Apple has established a familiar pattern with its iPhone releases. Redesigned model (iPhone 3G, 4, 5), followed by a physically-identical spec bump/new software model (iPhone 3GS, 4S). So, unless the company shakes things up, we’ll be seeing an iPhone 5S in 2013. An analyst with a proven track record has some supposed details about the expected new iPhone.
Update: It wasn't June or July, but the iPhone 5S – with its Touch ID fingerprint sensor – is now official.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities today reiterated his earlier prediction about Apple’s 2013 iPhone plans. He still believes that the iPhone 5S will arrive in June or July, complete with fingerprint sensing technology.
Kuo believes that the fingerprint chip will live beneath the iPhone’s home button, “improving security and usability.” Apple bought AuthenTec, a company that specializes in fingerprint-based security, last July.
Other alleged details for the 5S include an Apple A7 chip, and a “Smart Flash” for the camera (it supposedly improves photo quality by using a white or yellow flash, depending on conditions).
China-bound budget iPhone
The analyst also (still) believes that Apple will release the 5S alongside the fabled "budget iPhone" – which he sees as a remodeled iPhone 5. It would be thicker and heavier than the current iPhone 5 (and iPhone 5S), made of fiberglass and plastic, and sold in multiple colors. He expects it to sell between US$350-450 off-contract.
Kuo sees both new iPhones supporting the time-division duplexing (TDD) standard used by China Mobile, paving the way for the iPhone’s arrival on the world's largest carrier. Smartphones are typically sold off-contract in China, so the budget model would be primed to infest that market.
Both new iPhones would – like the iPhone 5 – be LTE-capable.
Kuo also mentions the release of iOS 7 alongside the new iPhones. That's a no-brainer (new versions of iOS have always accompanied new iPhones), but we may soon find out if his June/July estimate is sound. Apple typically announces new versions of iOS (and releases beta versions for developers) 3-4 months before the release of a new iPhone.
If Kuo’s prediction is spot-on – and Apple stays with the same pattern – then the company would preview iOS 7 sometime in March or April.