The iPhone 6 is back in the news this morning after reports that a carrier in the UK already lists the upcoming iPhone in their computer system.
A Vodafone employee reportedly snapped the photo of the computer system showing an entry for the “4G iPhone 6″ mixed in with what appear to be plans and other device listings.
The new photo blurs out other parts of the leak, but still shows a listing for the iPhone 6 next to a listing for a “4G Smart 7″, which is likely the Vodafone Smart II 7 tablet. If this is the case, it’s not clear what the 12M in front of each of these devices indicates. The next iPhone is rumored to use a 12MP camera with enhanced low light performance, but the Smart 7 does not feature a high MP camera. Perhaps it is supposed to indicate 12 months.
The veracity of the photo remains questionable because the iPhone 6 and this tablet are mixed in with what appear to be plans for Vodafone. Most often when we see smartphone leaks from carrier systems, there is not a mix of phones and plans on the same screen. That doesn’t completely dismiss this as a legitimate leak, but it is definitely questionable.
The simpler explanation for the iPhone 6 showing up in Vodafone’s system is that this may be a listing for the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 is actually the sixth iPhone, so it could potentially carry the iPhone 6 name on an internal system that is never meant to see the light of day.
Of course we could also be looking at a placeholder for the next iPhone, one that a Vodafone employee decided should carry the iPhone 6 name. After all, consumers are searching for the iPhone 6 more than the iPhone 5S.
It is very unlikely that Vodafone is completely tuned into Apple’s plans this early in the game.
It wouldn’t be the first time a carrier completely botched product information ahead of an iPhone launch. Back in 2011, Cincinnati Bell listed an iPhone 5 with a 4-inch screen and 4G data speeds. That turned out to be a good description of the iPhone 5, but in 2011 Apple was planning the iPhone 4S, which launched two weeks later without the larger screen and 4G LTE.
iPhone 5S More Likely Than iPhone 6
The iPhone 5S is much more likely for 2013, with multiple sources claiming Apple is prepping a new iPhone with a design similar to the iPhone 5. The latest rumors point to production starting in June and July with a possible September announcement for the iPhone 5S.
Current rumors suggest the iPhone 5S will feature a better camera and better processor. The phone will likely run iOS 7, which Apple is expected to show off in June at WWDC. The iPhone 5S may launch with a mobile payment system or iRadio according to some rumors.
Apple typically focuses on a refined iPhone model with better software in the “S” year, which is what the most prominent rumors are pointing to. Multiple analysts believe the iPhone 6 won’t appear until June 2014 at the earliest.
Analysts are at odds over wether the iPhone 5S or iPhone 6 will feature a buil-in fingerprint reader, which could play a role in security and mobile payments. The iPhone 6 is rumored with a larger display and a new design.