On stage at WWDC 2013, Apple introduced its new operating system in iOS 7, detailing many of its new features that will pair with a new design when it arrives for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners later this year. As expected, Apple failed to announce the next iPhone, thought to be the iPhone 5S, leaving that announcement for later on this year. But what, if anything, does iOS 7 tell us about the iPhone 5S? Here, we take a look at a few possible clues.
Earlier this year, a rumor suggested that a new iPhone could be out as soon as this summer, perhaps in July to compete against the likes of the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4. However, in the buildup to WWDC 2013 in San Francisco, the rumors shifted away from the summer and placed the new iPhone on a much different release path.
Turns out, Apple did not have an iPhone 5S or iPhone 6 up its sleeve for WWDC, instead choosing to focus on software as it has done for the two previous WWDC’s.
On stage, Tim Cook and company introduced their new mobile operating system, iOS 7, which will not only bring a new design to owners of the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, but will also see revamped core applications like Weather and Calendar while also bringing in new features like AirDrop.
Apple’s new iOS software also tends to arrive with a new iPhone and thus far, all signs have pointed to a new device called the iPhone 5S, an incremental upgrade over the iPhone 5 complete with the same design, but improved hardware features to go along with its new software.
And while Apple did not announce a new iPhone 5S on stage at WWDC, it did produce what we believe to be some clues in regards to its upcoming iPhone.
iPhone 5S Release in Fall
When Tim Cook spoke on Apple’s most recent earnings call, he claimed that Apple had some big releases planned for the fall. And while many consumers might have discredited his comments prior to WWDC, he was validated by the fact that the company did not announce a new iPhone and tagged iOS 7 with a fall release date.
With an iOS 7 release planned for the fall, we now know that Apple most likely has an iPhone launch planned for the fall. Apple generally releases a new version of iOS software with a new iPhone.
Right now, rumors have suggested that the company will announce the new iPhone 5S at a launch event in September which not only aligns with Apple’s fall iOS 7 release date but also with the 60 to 90 days that it takes for an iOS beta to emerge as a finalized piece of software.
Apple’s iOS 7 beta was released today for the iPhone which puts a Gold Master release somewhere into the months of August or September.
iOS 7 has introduced a boat load of new features aimed at power users and gamers including improved multitasking, a redesigned Game Center, and new game modes, to name a few. Multitasking and gaming in particular are reliant upon the processing power that is inside of a device and while the iPhone 5 sports a powerful chip, we imagine that these new features will push Apple to offer something even more powerful in its new iPhone.
Siri is also getting outfitted with a number of new functions, all of which would benefit from a processor that features and even higher performance level than the chip found in the iPhone 5.
These are, of course, just a taste of what’s to come. The iPhone 5S is also thought to have at least one unique software feature, possibly a fingerprint scanner for added security, something that could benefit from a faster processor. Even without the unique feature, it’s clear that Apple is focused on powerful software and powerful software needs a powerful processor to function seamlessly.
Rumors have suggested that the device will have either an A7 or A6X chip, the latter of which is found in the iPad 4, though at this time it’s impossible to say what it might include.
Eddy Cue came on stage and boasted about the improvements that will be coming with Siri including built-in Bing web search, the ability to query from Twitter and Wikipedia, and the ability to change the voice.
The company also silently touted something called FaceTime Voice Calls which lets users make phone calls over Apple’s service for free. The service will work over VoIP and apparently, Apple is touting the feature as being able to produce “high quality calls over a data network.”
So what does this mean for the iPhone 5S? Well, it means that the introduction of new microphones is possible. If Apple hopes for Siri to catch on further, it will need to produce better equipped microphones for accuracy. And for FaceTime Voice Calls to be useful, they will need microphones to be crisp and clear.
The iPhone 5 microphones are good, but not great, and an iPhone 5S equipped with improvements would delight those looking forward to using Siri and FaceTime voice calls.
Apple quietly announced that iOS 7 would introduce 60 frames per second video capture. It also introduced a revamped camera application that offers filters and two new modes titled Still and Square.
The upgrades point to Apple taking mobile photography very seriously, particularly when it comes to video. With this focus on improving the camera experience on the iPhone, one has to think that it will come with sensor improvements as well to fully take advantage of iOS 7′s offerings.
Rumors have suggested that it may come with a 13MP camera and given the upgrades, it’s hard to picture Apple not offering a hardware upgrade to match the software prowess.
The Samsung Galaxy S4, one of the iPhone’s biggest competitors, arrived with a number of big time sensors aboard. And while Apple’s iPhone may not have some of the features that it has, iOS 7 points to Apple potentially upgrading the sensors that it already has on board the iPhone.
One of those sensors is an accelerometer, something that in iOS 7, may be in use quite a bit more than it was in previous versions. One example is turn-by-turn walking which will be added to Maps, an app that already heavily relies on the accelerometer.
Another example is Apple’s new approach to translucency which the company says will show a shift in layers when a device is tilted. Both of these features need a highly accurate accelerometer and could lead to Apple putting an improved one inside the iPhone 5S.
802.11ac is a networking standard for wireless devices like smartphones and laptops. And while the iPhone 5 did not arrive with this standard, given that Apple has bestowed it upon its new MacBook Air models and claims will enable internet speeds that are three times faster.
So why would it include support on the iPhone 5S? Well, given that it has revamped Safari, introduced improved gaming, and maybe most telling of all, introduced AirDrop sharing amongst friends, faster networking speeds are greatly needed on a device like the iPhone 5S.
Good Battery Life
iOS 7 is going to be coming with a host of new powerful features, features that are sure to suck up a lot of battery life: FaceTime Voice Calls over LTE, automatic app updates, more powerful notifications and multitasking, and an improved Game Center, just to name a few. VoiP calls, multitasking apps and gaming all suck up a ton of battery life and given the battery improvements that Apple announced with the new OS X Mavericks, we imagine that we will see good battery life in the iPhone 5S.
One clue is via Apple’s description of its Multitasking, saying:
iOS schedules updates during power-efficient times. Like when your device is on and connected to Wi-Fi. So your battery isn’t drained unnecessarily.
So while it may not attach a larger battery inside the iPhone 5S, know that Apple is keen on keeping battery drain to a minimum and given that the iPhone 5 sports some of the best 4G LTE battery life around, we could see an iPhone 5S sport similar, if not better battery life when it arrives.
One of the major announcements of the show was iTunes Radio, a new radio service that allows users to stream music from their favorite radio stations. Apple also introduced a revamped Music application that is heavily featured in the software’s new Control Center.
With these advancements in music-related software, coupled with the introduction of FaceTime Voice Calls and improvements to things like gaming, it’s likely that Apple could tweak or replace the speakers in the iPhone 5S to better match up with its software offerings.
With competitors like the HTC One offering big time speakers to match software features, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Apple introduce some better sounding speakers with the iPhone 5S.