic US manufacturer looks to expand its range and claw back market share from Android devices and bitter rival Samsung in particular. The handset is allegedly set to debut this June in a joint launch with the premium iDevice - unless, of course, the 'Math' is the iPhone 5S. We'll let you chew on that one until the next big rumour breaks...

25 January, 2013

Recent reports indicating that Apple is set to deliver its largest handset this year should be taken with a fistful or two of the (culinary) white stuff, according to serial rumour-monger Digitimes. Apparently, the Cupertino-based tech titan is indeed developing a big-screen device, but the 'iPhone Math' won't be appearing until 2014. Against this backdrop of mystery and intrigue, only one thing seems certain: the imaginations of Apple fanboys refuse to dim. The latest notable iPhone concept depicts a smartphone with a flexible display - follow the above link for a glimpse of this bendy render.

Concept image credit: Antoine Brieux for NAK Studio via Yanko Design

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