For months, we've been talking about two different successors to the iPhone 5, including a true sequel with all the bells and whistles — the iPhone 5S — and an all-new design said to aim specifically at emerging and lower-income global markets like India and China. But to build this cheaper, more affordable "iPhone 6," one analyst believes Apple will release the phone without a Retina display.
Continuing the legacy of rumours related to Apple products, speculations surrounding the next iPhone iteration, amusingly dubbed the “iPhone 5S,” started gaining traction hardly a couple of months after the release of the iPhone 5, the latest model of the company’s flagship smartphone.
“The iPhone 5 is just too successful to make it obsolete in just a half a year,” wrote Michael Nace of the iPhone 5 News Blog. “Sure, Apple did just do that with the iPad 4, replacing the ‘New iPad’ in well less than a year. But the iPhone is Apple’s flagship device, and given the amount of new design and engineering put into the iPhone 5, Apple will certainly want to ride it for longer than just 5 or 6 months.”
However, according to Nace, while Q1 2013 release of the iPhone 5S might not be materialized, the 2013 WWDC launch for the device does have a possibility. He pointed to a recent report by Product Reviews that was apparently betting on the annual developer conference in June.
Apple seems to working on launching multiple new phones in the June/July 2013 time-frame. The rumours suggest that Apple will launch the iPhone 5S and a more affordable but lower-income iPhone at the same time, in either late Q2 or Q3.
The low-end iPhone will have the same 4 inch form factor as the iPhone 5 but will have plastic casing and no retina display.
With a lower price-point Apple will be able to target a growing and important part of the Smartphone market in the sub-$400 price-range.
China is the biggest new market for Apple at this moment: The company is reportedly trying to strike a deal in 2013 with China Mobile , the largest telecommunications carrier in the world with 703 million active subscribers, to build a TD-LTE version of the iPhone 5 to work on the carrier’s high-speed networks.
Apple CEO Tim Cook even visited China Mobile headquarters on Jan. 10 to meet with company Chairman Xi Guohua to discuss their products. The Samsung Galaxy S4 will release on TD-LTE this year, which presents an enormous opportunity for Samsung if it can release its popular smartphone unopposed by Apple. So Apple has to step up to the plate.
Considering Apple’s urgency to strike a deal with China Mobile, as well as the growing competition to be compatible with China's most popular carrier, it’s likely we could see Apple release both the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 this year in an attempt to dominate the growing markets in Asia.
Several analysts have said the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 will both be released simultaneously in 2013
It would make little sense for Apple to introduce an inferior display in the iPhone 6. Even the iPhone 4, which is currently available for free in the U.S. (with a two-year contract), features a Retina display.
If Apple wants to lower prices, reducing the screen density won't make much of a difference in overall cost. Instead, it's been reported that Apple will build the phone with different materials, opting for a "hybrid casing of fiberglass and plastic" that makes it lighter and slimmer than most plastic-encased smartphones.
Analysts believe the iPhone 6 will still be heavier than the iPhone 5S, which will reportedly be cased in aluminum and released around the same time.
Recently Apple officially told developers that all apps submitted to the App Store must support the Retina display resolution (326 ppi) and 4-inch screen size of the iPhone 5 and fifth-generation iPod touch starting May 1. If all developers are being forced to scale their apps to the new screen size in May, Apple will likely make a big iPhone and/or iOS-related announcement soon after — most likely at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June.
Apple is facing stiffening competition from its rivals at Samsung Electronics, Google, and even Microsoft.
The Galaxy S4, which looks to be the biggest competition for the iPhone in 2013. Apple will need to put up a big fight if it hopes to maintain customer interest in a tightening marketplace.
With the advent of cheaper, smaller, and more power-efficient chipsets, Apple can certainly afford to build an entry-level smartphone in addition to its current iPhone 5 (or 5S) — either making it larger, like the Samsung Galaxy S3, or possibly a smaller iPhone Nano — to appeal to consumers who can’t quite afford Apple’s most popular product, including many in China.
Apple offers a 4-inch screen on the iPhone 5 and a 3.5-inch screen on the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4. Apple has never offered multiple screen sizes for a single model. This may be about to change with the next iPhone.
The budget iPhone will look a lot like an iPhone 5 from the front, an iPod classic from the side, and an iPod touch 5G on the bottom — only made from plastic rather than glass or metal.
The next iPhone will feature a processor increase — possibly an Apple-built A7 chip — as well as improvements to the camera and flash, integrating a new aperture and 13-megapixel lens.
Apple will most likely feature Sharp's ultrathin IGZO display technology in its next iPhone — the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, or both.
The IGZO display is not only thin and tough, but also can handle even higher screen densities than Apple’s Retina display, which is visually stunning on its own. IGZO displays can reportedly handle display densities over 330 ppi. The new iPad 4 can only achieve 264 ppi.
One of the advantages of IGZO display technology is its lower power consumption. Most Apple products, from the iPhone 5 to the iPad 4, require big batteries to achieve just eight hours of power — this is because current Retina displays are extremely power-hungry.
If Apple wanted its iPhone 6 not only to last longer during the day but also to charge faster when plugged in, IGZO seems to be the way to go for the next generation of iOS devices.