Less than four months ago, Apple both announced and released its latest iPhone, the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 replaced the iPhone 4S, a device that Apple released back in 2011. At some point in the future, the iPhone 5 will also be replaced another next-gen iPhone and already there are rumors swirling around about its successor, currently dubbed the iPhone 5S.
It’s not even 2013 yet and already the iPhone 5S rumor mill is churning. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen potential iPhone 5S details leak out alongside rumored flagship devices from Samsung and HTC in the form of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC M7. Both devices look like they will be two of the iPhone’s over the course of the next year.
The fact that the iPhone rumor mill is already spinning should not come as a surprise. Last year, the iPhone 5 was rumored to be out with a new design and a fall release date in December as well. So while it may seem like it’s a little early to be hearing about the next iPhone, it’s not. In fact, the rumors have arrived right on time.
And there are rumors aplenty. The iPhone 5S already has potential launch dates, release dates, features and more attached to it, something that should irk iPhone 5 owners but excite those with an iPhone 4S who are still on contract waiting for the next-generation model to roll out.
So what has been said about the iPhone 5S thus far? Here, we take a close look at everything we know so far about the Apple iPhone 5S release date, features, software, and more.
iPhone 5S Release Date
So far, there are two schools of thought when it comes to the iPhone 5S release date. The first is that it will be coming out at some point during the middle of 2012. Some of the first iPhone 5S rumors claimed that Apple would be announcing and releasing the iPhone 5 in the middle of 2013 which would likely mean an unveiling at WWDC 2013 in June and a release date a few weeks afterward.
That notion was backed up with a note from Jefferies analyst Peter Misek who says that Apple will indeed be releasing the iPhone 5 in June. Analysts are hit or miss with this kind of information but a summer release date is not beyond the realm of possibility.
Apple has already proven that it’s willing to ditch cycle times with the release of the fourth-generation iPad less than a year after it released the iPad 3, so a release before the iPhone 5’s year mark is very possible.
The other possibility is that Apple follows protocol and releases the iPhone 5S sometime in the fall of 2013 like it has with the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5. September or October would be the likely release months if Apple were to pass on releasing the phone this summer, as is rumored.
iPhone 5S Form Factor
Thus far, there has only been one potential clue to the form factor that Apple might use with its iPhone 5S. An alleged image from ETradeSupply leaked out earlier this month depicting what may be the back shell of the next-generation iPhone. If it’s the real deal, the next iPhone might look very similar to the iPhone 5 that was released back in September and which features a design that uses glass, metal and an iodized aluminum backing.
If true, it wouldn’t be shocking as Apple generally releases the ‘S’ versions of the iPhone with a similar design, rather than changing it up completely. Case in point, the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S designs which all mirrored each other. With the iPhone 4S, we saw Apple introduce a new antenna system but the overall look of the phone did not change.
Peter Misek claims that Apple may be releasing different colored iPhone 5S’, much like Apple does with the iPod touch, instead of the usual black and white variants. If that’s true, it could end up being the biggest cosmetic change that we see in the next iPhone.
iPhone 5S Screen
If Apple keeps the same form factor, Apple will likely keep the same 4-inch display that the iPhone 5 currently sports. However, Apple is rumored to potentially be bumping up the resolution of the iPhone 5S display to keep up with the competition.
Last month, Verizon released the Droid DNA by HTC which offers a full HD 1080p display with 440 pixels-per-inch. The screen looks gorgeous and the technology will likely dominate the Android landscape next year. Both the Galaxy S4 and the HTC M7 are rumored to be launching with full HD 1080p displays.
To combat this, Misek believes that Apple may release a Retina+ display with Sharp IZGO technology. There was no elaboration on the pixels-per-inch or the resolution but it could be that it checks in at 367 ppi with 720P or 550 ppi with a 1080P resolution. It could also be that Apple waits for the iPhone 6 to introduce a completely overhauled display.
The company proved that it won’t rush to add features just to compete with the competition. For example, it kept the size of the iPhone 4S display at 3.5-inches, even while Android phones were sporting much larger displays.
iPhone 5S Specs
In addition to the form factor and the screen, there are several other rumors out there in regards to the other possible specifications that could be on board the iPhone 5S when it arrives next year.
One of those rumors is that it will have a Super HD camera on the rear, improving upon the already fantastic rear camera that comes with the iPhone 5. It’s unclear exactly what this new camera might bring along with it but it could be that we see some pixel oversampling similar to the Nokia PureView technology which would produce better photos without having to increase the mega-pixel count.
Another rumored feature is the oft-rumored 128GB of storage space. This is something that has been brought up in the past, only to be squashed on launch day. With the iPhone 5S, it could become a reality as Apple has increased the largest capacity iPhone every two generations.
With app sizes increasing and the need for more storage becoming necessity, Apple could add a 128GB iPhone 5S to its lineup in addition to its three other models or do away with the 16GB model like it did with the iPod touch.
Other specifications remain unclear though with every next-gen iPhone, Apple increases the power of the hardware. That could mean a faster, more-powerful processor, more RAM, better microphones or even improved speakers.
Consumers should also expect the device to feature 4G LTE and now that T-Mobile has announced that it will carry the iPhone next year, a launch on all four major U.S. carriers.
iPhone 5S Software
The iPhone 5S will almost assuredly be running iOS 7 if and when it arrives next year. iOS 7 will presumably be the successor to iOS 6, the current mobile operating system for Apple’s devices and one that very well could be its biggest overhaul of the iOS operating system yet.
Earlier this year, after the release of iOS 6 and the poor reception to Apple’s new Maps application, iOS Chief Scott Forstall was replaced by OS X head Craig Federighi and Eddy Cue who will now oversee Siri and Maps. Jony Ive will also now lead the team responsible for the Human Interface (a.k.a. User Interface) across Apple.
So, now that new faces are dotting the iOS landscape, we could finally see some dramatic changes to the look of iOS in addition to the usual assortment of new features that populate every new iOS version.
What those features are though remains to be seen and could remain in the shadows all the way up until WWDC 2013 in June.
iPhone 5S Price
There are currently no rumors about the price of the iPhone 5S though Apple has stayed consistent with the pricing of the iPhone in the past couple of years. Current pricing has the iPhone 5 starting at $199.99 for a 16GB model and going all the way up to 64GB for $399.99. There have been rumors in the past suggesting Apple might change its pricing model but thus far, they haven’t panned out.
In the build up the iPhone 5S release date, there may be rumors about the iPhone 5S price, but at this point, there is no reason to think that Apple will change up the pricing of the iPhone with the iPhone 5S.