Last September, Apple announced its new iPhone, the iPhone 5, a device that replaced the iPhone from the year previous, the iPhone 4S. This year, Apple is rumored to be releasing another iPhone, possibly called the iPhone 5S, which will very likely replace the iPhone 5 as the company’s most current smartphone on shelves. Here, we take a look at how it stacks up against the iPhone 5 thus far in terms of features, release date and more.
In December of 2011, a report claimed that the iPhone 5 would be out in the fall sporting a redesign. Turns out, that initial rumor proved fruitful as the iPhone 5 made its first official appearance at an event in San Francisco in the first half of September. And, as was reported, it did in fact feature a new design in addition to some other new perks including a larger display and 4G LTE data speeds, two features that had never appeared on any of the previous iPhone models.
Those features helped Apple sell out of its initial iPhone 5 stock. In fact, it wasn’t until December that Apple was finally able to get a handle on its iPhone 5 supply, with shipping times down to a minimum.
Even now, the iPhone 5 remains one of the most popular smartphones on the market and will likely remain amongst the most attractive smartphone options for the months to come. Well, that is until Apple decides its time to announce a new iPhone, something that it does every year.
So far, that new iPhone is shaping up to me a device that is currently presumed to be called the iPhone 5S. And like the iPhone 5, we’ve already heard a number of early rumors about the iPhone 5S’ features, its launch and its possible release date.
Despite only being out since September, the iPhone 5 has been no stranger to succession rumors. Already, rumors of the next-generation iPhone have risen to the surface, tempting consumers with a release later this year.
So what’s been said, and how does it compare to the iPhone 5? Well, let’s take a look at how the rumored iPhone 5S stacks up against Apple’s current iPhone, the iPhone 5.
While the iPhone 5 was initially rumored to be out in the fall, the report did not specify exactly when the iPhone 5 would be out on shelves. Prior to its arrival, the iPhone 4S had launched in October, far later than the iPhone 4 which had arrived at WWDC during the summer and become available several weeks later. So, at the time many believed Apple would stick to October and its yearly cycle.
Those predictions though turned out to be incorrect as Apple moved the launch date of the iPhone up from October to September, releasing the iPhone 5 about a month before the iPhone 4S’ first birthday.
While this may not sound like a big deal, it is, as it means that Apple’s iPhone launches are now unpredictable. Whereas before, consumers could count on an iPhone launch during the summer, now, the timing of the iPhone launch is up in the air.
And that’s a big reason why there aren’t many people that are up in arms about the iPhone 5S launch rumors which suggest that the next iPhone could arrive much earlier than the fall.
So far, all signs have pointed to an iPhone 5S launch at some point during the summer. Rumors and notes from analysts have suggested that Apple could launch the iPhone 5S as soon as May. WWDC, which would likely where Apple debuts the iPhone 5S if it were to indeed arrive in the summer, typically takes place in June.
If the iPhone 5S does launch in the summer, it will likely also have a summer release date. Unlike Android manufacturers, Apple doesn’t short consumers on the important details at its launch events. That means that the company will have a release date on hand at the event and typically, the release date is a few weeks after the launch.
So, that could mean a release in either June or July and we’ve seen one report, from iLounge, suggest that Apple is currently targeting July for an iPhone 5S release. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has been extremely accurate in the past, says that the June or July time frame for a release is possible as well.
Thus far, we haven’t seen any rumors that outright suggest that the iPhone 5S will arrive in the fall though it wouldn’t be surprising to see Apple stick to its guns and release an iPhone 5S just ahead of the holiday shopping season. It’s just that at this point, no rumors point in that direction.
With the iPhone 5, Apple launch a redesigned iPhone featuring an industrial design vastly different from the designs of iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 which were comprised mainly of plastic and a glass backing.
The iPhone 5 is instead composed of a metal band around the entire phone, glass pieces on the top and bottom holding it together and an anodized aluminum back that is one of the most noticeable differences between it and the iPhone 4S.
Apple also included a new Lightning dock connection that allowed the company to keep the size of the iPhone 5 thin, even while the device grew taller because of its larger display.
Specifically, it boasts a slender 7.6mm design with a weight of 112 grams, much thinner and much lighter than most flagship smartphones on the market including the iPhone 4S.
As we’ve discussed, Apple tends to keep designs around for two years. We saw it with the iPhone 3GS and we saw it with the iPhone 4S which retained the designs of their predecessors.
Thus far, rumors point to Apple doing the same with the iPhone 5S with the device expected to retain the current iPhone 5 design while packing in hardware and quite possibly some software upgrades.
Prior to the iPhone 5, the iPhone had always featured a 3.5-inch display. However, with demand for a larger screen increasing year-to-year and Apple’s competitors adopting monster displays for content consumption, the company finally caved and increased the size of the iPhone’s display to 4-inches with the iPhone 5.
The company kept the device’s Retina Display which offers 1136 x 640 resolution and sports a high 326 pixels-per-inch count which make for crisp images, video and text. Even with display technology where it is right now, the Retina Display remains one of the best on the market, and one of the signature features of the iPhone.
That said, while display technology has produced larger screens in years past, now we’re seeing it shift to higher resolution displays in 2013. Several big name Android smartphones including the Samsung Galaxy S4 are rumored to have 1080p resolution displays with 400+ pixels-per-inch. What this means is that there is now a bit of pressure on Apple to deliver a fresh take on its iPhone display.
Whether or not that comes with the iPhone 5S though remains to be seen.
Peter Misek, an analyst with Jefferies, believes that Apple may release an iPhone 5S with a Retina+ display, and more specifically, Sharp IZGO technology. Sharp has long been rumored to be bringing its IGZO technology to both the iPhone and the iPad and it could be that the iPhone 5S is the first iPhone to sport the company’s display tech.
At CES 2013, we were fortunate enough to go hands-on with Sharp’s IGZO display technology, which, can be seen in the video below.
While Sharp wouldn’t confirm the technology for the iPhone, we do know how it might benefit the iPhone 5S.
One, it could help to increase the pixel count which would help to fend off the new display tech found in Android smartphones. And two, it could offer iPhone 5S owners better battery life than that found in the iPhone 5, something that is in high demand amongst smartphone buyers.
As for the size, while there are rumors of Apple potentially working on a larger iPhone+ with a 4.8-inch display, current rumors suggest that the iPhone 5S display will be the same 4-inches as the iPhone 5’s.
The iPhone 5 possesses one of the best rear cameras of any smartphone on the market but it appears that cameras in 2013 are going to be giving it a run for its money.
Already, we’ve seen the Sony Xperia Z arrive with a 13MP sensor that, from several leaked samples, appears to keep pace with the iPhone 5’s camera and perhaps, even best it.
A pre-release photo sample comparing the iPhone 5 camera to the Xperia Z’s can be seen in the photo below.
The Xperia Z of course isn’t the only phone rumored to be coming with a heavy duty rear camera. The HTC M7 is supposedly going to rock a 4.3MP Ultrapixel camera comprised of three 4.3MP sensors that combine to take one clear, crisp image. And the Galaxy S4 is rumored to be coming with a new 13MP camera.
Suffice to say, the pressure is on Apple to introduce a new camera on its iPhone.
Evidently though, Apple will be doing just that, outfitting the iPhone 5S with a new camera, perhaps a 13MP sensor from Sony. The camera quite is rumored to be the star of the iPhone 5S show, especially so, if Apple decides to hold off upgrading the iPhone’s display technology.
A new camera wouldn’t be surprising given that Apple tends to offer an improved rear camera, from both a hardware and software standpoint, year after year.
Beyond those specification, let’s take a deeper look at some of the other features of these smartphones, starting with the very official features of the iPhone 5.
- 4-inch Retina Display with 1136 x 640 Resolution
- Apple A6 Processor
- 16GB/32GB/64GB models (No microSD Card Slot)
- 8MP rear camera/HD Front-Facing Camera
- 1440mAh Battery (Non-Removable)
- 1GB of RAM
So far, no concrete rumors have surfaced in regards to the other features of the iPhone 5S though based on past releases, we can take a gander about what consumers might expect.
Generally, Apple outfits its next generation iPhone models with an assortment of hardware upgrades to offset the lack of a design change. With the iPhone 5S, that policy likely won’t change.
Consumers should expect a processor upgrade, possibly to the faster A6X chip, which should provide better performance when it comes to things like gaming. They should also expect the iPhone 5S to have similar, if not better battery life than the iPhone 5.
The iPhone 5 gets about eight hours when using the web over 4G LTE which is on par with the best smartphones out there.
Apple doesn’t include microSD card slots for expanded storage on its iPhone which means that we should see the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB emerge again though we could see them joined by a 128GB iPhone for the first time considering the 128GB iPads arrive.
It also doesn’t include a removable battery which could also mean that iPhone 5S owners will be stock without extended batteries or an easy way to replace it if it dies.
When Apple releases a new iPhone, it typically releases a new version of its mobile software right along with it. With the iPhone 5, we saw the arrival of the current version of iOS, iOS 6, which brought a hefty dose of features, over 200 new ones in fact, to not only iPhone owners, but owners of previous iDevices as well.
iOS 6 has since been updated with several software updates including the most recent iOS 6.1 update which brought along several new and handy features including a new addition to Siri which can be seen in the video below.
Read: iOS 6.1 Review.
The same will likely be said for iOS 7, the presumed next version of iOS that will more than likely arrive alongside the iPhone 5S. Nothing is known about iOS 7 yet but we imagine that it could feature some drastic changes now that iOS Chief Scott Forstall is gone.
Forstall was one of the leading forces behind the current design of iOS and now that he has been replaced with the likes of Jony Ive and Craig Federighi, we could see some big changes not only feature-wise, but in how iOS looks.
We could also see some unique features arrive in iOS 7 for the iPhone 5S. With the iPhone 4S, the ‘S’ in the name stood for Siri, which was a unique feature to the iPhone 4S up until it arrived for the iPad and the iPhone 5.
If the iPhone 5S is called iPhone 5S, it could be that the ‘S’ also stands for a unique software element, perhaps ‘Security’ for a new finger print scanner, something that has been rumored to be coming to the iPhone for quite some time.
One of the nice aspects of the iPhone 5 is that there is quite a bit of choice when it comes to carrier options. Unlike some high-end smartphone that are limited to one or two carriers, the iPhone 5 is available across a large swath of service providers in the U.S.
When it was first released, the iPhone 5 was available on the 4G LTE networks of AT&T, Sprint and Verizon, the first time an iPhone has ever taken advantage of this type of speed. 4G LTE is considerably faster than 3G, it can reach up to ten times as fast, and it has quickly become the smartphone standard.
Those not looking to sign up with the big boys have other options though as the iPhone is available on smaller carriers like Cricket Wireless as well as on even smaller regional carriers.
Consumers looking to pick up the iPhone 5S will likely be afforded the same type of flexibility and the same data speeds as well.
What’s more is that T-Mobile will be joining the iPhone fray this year and while it hasn’t announced whether it will carry the iPhone 5 or the iPhone 5S or both, whatever it chooses will run on its 4G LTE network which is set to expand throughout the U.S. in 2013.
Apple has set the standard for high-end smartphone pricing with the pricing of the iPhone. For several years now, Apple has offered the iPhone starting at $199.99 and it extended the same offer to those looking to get the iPhone 5.
Here is how Apple’s on-contract price for the iPhone 5 breaks down:
- iPhone 16GB – $199.99 on-contract
- iPhone 32GB – $299.99 on-contract
- iPhone 64GB – $399.99 on-contract
If T-Mobile carriers either one of these iPhones, the up-front cost will be much greater, likely to the tune of the unlocked pricing for the iPhone which is much more expensive than the subsidized pricing.
Here is how the pricing of the unlocked iPhone 5, through Apple, looks:
- iPhone 16GB – $649.99 off-contract
- iPhone 32GB – $749.99 off-contract
- iPhone 64GB – $849.99 off-contract
Apple hasn’t changed its price points in years and we don’t expect it to with the iPhone 5S. No rumors have surfaced quite yet but we don’t expect them to until we get much closer to the actual launch of the device.