Friday, April 5, 2013

iPhone 5s and iPhone 6: release date, iOS 7,rumors,prices and more...

Apple will revamp its iPhone lineup early this summer with the iPhone 5S, and perhaps again before the year is done with the iPhone 6. The release date of the former is on track for June, and should arrive alongside the new iOS 7 operating system. Apple originally released new iPhones each summer, but that shifted to the fall in 2011 and again in 2012. That makes Apple’s iPhone update calendar less predictable going forward, which in turn creates more variables when it comes to predicting the features of each new model. And after years of a consistent iPhone pricing matrix, recent carrier changes threaten to throw price points for a loop as well. With rumors flying but relatively little in the way of confirmation, what can you expect when the iPhone 5S lands early this summer and the iPhone 6 arrives sometime thereafter?

Pricing has a number of variables. Normally when a new iPhone arrives it takes the top pricing slot while the two previous models move down the line. That would place the iPhone 5S at $199 (and up, for higher capacities) with the iPhone 5 falling to $99 and the iPhone 4S dropping to $0 with contract. When the iPhone 6 arrives it would take the $199 perch and the 5S would fall to $99. Two factors may impact this. One is the fact that T-Mobile is about to begin the iPhone 5 with a $99 price tag. Buyers will still pay $199 total, but the extra $100 will be spread out across two years of add-ons to the monthly bill. So the price hasn’t changed, but public pricing perception will. The second is that Samsung is selling its new Galaxy S4 for $249. This price increase for the iPhone’s biggest competitor could prompt Apple to introduce the iPhone 5S and 6 at higher prices as well, or Appel could simply keep the $199 mark and play up its pricing advantage. Most likely, iPhone pricing will remain the same.

Features are another matter. Apple has shown us that “S” models tend to be nearly identical to their predecessor on the outside, but with more powerful hardware on the inside and a major new software feature or two tacked on. That makes the form factor of the iPhone 5S predictable (same as the 5) and its specs guessable enough: a quad core A7 processor, and a camera with more megapixels. What’s less apparent is what new headline feature the 5S will arrive with. The 4S brought Siri. The 5S could bring anything, and the rumor department has not yet been helpful in this area. The iPhone 6 arrive with an entirely new form factor of some kind to distinguish it from the 5 and 5S. One rumor, from the U.S. Patent Office no less, has the iPhone 6 featuring a curved display which wraps around to the rear of the device in a new user interface twist. Another from the WSJ has the iPhone 6 coming in several color choices, which would be a first for an iPhone.

Apple has made no statements yet on iOS 7, its next generation mobile operating system. But it typically introduces a developer beta test version in the spring or summer, followed by a finalized version on the new iPhone in the summer or fall. The arrival of the iPhone 5S in the summer points to iOS 7 being in the hands of developers by the end of this month. There has been some minor buzz from a few sources that iOS 7 has been delayed, which would mean that the iPhone 5S would arrive with some variant of the current iOS 6, and that iOS 7 might not arrive until the iPhone 6.

Finally, the release date of each of the new upcoming iPhones is a matter of widespread discussion. The iPhone 5S appears to be nearly a lock for June based on reliable sources, but the iPhone 6 is another matter. Some expect it to arrive alongside the 5S, which would see Apple turning over its entire iPhone lineup in a nine month span. Others expect the iPhone 6 to land around October with iOS 7, in time for the holiday season. More conservative expectations place it in early 2014, making the 5S the only new iPhone to arrive in 2013.

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