The 8 People Who Have Already Seen the iPhone 5S

At least 8 people outside of Apple’s testing facility likely know what the iPhone 5S looks like. They also know what new iPhone 5S features Apple will announce later this year, and members of this select group may even already know what the iWatch looks like.

This special group is Apple’s board of directors, including former vice president Al Gore, and Disney President Robert A. Iger. According to a recent talk by Arthur D. Levinson, the current chairman of the board, the members of the board see new Apple products long before the public.

Speaking to the Stanford Graduate School of Business Levinson shared the board of director’s role in new products, as reported by Fortune:

New products are presented to the board between 6 to 18 months prior to launch. If presented early enough, some board insights are taken into account, and those on the board with expertise in certain product areas may have more influence

With this in mind, and a rumored iPhone 5S release this summer, it is very likely that Al Gore and other members of the board know if the iPhone 5S will arrive with multiple iPod touch color options, or if a fingerprint reader is built-in to the iPhone 5S.

iPhone 5S render

The iPhone 5S render from Martin Hajek shows what the iPhone 5S mighty look like.

Back in 2011 Al Gore let slip the iPhone release date of October while talking at the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit. With any luck Al Gore will let the iPhone 5S release date slip while speaking at SXSW next month.

Read: 5 Best iPhone 5S Rumors So Far.

Just don’t expect the board of directors to have any say in the iPhone 5S. Levinson said, “The board is not there to define product specs,” rather, “It’s there as a sounding board.”

As AppleInsider points out, Steve Jobs mentioned that one of the board members planned to use the iPod nano as a watch when the new model launched in 2010, and shortly after that a plethora of watch accessories came to market. If Apple really is working on an iWatch, the board might already be offering input. Board member Millard Drexel is the CEO of J. Crew, and appears to be the only board member with “expertise” in fashion and watches.

iPhone 5S rumors point to a slightly updated iPhone with the same basic design and the same 4-inch display. There are hints that Apple could offer iPod touch like color options and a fingerprint reader as well. The latest iPhone 5S release rumors point to a summer release, even though Apple launched the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 in the fall.

Additional rumors claim Apple has over 100 employees working on an Apple watch, which some are calling the iWatch. The video below highlights some of the rumored iWatch features.

No matter what Apple has planned for the next iPhone, an iWatch or the iPad lineup, these are the people who know what’s coming to Apple Stores in 2013.