While much of consumers attention has been placed on the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4, two of the most anticipated smartphones of the new year, there is another smartphone lurking in the shadows, preparing for its arrival. That device is, of course, the iPhone 5S, a device that is heavily rumored to be replacing the iPhone 5 later this year. And while we’ve heard quite a bit about it, here are the five most important things to know about the iPhone 5S prior to its launch.
Thus far, much of the attention in 2013 has been drawn by two Android launches. In February, HTC announced its HTC One, a device that will be taking on the iPhone 5 with a number of high end specifications and will be heading to the U.S. later on this month. A month later, Samsung announced the new Samsung Galaxy S4, a device that will compete with the iPhone 5 as well.
However, because these companies are on different cycles, it means that they will likely be competing with another iPhone sometime later this year. So far, rumors have suggested that Apple may be launching a device called the iPhone 5S to replace the iPhone 5. Apple typically announces an ‘S’ version of its iPhone which features a similar design with hardware and, in the past, software upgrades.
While a launch is likely many weeks away, there have been rumors cropping up at a dizzying pace with leaks and speculation suggesting a number of iPhone 5S possibilities. Some of them are more important than others though and here, we want to take a look at what we believe are the five most important things to know about Apple’s new iPhone, before it launches.
It Likely Won’t Be the iPhone 6
Those that are expecting Apple to release a phone called the iPhone 6 will likely be disappointed as Apple has in the past stuck to a design for two years and in the second, released it with ‘S’ in the branding. All signs have pointed to the next flagship iPhone, whether or not a cheaper iPhone will join it is up for debate, being an ‘S’ model and therefore, it will likely carry the name iPhone 5S.
Apple in the past has jumped up a number when the phone featured a redesign. For example, the iPhone 4 featured a glass, metal and plastic design, far different from the plastic design of the iPhone 3GS. And last year, with the iPhone 5, we saw the design change from glass, metal and plastic to the iPhone 5′s top-of-the-line glass, metal and aluminum design.
So while plenty of consumers will want a drastically changed iPhone 6 for 2013, know that that is unlikely and that Apple will likely stick to the fantastic iPhone 5 design for another year.
The ‘S’ Stands for Unique
While Apple has a penchant for keeping the same design around for two years, it does make some changes to the DNA of the phone. The most obvious are the hardware changes that are currently rumored to include a faster processor and an improved camera, possibly of the 13MP Sony sensor variety. However, don’t expect those to be the only upgrades from the iPhone 5.
Apple has proven that it likes to do something unique with the ‘S’ models. With the iPhone 3GS, it stood for ‘Speed’. With the iPhone 4S, it stood for ‘Siri’ the personal assistant that is now home on an assortment of other devices. It is not, however, available for the iPhone 4, something that Apple used as a major selling point.
We aren’t sure yet what the iPhone 5S’ unique feature could be but so far, signs point to it possibly having something to do with security mixed in with NFC payments. Rumors suggest it could be coming with a fingerprint scanner that could tie in NFC support for mobile payments. However, those rumors have been flimsy at best and speculation has rested on the feature being on the iPhone 6 instead.
At the very least, expect there to be something unique about the iPhone 5S that isn’t found on the iPhone 5 or any other device. And given the pressure that the Samsung Galaxy S4 has put on Apple, expect that unique feature to be something big.
iPhone 5S Release Could Come This Summer
The past two iPhone launches have taken place in the fall with the iPhone 4S launching in October and the iPhone 5 coming in September. And while Apple has followed a cycle in the past, it’s clear that it has not confined the iPhone launch to a specific time. And so far, just about every iPhone 5S release date rumor suggests that it could arrive this summer.
Prior to the iPhone 4S, Apple’s developer conference, WWDC, was a surefire bet for an IPhone launch. However, in 2011, Apple skipped it in favor of an event later in the year and since, WWDC has been about Apple’s new software. There is a distinct possibility that that could change this year.
Rumors indicated that Apple may be starting up iPhone 5S production in order to meet a July iPhone 5S release date. If that’s true, expect a launch at WWDC this summer.
And while summer might seem a little soon given that the iPhone 5 only arrived back in September, Apple has good reason to release an iPhone sooner than it did last year.
The Samsung Galaxy S3, which threatened the iPhone last year, has been replaced with the Samsung Galaxy S4 and already, anticipation for this device is strong as Samsung only seems to have improved upon last year’s device. We also expect it to launch a new ad campaign for the smartphone in the coming days.
While Apple will still sell millions of iPhones, even if it decides to launch the iPhone 5S this fall, a launch in the summer would put a much bigger dent into Galaxy S4 sales, something that could be tempting for Apple.
It Will Arrive to Heavy Competition
Speaking of the Samsung Galaxy S4, the iPhone 5S will almost certainly arrive after Samsung makes its latest flagship available around the world. This is something that consumers should know because the Samsung Galaxy S4 is going to be an extremely tempting phone as it combines not only smart software but also some fantastic specifications on the hardware end.
The Galaxy S4 offers up-to-date features including 1080p HD resolution, something the iPhone 5 doesn’t have, a quad-core processor, massive battery, large screen, durable design, removable battery, and wireless charging. It will also be available on a host of U.S. carriers including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon.
T-Mobile is the only carrier that has confirmed a release date, May 1st, but we expect the others to fall in line with late April and early May release dates as well. AT&T and U.S. Cellular have confirmed April 16th pre-orders.
So unless Apple suddenly announces an event, it’s looking like the Samsung Galaxy S4 will beat the iPhone 5S to market.
The HTC One will beat the iPhone 5S to market as well as it will be arriving in the U.S. on April 19th with many of the same powerful features that the Samsung Galaxy S4 possesses.
iOS 7 is a Given
And finally, an important thing to know about the iPhone 5S is the fact that it will almost certainly arrive with new software in the form of iOS 7. Apple always releases a new version of iOS with its new iPhone and the iPhone 5S will be no different.
Rumors pertaining to Apple’s new software have been relatively scarce but we have heard a few possible details emerge. It has been suggested that iOS 7 could offer a significant’ new user experience over past versions of iOS. The UI is apparently set for drastic changes under the leadership of Jony Ive and we have already seen Apple begin to move away from skeuomorphic design in the recent update to the Apple Podcasts app.
While nothing is guaranteed as far as features are concerned, an iOS 7 release alongside the iPhone 5S is all but guaranteed.