In less than a month we will know Apple’s latest plans. The latest rumors peg the company’s next iPhone announcement for sometime in early September, meaning that the new phones should ship before the end of the month. That makes for quite an exciting time in the tech world, and especially people anxiously waiting to upgrade their smartphones.
While you wait for September 10 — the latest iPhone announcement rumors — to cross your calendar, you can start to prepare for the new iPhone announcement now. There are a number of things to keep in mind in the weeks leading up to Apple’s big day.
1. It’s all about the software
In the early days of the iPhone, Apple made rapid advancements in smartphone hardware technology. Even the very first iPhone model was based on hardware; few touchscreens acted as swiftly. The next model, the 3G, added the all-important 3G radio for faster internet speeds. The 3GS made enormous leaps in processor speed. Then came the iPhone 4, which brought the famous retina display into the fold.
Since then, though, the iPhone upgrades have been more about software than hardware. The iPhone 4S did have hardware upgrades, but Siri, which is software, was the main new feature. The iPhone 5 did come with a larger screen, but frankly that was at least a year overdue. When Apple announced the iPhone 5 last year, the majority of its presentation centered on the new software features it added.
Earlier this year we got a sneak peak at the latest iPhone software update: iOS 7. It provides a completely new interface — one that catches Apple’s software design up to Android’s in many ways. Apple will certainly have more software announcements up its sleeve come September 10, and they will be the main draw of the new iPhone. Just don’t expect revolutionary new hardware.
2. There might be more than one
Throughout 2013 we have heard rumors about what Apple is planning for the latest iPhone announcement. After sources debunk rumor after rumor, it appears we have finally learned what Apple will release. If these latest rumors are correct, and there has been nothing to indicate otherwise, Apple will release two iPhones in September, the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C.
The 5S is pretty easy to understand. Just like the 3S and the 4S before it, the 5S will likely represent a slight physical upgrade over the previous model. That could be significant this time around, since iOS 7 will run better on the upgraded hardware. But in all reality, the iPhone 5S will be slightly upgraded, but not all that different from the iPhone 5.
The iPhone 5C is supposedly the budget model, something the iPhone has lacked since its inception. But at the same time, there has always been a budget model for the iPhone. That brings us to the next thing to keep in mind.
3. Budget friendly
Yes, the iPhone 5C is said to be a budget model, something it has never explicitly done in the past. It will involve several changes from the flagship iPhone, including a plastic casing and several colors to choose from. While that might sound great, the latest rumor makes it not that great an announcement at all.
In the past, when Apple has released a new iPhone it has immediately discounted all previous models. So when the iPhone 5 was announced last year, the base level iPhone 4S dropped from $199 to $99, and the iPhone 4 dropped from $99 to free (with a carrier upgrade). The rumor in play suggests that the iPhone 5C will replace the iPhone 5 — which really defeats the entire purpose. The iPhone 5 was going to be the budget model after the iPhone 5S announcement. Perhaps Apple thinks it will sell more with a brand new budget model, rather than using last year’s models for budget-friendly consumers?
Thankfully, it does appear that the iPhone 4S will remain an option for budget-conscious consumers. That one will likely drop to free for the 16GB model, so those who want an upgrade will do well to get it. Remember, that is the first iPhone with a dual-core processor, so it does hold up in terms of hardware, unlike its predecessor the iPhone 4.
4. No bigger screen
Despite many rumors earlier in the year, it does not appear that Apple will release an iPhone with an even larger screen this year. There have been many reasons cited for this, though the main one involves a low supply of larger screens. Certainly the smartphone market has turned towards larger screens in the past few years. Samsung in particular has had great success with them, reaping huge sales from the Galaxy S3 and S4, and the Galaxy Note series.
Chances are we will see a larger screen on the iPhone next year, when Apple announces the iPhone 6. Don’t think that it will be a full year before they announce that, either. Rumor had it that they were going to announce the iPhone 5S as early as their annual WWDC convention (where they announced iOS 7), with the larger-screen iPhone 6 announcement coming in September. With the iPhone 5S announcement now set for September, Apple could come back with the large-screen iPhone 6 as early as next May or June.
5. Take your time deciding
The big takeaway from all of this is that consumers have time to decide whether the iPhone 5S is right for them. Reviews will come out shortly after announcement, and there will be plenty of people lining up to buy them on the first day available. Yet the supply will not run out. Consumers will have time to see how the 5S, and the 5C, hold up before making any buying decisions.
Remember, too, that Samsung has been very aggressive when combating the iPhone. There is a strong rumor that Samsung will actually announce the Galaxy Note 3 a week ahead of the iPhone 5S. That will give consumers even more choices — even more still, because another rumor has Samsung releasing its smart watch a month later, perhaps shipping in conjunction with the Note 3.
It is an exciting time to follow the smartphone world. In a few weeks, consumers will have considerably more choices when buying a smartphone. In the meantime, there is plenty to keep in mind when making your smartphone decision.