The iPhone 5 was released after months of speculation back on September 21st. The 4-inch display and 4G LTE powered smartphone all have seemingly resonated with consumers as the iPhone 5 has been scooped up millions of times since then. Yet, it’s successful launch has not managed to stave off rumors about Apple’s next smartphone, tentatively called the iPhone 5S.
Rumors of an iPhone 5S have already started swirling just weeks after the launch of the iPhone 5. Rumors peg the iPhone 5S as possibly arriving in the middle of 2013 as opposed to the end of 2013. Apple launched the iPhone 5 in September and the iPhone 4S in October. The rumor states that Apple will put in orders for the iPhone 5S starting in March or April of next year, earlier than many assumed.
If this rumor is correct, it could be that Apple decides to release its next smartphone in the summer and not in the fall likes it previous two releases. The iPhone 4 was announced at WWDC in 2010 but that was the last time Apple introduced a phone in the summer.
As for its features, there is nothing on the table as of now. And with a larger display and 4G LTE now on board, many are wondering about what Apple may do next with its iconic smartphone.
That being said, I wanted to take a closer look at what to expect in terms of its release date and its features. Here are my thoughts and expectations in regards to the release date and features that may wind up being attached to the iPhone 5S.
iPhone 5S Name Seems Likely
After Apple launched the iPhone, it released the iPhone 3GS. After the release of the iPhone 4, the company debuted the iPhone 4S. These devices with the S moniker were more powerful versions of their predecessors. With the iPhone 3GS, the ‘S’ stood for Speed and with the iPhone 4S, the ‘S’ stood for Siri, the phone’s unique on board virtual assistant.
So while iPhone 6 may crop up as a possible name for the next iPhone, at this point, iPhone 5S seems like the biggest contender for the name of the next iPhone. But what would the ‘S’ stand for in the name?
Well, it could stand for ‘Security’ as it may have an on board fingerprint scanner according to speculation. With U.S. Government agencies dropping BlackBerry in favor of the iPhone, enhancing the iPhone with some more security-related features like fingerprint scanning does make sense and it could be what propels Apple to use that name.
Summer iPhone 5S Release Date Is Possible
For many, the thought of a summer iPhone 5S launch may seem outlandish. It’s not. Again, Apple mixed things up by releasing the iPad fourth-generation in November way ahead March, the month that Apple typically announces new iPads. That’s a sign that it’s not afraid to shift release dates when it needs to. The iPhone 5 will likely sell well through the holiday season but that doesn’t mean Apple will stay complacent.
The company may use a summer release to speed up iPhone releases or it may launch it in the middle of the year to avoid a slump when Samsung announces and releases the Samsung Galaxy S4, the iPhone’s main rival, and a device rumored to be coming in the middle of Q2.
Also, something to keep in mind. Rumors that arrived at the end of 2011 about a fall iPhone 5 launch were deadly accurate. So, maybe, there is something to these rumors as well.
Expect a Fall Release Date Though
At this point though, they are just rumors, and Apple has seemingly been content on releasing the iPhone in the fall, shortly before the holiday shopping season to maximize sales. Given that the source of the mid-2013 speculation is DigiTimes and the Commercial Times, the summer release date theory is still flimsy and that means that fall is still a distinct possibility and should be expected at this point.
Few Display Changes, If Any
With the iPhone 5, Apple upgraded the iPhone 5 with a 4-inch Retina Display that boasts a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio and one of the highest pixels-per-inch count in the business at 326ppi. It’s a gorgeous display. And while its competitors may be looking to include full HD 1080p displays on their smartphones, see the Droid DNA for an example, don’t expect Apple to follow suit.
As it provided with 4G LTE, Apple is willing to wait on big time enhancements for its smartphone and given the drastic changes it made with the size and the issues it’s reportedly having with display production, it’s hard to see Apple making any big time changes with the iPhone 5S display.
The Droid DNA’s display is fantastic and it would be great to see Apple introduce some upgraded screen technology, but the Retina Display is still good which makes iPhone 6 a more likely candidate for a massive screen overhaul.
Expect A Similar Design
Do expect a similar design though. The iPhone 5, with its metal, aluminum and glass is an industrial masterpiece and we don’t expect Apple to make any major design changes with the iPhone 5S. The iPhone 4S also retained a similar design to the iPhone 4 with its glass back and metal band.
Apple did upgrade the antennas in the iPhone 4S so we could see some of the design’s innards get upgraded but don’t expect a new design from the iPhone 5S.
One thing that seems certain is that the iPhone 5S, or whatever it’s called, will launch with the latest version of iOS, presumably, iOS 7. Like its predecessors, it will likely benefit from a host of new features and given that iOS chief Scott Forstall is out at the company, we could wind up seeing some drastic changes to Apple’s aging software.
What those changes and improvements might be remain to be seen.
Apple didn’t announce any sort of unique software with the iPhone 5 unless you count that there are five rows of tiles on the home screen and the calendar app looks better. Those however have to do with the size of the display.
With the iPhone 4S, Apple introduced Siri, the virtual assistant that is accessed with a hard press of the home button. And with the iPhone 5S, we expect Apple to introduce some unique software.
Fingerprint scanning is a distinct possibility but it’s also possible that Apple is working on some other unique software features to drive sales. What those are, we aren’t sure, but if the iPhone 5S looks like the iPhone 5, expect Apple to include something major to entice consumers. And given its past, it could be software.
Don’t expect the iPhone 5S to be exactly the same as the iPhone 5 from a hardware stand point though. Apple generally outfits its latest iPhone with some hardware upgrades including a faster processor, camera tweaks and more. We could see a pure quad-core processor powering the iPhone 5S and we also could see Apple fiddle with its already amazing rear camera.
It’s also possible that Apple could add features like Near-field Communication (NFC) for mobile payments and for use with Passbook as well as a wireless charging standard. The former has been a standard on Android phones for awhile and just made it to Windows Phone in Windows Phone 8.
Wireless charging, which would allow iPhone 5S owners to charge their device wirelessly, is also a possibility given that support is arriving on current-gen phones. However, because Apple just introduced the new Lighting port with the iPhone 5, we may end up seeing it in the iPhone 6.
Another near certainty is a launch on the three major carriers in the U.S., AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. The iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 are and were available on all three of these and that likely won’t change with the iPhone 5S.
What will change is that AT&T and Sprint will have made gains on Verizon in terms of 4G LTE coverage. With the iPhone 5, the carriers are not equal. While Verizon boasts over 400 markets in the U.S. that offer 4G LTE data speeds to iPhone 5 owners, AT&T is barely over 100 and Sprint has far less.
When the iPhone 5S comes around, expect a still uneven playing field but one that is much improved for AT&T and Sprint.