Our iPhone 5S release date, features, price and news rumours is updated regularly, check back for the latest updates
The iPhone 5 is barely out of its pristinely white box but already a flurry of rumours are hinting at the launch of its successor, dubbed the iPhone 5S. Believed to be heading into production next month, sources claim the handset could hit shelves as early as June 2013.
Had such rumours surfaced this time last year, we would have been the first to label them as rubbish, but the early arrival of two iPads – the iPad 4 and iPad Mini – in October shows that even when it comes to its product launch cycles, Apple can be unpredictable.
iPHONE 5S RELEASE DATE
The Apple iPhone 5S could launch in June next year, with a range of different colour options for the first time, according to an industry analyst.
In a note summarised by Business Insider, Peter Misek of investment firm Jefferies & Co. claims that the next iPhone will arrive in June.
The iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 were both released closer to the end of the year, but it's not unheard of: both the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 4 came out mid-year.
Some of Misek's claims fly in the face of previous iPhone 5S details, including a purported image of the handset's casing - pictured below - taken on an assembly line, which suggests that the display won't be changing from its current iPhone 5 specification.
Apple, naturally, is silent on the matter, refusing to comment until it formally unveils the handset - roll on Spring!
IPHONE 5S JUNE LAUNCH DATE
According to Misek's latest information, his prediction of a June launch date is correct. The latest info comes from an analysis of Apple's production schedule, which has seen orders reduced from 40 million units to 30 million units.
This move obviously reduces the amount of stock and is responsible for what iPhone 5 sales "decelerating faster than expected", according to Misek.
The reason for the reduction in order numbers isn't because the handset isn't wanted, but because "suppliers seem to be prepping for iPhone 5S builds to start in March".
What this translates to is that Apple is clearing capacity to allow its manufacturers to switch to the new handset, while also reducing the amount of stock it has for the old phone, so it can concentrate on the iPhone 5S.
If this information is correct and the iPhone 5S goes into production in March, it means that the new handset should be out in June. Keep posted here for more information on the Apple launch.
BUDGET iPhone 5
Rumours also suggested that it would be a budget iPhone 5S launched alongside a fully-featured iPhone 6. According to reports, the budget model would let Apple compete against low-end Android devices, by using cheaper components and a plastic case to lower the price.
Apple has been quick to dismiss a budget iPhone 5S. Speaking to a Chinese newspaper, Apple's vice president of global marketing Phil Schiller denied that the company would make a cheaper product.
"Some manufacturers use cheap smartphones as a replacement for feature phones, but this is not Apple's product development direction," Schiller said.
Asked directly about possible plans to launch multiple devices aimed at subtly different market segments, Schiller was clear: "We are not like other companies, releasing multiple products in one breath then pinning their hopes on one single product to gain the favour of consumers."
That, it would seem, is that for a budget Apple phone, then, except those pesky rumours won't die down. The latest rumours suggest that there will be a low-cost plastic iPhone 5 launched alongside the iPhone 5S.
According to KGI Securities' Ming-Chi Kuo, the low-cost iPhone 5 will share the same specifications as the existing handset, only it will have a fibreglass and plastic case, which will be available in multiple colours. This will dramatically cut the cost of manufacturing, allowing Apple to sell a low-cost handset to fight back against Android.
It would be an usual move for Apple, as the company has focussed on high-end products for a long time. However, let's not forget the plastic, low-cost MacBook, which shows that making cheaper products isn't beyond Apple.
Will iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 Both Release In 2013?
As much as some customers may want to believe Apple will release a treasure trove of iPhone models this year, there is some discrepancy in what the rumors have been saying about the iPhone 6.
While most reports have claimed Apple intends to release the iPhone 5S in 2013, some have said the cheaper iPhone 6 will be released in 2014, if at all. Even the most recent report from Japanese Apple blog Macotakara said Apple's lower-cost iPhone 6, which was said to feature a 4.5-inch display and a polycarbonate enclosure, isn't expected to release until 2014.
That said, one of the most accurate analysts in the business -- KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who accurately predicted Apple's entire product roadmap last year -- believes Apple will indeed release both the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 in the third quarter of 2013, which would be right around August-September.
There are more reasons for why Apple should release both the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 in 2013 than against: With analysts and investors concerned with Apple's diminishing share price, and the constant threat of rivals' releasing better and better smartphones each year, the pressure is on Apple to stay competitive: Releasing a low-priced iPhone 6 to attack those emerging markets might be the key.
Even though Apple wants to make greater inroads in China, the price of the current iPhone 5 is simply too steep in the country.
“One of our sources claims that Apple’s iPhone prices remain too high for most mainland Chinese customers -- the iPhone 5 hardware alone starts at $849 there, versus the iPhone 4 at $500, in a country where the average annual salary is around $3,000 per person,” iLounge editor-in-chief Jeremy Horwitz wrote in January. “The source has said that mainland Chinese iPhone 5 sales are already tapering off as a result of the pricing, which is higher than in Hong Kong. A budget iPhone model would help sales in populous but underdeveloped countries to grow.”
Thanks to cheaper, smaller, and more power-efficient chipsets, Apple can afford to build an entry-level to midrange smartphone on top of its current iPhone -- either one that's larger, like the Samsung Galaxy S3, or a smaller iPhone Nano -- to appeal to consumers who can’t quite afford Apple’s most popular product, including many in China. Furthermore, if Apple’s iPhone 6 was not only cheaper but also smaller, the phone would greatly appeal to Asian consumers who find small devices both chic and easier to hold.
Reports of Apple's desire to build multiple iPhone models have been echoed on Wall Street. On Jan. 2, Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White said the company will likely release its next iPhone in more colors and screen sizes, implying that Apple might sell an iPhone that's smaller or larger than the current iPhone 5 or even the previous-generation iPhone 4S or 4 units.
"Although Apple offers a 4-inch screen on the iPhone 5 and a 3.5-inch screen on the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4, the company has never offered multiple screen sizes for a single model," White said. "We believe this is about to change with the next iPhone offering different screen sizes that we believe will allow Apple to better bifurcate the market and expand its reach."
Considering Apple’s urgency to strike a deal with China Mobile, as well as the growing number of rumors pointing to a 2013 release date for an iPhone 6 that would be compatible with the popular carrier, it’s likely we could see both the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 release worldwide this year.
Rumors of fingerprint sensor technology for the iPhone have ramped up since Apple's acquisition of mobile security firm AuthenTec last year. AuthenTec has been rumored to be cutting off its fingerprint sensor customers this year, presumably to focus on supporting Apple's own efforts in the area. Reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has also stated that a fingerprint sensor will be one of the differentiating features for the iPhone 5S.
NFC has been a long-standing rumor for the iPhone, and evidence supporting its inclusion for the iPhone 5 failed to pan out amid claims that the device's design wouldn't even accommodate an NFC antenna. Some have suggested, however, that Apple could have novel plans up its sleeve for deploying NFC within the mostly metal case of the iPhone 5 that will presumably carry over to the iPhone 5S. Still, specific claims of NFC for the iPhone 5S have been essentially non-existent until now.
Last July, it was reported that Apple was deliberately moving slowly into the mobile payments field that could tie in closely to NFC technology. For the time being, Apple is focusing on its Passbook app to offer a digital wallet of passes, coupons, and loyalty cards, although it is easy to see how its functionality could be expanded to include mobile payments and NFC.
Foxconn is reportedly ready to begin ramping up iPhone 5S production, using the same production lines currently used for the iPhone 5.
Apple provides a software only solution for the head & eye tracking which controls the iOS device. And this very well might make it possible for a latest eye tracking control to be featured on iPhone 5S or iPhone 6, if the iOS 7 is supported.
The New York Times Bits Blog has shared the profile of uMoove, which is an introduction to the 3 years of work & experience in giving eye & head tracking feature to the mobile devices.
The company will provide the eye tracking experience to mobile giants like Apple and its other competitors. According to the NY Times, the experience requires a wide adoption for convincing developers to create eye & motion tracking controls in the popular apps.