iPhone 5S Rumors and Features List: What to Expect

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The countdown to the next-generation iPhone continues. It’s now been over seven months since Apple introduced its last iPhone, and the rumor mill is beginning to heat up. Over the past few weeks, and even months, we’ve heard a lot of speculation about what to expect from the so-called “iPhone 5S” handset. We thought it would be convenient to recap all of the rumors in one, tidy list, which you’ll find ahead. 

Improved Cameras

Camera-AppIn late March, it was vaguely reported by infamous Taiwanese supply chain source DigiTimes that the next-generation iPhone will have improved camera modules. While this publication might not have the best track record, the rumor does make sense.

Based on those claims, we would presume that both the front- and rear-facing cameras will be in store for upgrades. What we’ve heard about the rear-facing camera in particular is that it will be 12-megapixels with improved night shooting. Comparatively, the iPhone 5 has an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera.

Improved Processor

As you would expect, the next iPhone model is also expected to be powered by an improved processor. We loop back to DigiTimes yet again for this rumor, which cites its usual upstream supply chain sources in reporting that the forthcoming iPhone will have a “higher-end” processor.

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An image surfaced last week of a purported Apple A7 processor, but the leak has since been labeled as fake. We also heard that a future low-priced iPhone could pack a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. On the subject of a budget iPhone, we’ve also heard it will come in multiple colors and could have this polycarbonate rear shell.

fingerprint scannerFingerprint Scanner

The alleged flagship feature of the so-called “iPhone 5S” could be a fingerprint scanner, much like Siri headlined the iPhone 4S. Apple acquired security firm AuthenTec for a staggering $356 million back in July 2012, a firm known for fingerprint sensors, touchchips and security technologies. A number of reports do confirm that fingerprint recognition technology is headed to the iPhone.

Color iPhoneMyriad of Colors

At the beginning of the year, Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White claimed that Apple will provide consumers with greater choices for the next-generation iPhone, making the handset available in multiple colors and screen sizes.

According to White, the so-called “iPhone 5S” will be offered in pink, yellow and blue alongside the traditional black and slate and white and silver two-tone color options. Moreover, another rumor claims the next iPhone will be offered in a dozen color choices.

Larger Screen Size

iPhone-5-ScreenAs mentioned above, at least one analyst has already called for the next iPhone to have a larger screen size. Apple already bumped the iPhone 5 up to a 4-inch display, breaking the trend of five consecutive models of its smartphone having 3.5-inch displays, but could stretch that number even larger to compete with the likes of Samsung and HTC.

One display size that has been tossed around by Apple pundits is 4.3-inches, but the Cupertino-based corporation would have to ensure that app compatibility remains fluid with that larger screen. App Store developers were already forced to optimize their apps to take advantage of the iPhone 5′s taller 4-inch display, as older iPhone apps have wasted black space on the top and bottom of the screen.

NFC, USB 3.0 Support and Improved Battery Life

The next-generation iPhone could have a boost in connectivity, gaining both Near Field Communication (NFC) and USB 3.0 support. The new Lightning connector is believed to be capable of USB 3.0 speeds, but iOS devices aren’t optimized for that yet. But, a rumor dating back to February claims that could change soon.

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Considering that the flagship MacBook Pro with Retina display has USB 3.0 ports, it would make sense for Apple to bring USB 3.0 support to the iPhone and even iPad and iPod touch. As far as NFC goes, we heard about that last December from analyst Peter Misek. It would make sense for Apple to implement the functionality, because of both its Passbook app and simply because the Galaxy S4 has it. Misek also briefly noted that the next iPhone would have better battery life.

Same Physical Design

iphone-5-frontApple usually gives the iPhone a cosmetic makeover with every second new model it launches, meaning that the purported “iPhone 5S” should retain the same physical design as the iPhone 5. After all, that’s what happened with the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S respectively.

It’s important to note that none of these rumored features have any concrete evidence behind them, and most come from hit-and-miss analysts or other sources. As with all speculation, we cannot guarantee the factualness of these purported features and only share them in the interest of discussion.

iOS 7

The greatest feature of the iPhone 5S might not even have anything to do with the hardware at all, but rather the software. Apple has huge expectations to fill with iOS 7, as consumers have set very high hopes for the seventh major version of the iPhone software, especially with the departure of former iOS head Scott Forstall last October.

The highly-connected John Gruber of Daring Fireball has previously claimed that iOS 7 will be a “major overhaul,” a big enough change that Apple has reportedly had to delay the unveiling of the software and pull engineers from OS X 10.9 to work on the update. Most of what we hear is centered upon iOS 7 having a minimalistic, flat design with less skeuomorphism.

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