Rumor time again, after the launch of the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 so far in 2013 Apple is in desperate need of working some of its old magic. The iPhone 5 appeared to be too little too late from Apple, not that it wasn’t very popular with consumers. Apple’s technology contribution hasn’t really been one for new invention but rather of fine polish. Competition has been much greater in the past year from Samsung so everyone is looking for something new rather than seeing a spec bump or novelty software.
There is much debate over what the next iPhone will be called. If you follow Apple’s naming strategy, then the iPhone 5S would be the most likely choice. Typically Apple keeps the same case (or very similar) for two generations, improving the internal specification. The widescreen display brought in on the iPhone 5 should be followed by a spec upgrade in the iPhone 5S. Things aren’t quite as clear cut anymore as the iPad 4 came as a surprise, coming just six months after the iPad 3. If that’s a sign that Apple’s moving to a six-monthly release schedule, then it could be that the iPhone 5S gets released as a more budget model, while the iPhone 6 is released as a brand-new phone.
Apple’s Retina display on the iPad was a big feature so it’s likely we’ll see a Retina display for the iPhone soon. It’s now thought that the iPhone 6 will have a Sharp IGZO (Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide) screen. This new technology allows for screens that use less power and are considerably thinner. Rumours certainly picked up when the Sharp IGZO technology was demonstrated at CES 2013. Reports have appeared that the iPhone 6 will have a Super HD screen, but no details of screen resolution or size have appeared. We’d assume that the Apple will stick with the new widescreen format it introduced with the iPhone 5, though.
In terms of storage, 64GB has been the top model for a couple of years, so we’d expect the top model to now be 128GB. This has been predicted by Misek, who believes that the iPhone will offer more storage than before. Whether or not this means a new top-end model or whether the entry-level 16GB model hasn’t been confirmed, but we’d expect Apple to ditch the low-end and stick with its current pricing.
An omission from the iPhone 5 was NFC where the technology was appearing in most new Android phones. With Apple pushing its Passbook App, for storing store cards, tickets and coupons, integrating this with NFC for the iPhone 6 would make a lot of sense.
The big attraction to iOS has been it’s ease of use. It was announced last year Scott Forstall who played a large role in iOS would leaving Apple amongst various rumours. Under new leadership we could see iOS take a new direction. Current versions of iOS have seen very little changes bar the introduction of the disastrous Apple Maps app. With Android offering Widgets and Windows Mobile 8 a cleaner interface, it’s fair to say that iOS is starting to look a bit dated. We’d bet money on Apple working on a successor with a different interface, but whether or not this is iOS 7 and whether or not it will be released with the iPhone 6 is yet to be seen. Patently Apple managed to dig up information on a new patent for a smart bezel. This will use a secondary display system, which could be embedded around the primary screen or even on the back of a device to provide new controls that light up when needed. According to Patently Apple, “Apple intends to use the secondary display to introduce a new set of illuminated indicators that would be able to morph into various controls for work and play. Illuminated gaming and productivity controls could be built into the face-side of the bezel and/or selected back-side areas of iOS devices like the iPad.”
Regarding specs the latest information suggests that the Apple A7 processor is now being finished by the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing company. It appears as though, the final design will go in March, then move to risk production in May-June. With that kind of schedule production of the new chip would happen in 2014, meaning that this processor will definitely be for the iPhone 6, while the iPhone 5S is more likely to get some kind of tweaked A6 processor. Recent rumours have suggested that the iPhone 6 process will be manufactured by Intel, rather than Samsung. It makes a lot of sense, as Intel has the capital investment in global fabrication plants, which means it should be able to offer competitive prices. It also means that Apple can move away from Samsung, reducing its reliance on its main competitor. This seems fairly given Apples history with Intel for low powered mobile devices which favoured their move to ARM for the original iPhone
Should Apple continue it’s 6 month release cycle we could see the iPhone 5S this spring or even a shown stopping iPhone 6, what do you think?