Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Rumors: Apple's newest batch of iPhones

Can you hear them?  The people already starting to line up at Apple stores across the world...

It's getting close to early September so you know what that means kids, iPHONES!  Yes, every late summer/early Fall in September Apple holds a media event going all the way back to 2007 where they announce the newest iteration of the iPhone.  This year is a little different as there is the release of the iPhone 5s (still unrevealed name) and the rumored iPhone 5C (still unrevealed name).  Below are the mashings of the different rumors that have appeared here and there that seem to be the most credible.

iPhone 5s 

Just like the iPhone 4 that was released back in 2010 had a sister follow up with the 4s in 2011, the iPhone 5 (released 2012) will have a similar follow up in September.  It's speculation that the 5s will be called that as the 4s was given an "s" moniker because it was the first time an iPhone came with Siri, that somewhat lovable e-personal assistant to help you keep track of your dailies.  Like the 4s, the 5s will supposedly keep the same dimensions as the iPhone 5, so no worries on your current cases and screen protectors, but upgrades might come in the form of the internal hardware.  Some of the more credible rumors are it will come with a dual LED flash on the back for better low light photography while using the flash, a 10 megapixel camera (up from 8)  with the same software enhancements as the iPhone 5, an upgraded A7 processor (up from A6), Apple's new operating system for the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch iOS 7, and a bio-metric fingerprint identification scanner on the home button for improved phone security.

The fingerprint scanner seems to be the biggest wild card out of all the rumored updated specs as it seems a very interesting and expensive concept to bring to the iPhone, but it has already been available for the Motorola Atrix 4G on AT&T back in 2011.  Supposedly the home button looks different as the small square in the center of the traditional iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch home button is gone to allow this to happen.  That will be one of the two differences physically where someone will be able to tell the difference between the iPhone 5 and 5s (also the back with the dual LED flash as opposed to the single).  I do think this is going to happen at some point since Apple did buy up AuthenTec last year for $356 million dollars in cash and stock options so its more a question of when and will it be on the higher priced iPhones (32GB or 64GB internal storage) and not the base model 16GB.  One thing I do know for sure, if this does happen, companies like Otterbox and Lifeproof are going to have to re-think and design their current cases for the iPhone 5 to work with the 5s bio-metric fingerprint scanner on the home button.

Otterbox and Lifeproof have built a product on a reputation that your phone is incased so much that your finger never actually touches the home button.  You press down on the case where they have a duplicate home button that depressed the actual home button on the phone INSIDE the case.  Since your finger will never touch the bio-metric sensors in the newer 5s home button, using the fingerprint scanning hardware and software becomes null and void.  Something to think about if you are due for an upgrade around the time of the 5s but work or live a life that means a Otterbox or Lifeproof case is mandatory.

Another design rumor that is going around recently is a new color to choose from for the iPhone 5s, gold.  People are saying gold but from the factory leaked pictures, it looks more like a champagne.  If this rumor is correct then you will get your choice of black/slate, silver/white, and champagne/white(?).  People are speculating that the reason for the "gold" color is that in some regions of the world where the smartphone industry is exploding (Asia and Southeast Asia, India, Africa, and the Middle East), gold is a sough after color to show off ones status and wealth.  They emerging markets for products are important to get in on the ground floor for businesses and smartphone sales are no exception.

iPhone 5C

"C" stands for color.  This is the growing wild card that more techies are interested this year than the 5s.  Why? Because when you think of the iPhone, it has always been a finely designed and crafted phone (especially the 5 made from aluminum) but the 5C will be made of plastic.  It will supposedly come in multiple colors (see below) and have lower hardware specifications than the 5s and maybe even the 5.  The two rumors for a lower end iPhone are: Apple is losing badly in emerging markets like Africa, China, India, etc. and established markets like Europe where there are no carrier subsides for iphones to cost only $200 but pay for them outright at $700 to $1000 for an iPhone.  Manufacturers of Android (Google's operating system) phones sell their phones at at $300 to $500 with no carrier subsidies.  So you can see why Android is more popular around the world as an operating system on smartphones since the phones come at almost half the price.  There are some smartphones in China that are selling for less than $150 dollars brand new in box.  Its in the emerging markets that Apple is being beat badly due to price points.

The second rumor is that the 4s will no longer cese to exist and that it will now be (from top to bottom) the 5s, 5, then the 5C.  Since Apple changed the way the connecting cable plugged in to the iPhone last year going form a bigger and wider 30 pin connector down to a very small (size of a microUSB connector) Lightning connection, Apple has been wanting to get distance themselves with the old connector.  They even went so far as to release a new iPad 4 this year only months after the release of the iPad 3, just to give it a lightning connector and threw in a upgraded processor that the average electronic consumer could never tell the difference from compared to the iPad 3.  So come September, it will be (using the base model 16GB) the 5s at $199 on contract, 5 at $99 on contract, and the 5C either $49 or free on contract when you go to upgrade your phone.  The 4s will be believed to be taken out of rotation like the current 3G on AT&T is and be left for people to trade on third hand websites like Craigslist, eBay, Swappa, etc.

As I stated before, the rumor is this will be a lower end iPhone so it will not have that premium hardware that most have come to know Apple for.  It will be a single case "uni-body" of plastic so no removable battery, a 5 or 8 megapixel camera with a single LED flash hopefully capable of taking 1080p videos since the 4s was did too, front facing 1.2 megapixel camera that can take 720p video (4s did as well), 5 inch retina display, slower processor being a A5 but possibly the same as the iPhone 5 with a A6 processor, and less RAM at 512mb (same as the 4s) instead of 1GB like the 5.  The rumors for the hardware specs are the hardest to nail down as most of the leaked photos of the iPhone 5C only show the casing and not the screen or internals of the phone.  One thing most people are confident saying is just like the 5s, the 5C will have Apple's newest operating system software, iOS7 which iPhone 5 users will get an update to as well.


So which iPhone appeals to you the most? The "premium feel" high end iPhone 5s or the inexpensive mid-range iPhone 5C. Or is the latest and greatest not that important but you still like the high end design of last year's iPhone 5?  Whatever phone seems the more appealing just remember that the smartphone that is best for you is the one that does what you want it to, no matter if it is an iPhone or an Android smartphone, or how old it is.  If it works and still does everything you need it to do, then it is still the right phone for you.

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