So this past weekend, AllThingsD, a tech site owned by the publishers of the Wall Street Journal, posted a report that Apple plans to hold a media event on Tuesday, September 10th. The purpose? Why to introduce a new iPhone of course.
Now I normally do not give a whole lot of credence to speculation about future Apple products or launch events, unless they are actually confirmed by the company. But some media outlets have a better track record than others, and we know that AllThingsD, and WSJ for that matter, have contacts within Apple. So when they publish stories of this sort, you should probably them seriously.
In addition, The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple, who is also well connected, has an uncanny record of getting things of this sort right. In his typical terse fashion, Jim’s response to the story is, “Yep.” You can take his word to the bank, and I fully expect the event to take place as planned, unless something unfortunate occurs. Let’s leave it at that.
Instead, it’s a good time to speculate yet again what Apple might introduce four weeks from the day this commentary is being written.
So it makes sense to conclude the new flagship iPhone will be a 5S. This is in keeping with Apple’s policy of not changing form factors every single year. Yes, the iPhone 5s will be difficult, if not impossible, to tell from an iPhone 5, but there will be load of internal differences. Ranging from a more powerful processor to possibly improved power efficiencies, there’s the possibility of a fingerprint sensor. That makes perfect sense, since Apple did acquire a company, AuthenTec, which developed fingerprint scanners, back in 2012. Apple doesn’t buy technology without the expectation of using it in a future product.
Besides, fingerprint detection makes perfect sense. It’s a simple, secure way to protect your iPhone, and perhaps even an iPad, if the next version includes the same feature. Sure, I can see the conspiracy angle: If Apple is collecting your fingerprints, could someone somehow in authority get ahold of them? But this feature would be used in the same way as a password, for local identification of the device’s owner.
The other expected features are little to shout about. The iPhone 5’s eight megapixel camera will likely be upgraded to 12 megapixels; some suggest 13 megapixels. Certainly that’s enough to capture a superb photo at any reasonable size, and one expects Apple to improve lens quality, the ability to capture a good picture in low light, and the flash system. Some reports cover a twin-LED flash. That, plus software enhancements, may assure that the iPhone remains the number one source of online photos, even compared to any specific Android model.
And then there’s that other rumor about a new entry-level iPhone, referred to, variously, as the iPhone 5c, iPhone 5M or iPhone Lite. Regardless of what you call it, this is said to be a plastic-cased model in multiple colors, sporting somewhat lower specs than the iPhone 5s, and being available without a carrier contract for maybe $200 less, same as today’s iPhone 4.
Now maybe, just maybe, Apple will find a way to make it somewhat more affordable, say with a $350 purchase price. Still expensive, but free with most any carrier contract, and other carriers may offer customers the chance to pay it off over 20 or 24 months. Regardless, this could be the top-selling iPhone if it is marketed heavily, particularly in countries where the the iPhone 5s would be too much of a luxury.
As it stands, Apple is selling older models, with great success, so there’s clearly a healthy demand for something less expensive. As rumors go, this seems to be something in the “it’s a given” category. The real question would be what the final purchase price would be and, for those who care about Apple’s financial fortunes, whether Apple can make an acceptable profit. Let’s assume they will.
It’s also a given that the arrival of a new lineup of iPhones will be accompanied by the release of iOS 7. It does appear, based on published reports, that development of the new mobile OS may be in the final stages, and that it could arrive a few days before the iPhone goes on sale.
But when will that be? Well, if you follow traditional practice, the new iPhones will be available the week after the launch event, on Friday, September 20. iOS 7 will be available for download a few days earlier. Will OS X Mavericks be out at the same time? I suppose it’s possible, since both were released to developers the very same day. But that would depend on whether OS 10.9 is also now in a late development stage, and the rumor sites haven’t mentioned a final candidate release, something close to the final version — at least not yet.
Not to be outdone, Samsung will reportedly introduce yet another Galaxy smartphone a week ahead of Apple’s event. Is anyone surprised?