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iPhone 5S Predictions: Release Date, Features, Cost

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The iPhone 5 is already rumored to be getting replaced sometime later this year with the most recent iPhone 5S launch rumors suggesting that it will be coming in September. We’ve also heard a ton about possible features on the iPhone 5S and now, in the wake of these rumors and leaks, it’s time to make some predictions of our own.

Apple’s current generation iPhone, the iPhone 5, remains one of the most popular smartphones on the market and will continue to be popular well after its replacement arrives thanks to a likely drop in price and software updates that should arrive for years to come. Its replacement, thought to be the iPhone 5S, has been talked about for months with rumors suggesting a number of different scenarios regarding the next iPhone.

Read: iPhone 5S Release & Rumor Roundup.

The iPhone 5S is rumored to be coming out later this year.

The iPhone 5S is rumored to be coming out later this year.

For months now, Apple has been rumored to have developed at least one new iPhone, a device that is said to be coming to replace the iPhone 5 as the iPhone 5S. Like most Apple rumors, there are bits and pieces regarding its features though the entire device has yet to leak out, in full. Apple, per usual, has done a marvelous job at keeping one of its biggest announcements of the year mostly a secret.

It will, for better or worse, likely remain in the shadows up until Apple takes the stage to announce the new device, something that is destined to take place at an event in California later on this year.

Of course, the iPhone 5S will face stiff opposition when it arrives. From the Samsung Galaxy S4, to the HTC One, to the Nexus versions of the phones, to the Nokia Lumia 928 Windows Phone on Verizon, the iPhone 5S is going to have its hands full. As for Apple, it will of course have added pressure to deliver something that excites consumers.

While the iPhone 5S is still just a rumor, it’s time to make some predictions in regards to its release date, its features and more.

August/September Release Date

Early in the year, all signs pointing to an iPhone 5S arrival sometime this summer, possibly in July. However, the consensus now, backed by Apple CEO Tim Cook’s comments and the fact that we haven’t seen any substantial leaks emerge ahead of WWDC is that the device won’t be arriving until later on this year, skipping an announcement at WWDC.

Further, the device is more than likely going to be running new software in the form of iOS 7. And given that we have not seen a beta for iOS 7, it’s likely that we’re still pretty far off from an iPhone 5S release.

So when will it be released? The most logical guess is that Apple will launch in September, a month that finds itself perfectly wedged in between summer and the start of the holiday shopping season. It also allows rumors to build for a few months post-WWDC, in an attempt take steam away from devices like the new Nexus’ from Google and the Galaxy Note 3.

Banners at Moscone Center in San Francisco show a "7" which points to the unveiling of iOS 7.

Don’t expect an iPhone 5S at WWDC 2013.

We wouldn’t rule out August just yet though. Before the iPhone 4S, Apple liked to launch its iPhone in the summer at WWDC. And as we’ve seen with the launches of the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 and the release of the iPad 4, it’s clear that Apple isn’t stuck on a yearly cycle.

The company has moved from October with the iPhone 4S to September with the iPhone 5, so perhaps it’s trying to move back to its original summer slot, ever so slowly, in an attempt to not anger its customers.

All signs are pointing to September at the moment, but don’t rule out August just yet.

iPhone 5 Design

While there are plenty of consumers out there campaigning for a redesign with the iPhone 5S, that redesign is more likely to be coming with next year’s iPhone 6.

For one, we know that Apple likes to use designs for two years in a row. And who could blame it. Apple tends to have one of the best smartphone designs year-after-year and the iPhone 5 is no exception. The device’s industrial design is one of its strong suits and we can’t imagine the company ditching the look after just one year. Secondly, leaks have aligned and point to an iPhone 5S design that for the most part resembles the iPhone 5.

The iPhone 5S will likely have an iPhone 5 design but that doesn’t mean that Apple won’t tweak it. In fact, as we saw with the jump from the iPhone 4 to 4S, which used similar designs, Apple slightly altered the design of the iPhone 4S, positioning the volume keys in a slightly different manner.

Retina Display

Despite the competition unleashing full HD 1080p resolution displays, there are few signs pointing to a major display change in the iPhone 5 though a recent rumor does claim that Apple will be doubling the pixel count on the iPhone 5S, something that would keep it competitive with the other devices on the market.

Apple’s iPhone 5 boats a 4-inch Retina display that may not offer HD resolution but does offer a high pixel-per-inch count, something that keeps it on par with many of the displays that we’ve seen emerge not only in 2013 but in 2012 as well.

We expect a familiar display on the iPhone 5S.

We expect a familiar display on the iPhone 5S.

And while there are calls for Apple to up the ante with the iPhone 5S, even rumors suggesting that it will offer a Retina+ or Retina HD+ display, they simply aren’t credible enough to agree with at this point.

Instead, we think Apple will keep the same Retina Display intact and shift to a higher-resolution display next year. It’s certainly possible that it makes a change this year, but we believe it to be a long shot, at best. For those pinning for better resolution, just remember: Apple has never rushed into things, 4G LTE being a good example of that.

Apple adds features when it’s ready to add features.

Better Processor

This is pretty much a given. Apple typically outfits its new iPhones with an improved processor to not only help better handle the new software features that it tacks on but to improve things like multitasking and gaming.

Rumors are conclusive yet but the two best candidates for an iPhone 5S processor are the A6X chip found in the iPad 4 or a new chip, presumably an A7 CPU.

Better Camera

Another feature that Apple tends to upgrade year after year is the iPhones camera. Last year, the iPhone 5 featured a major upgrade in terms of the sensor inside the device with Apple claiming that the new sensor boasted better HDR and low-light capabilities. The camera is better than the iPhone 4S’ camera but not by much.

We expect there to be a bigger jump from the iPhone 5 camera to the iPhone 5S camera. In fact, this very well could be one of the biggest features of the iPhone 5S. Rumors claim Apple is adding a 12MP or 13MP camera to the iPhone 5S along with dual-LED flash. It’s also said to be possibly delivering a fantastic front-facing camera.

We expect a greatly improved camera.

We expect a greatly improved camera.

To us, this makes sense. The big name devices on the market right now, the Galaxy S4 and HTC One, both feature high quality cameras and in order to compete, the iPhone 5S must have a good camera. And by adding an extremely good camera, Apple will have a major selling point to drive home to consumers.

Expect the camera to be a highly-touted feature on the upcoming iPhone.

iOS 7, But Unique

An iPhone 5S concept with a fingerprint reader.

An iPhone 5S concept with a fingerprint reader.

No surprise here. We think the iPhone 5S will have iOS 7 on board when it arrives. How do we know this? The writing is on the wall. Apple always introduces new software with a new iPhone and with iOS 7 confirmed for WWDC, we know that the company is hard at work on some new software for not only the iPhone 5S but for its older devices as well.

We don’t though expect the version of iOS 7 that reaches the iPhone 5S to be the same as the version that hits other smartphones, including Apple’s iPhone 5. With the iPhone 4S, we saw Apple introduce Siri, a feature that at the time, was unique to the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 4 to this day has never received Siri.

By offering unique software of some kind, Apple is able to keep the iPhone 5S fresh, despite the lack of a redesign. What that feature, or features are exactly is unclear but rumors have suggested that Apple may have a fingerprint reader on board the iPhone 5S.

We have theorized, in the past, that the iPhone 5S’ ‘S’ could stand for Security and at this point, given the heavy dosage of fingerprint reader rumors, we’re going to be bold and predict that this will indeed happen and that iOS 7 will have some unique features that take advantage of it.

Familiar Color Options at Launch

There are plenty of whispers about Apple potentially releasing a multitude of colors for the iPhone 5S, joining the usual white and black variants of Apple’s iconic device.

To us, this seems unlikely. We’ve seen colors other than black plagued with manufacturing issues. We saw it with the iPhone 4, we saw it with Samsung’s pebble blue Galaxy S3. Apple doesn’t want its supply issues to get any worse than they have been and bringing new colors, especially to a design that is aluminum and not plastic, could complicate things immensely.

There is a reason why companies like HTC and Samsung are late to the party with wild colors like red and blue. There is a reason why Samsung shifted to white and black for its Galaxy S4. There is a reason why HTC offers silver and black HTC One models at the moment. There is a reason why the white Nexus 4 was late to the party.

It’s not easy to offer more than two colors at launch, especially with smartphones in such high demand these days. Companies would much rather have their device remain in stock, selling, and then launch new colors at a later date for those that want them.

Tim Cook is a supply chain wizard but we don’t see him working any magic with new iPhone 5S colors, at least not at launch.

Same Carriers, +2

Look for T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular to join the iPhone party.

Look for T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular to join the iPhone party.

AT&T, Sprint and Verizon will more than likely be joined by two new launch carriers when the iPhone 5S arrives. With T-Mobile now selling the iPhone 5 and U.S. Cellular confirming an iPhone for later this year, it’s clear that these two carriers will offer the latest and greatest that Apple has to offer.

These two carriers are strong enough to be launch partners with Apple and we think that the iPhone 5S launch will be the biggest launch, in terms of carriers, that we’ve ever seen from an iPhone.

Keep in mind, the LTE networks of both U.S. Cellular and T-Mobile are both small, but they are growing and they will likely expand rapidly ahead of an iPhone 5S launch.

Similar Pricing

We saw carriers increase the pricing of the iPhone’s biggest rival, the Samsung Galaxy S, when the Galaxy S4 arrived. The price jumped $50 at Sprint and Verizon and we saw AT&T put out feelers for a price increase before dropping it to $199. We don’t anticipate any kind of a change with the iPhone 5S.

Apple and the various carriers that carry the iPhone 5S will likely start its price at $199.99 just like carriers did with the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4. This is the sweet spot for flagship smartphone and it’s unlikely to change with the iPhone 5S.

Look for the iPhone 5 to drop down to $99.

No Wireless Charging

Add wireless charging to the Samsung Galaxy S4 with a new back, rumored for an April release with a $50 price.

The Galaxy S4 features wireless charging. We don’t think the iPhone 5S will.

Many prospective iPhone buyers want wireless charging on their iPhone. And with phones like the Droid DNA and Nexus 4 coming with built-in wireless charging, there is certainly a possibility that Apple will offer it at some point with its phones. We just don’t see it happening with the iPhone 5S.

Like LTE and a larger screen, we believe Apple will wait until improvements are made to wireless charging before adopting it with the iPhone. Right now, despite having the ability, phones charge relatively slowly when charged without wires.

More likely, the iPhone 6 will be the device that boasts these capabilities.

128GB

Apple surprised when it announced a new 128GB iPad 4, a device that doubles the amount of storage space of the company’s previously largest storage option. And while rumors have been adamant about a possible iPhone with 128GB of storage, there have only been a few signs pointing to a 128GB iPhone 5S.

Still, we think that this will finally be the year that Apple offers a massive storage option to those that are looking for one. The emergence of an iPad 4 128GB is a sign but more so is the fact that larger MP camera is likely on the way. Photos and video take up much of the storage for iPhone owners and the quality increasing, so are the size of the files.

With no expandable storage, that means that owners are stuck with the internal storage and iCloud. And while iCloud is efficient for some, others simply just want to have the on board breathing room. Apple loves to appease its customers and this would certainly do that.

We see a 128GB price at $499.99 rather than replacing the smaller 16GB at $199.99.

1 Comment

  1. sarah

    07/16/2013 at 9:26 pm

    wow this article was an awesome read!! ur predictations r very reasonable and well informed. unlike other sites. good job :):):)

    this article has made me 10 times more xcited than wat i alredy was. i simply just cant wait anymore the suspense is killing me. apple have done soooo well keeping us in the dark but i have 2 admit its an amazing feeling wen ur waiting 4 sumthing u love this much.

    im counting down evry minute until the best phone the iphone 5s comes out. it will b no doubt the best phone on this planet. i cant b disappointed becoz a new iphone alone is exciting. all other features will be truly just a bonus! thats my opinion :):):) APPLE 4EVER peace

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