Back then, when Apple still had the luxury of releasing one new product a year and enjoyed an almost-exclusive hold on the smartphone market, the directions that the iPhone would evolve were arguably a lot easier to interpret. The key difference today, as even an avid iPhone user may be inclined to admit, is that the Cupertino giant is no longer the “same” company that it once was. Even with a record-breaking 17.7M 4Q sales in the US, analysts have been keen to refer to the iPhone’s waning popularity, the lingering threats of competitors such as Samsung (which beat Apple in terms of its overall 2012 smartphone sales and market share), and most important, the innovative slump observed in various of the Cupertino company’s recent products.
Regardless to say, the aforementioned trends are legitimate enough reasons to prompt Apple into spicing up its existing production cycles. If CEO Tim Cook’s recent comments on amassing additional market share and hints on making the iPhone more affordable are indeed serious, chances are good that consumers will be able to witness multiple Apple smartphones this year. Based on what various sources—including Trendinsider’s—are saying, the new iPhone models are likely to fall into three major categories, as listed below:
4-inch high-end model
The first and perhaps most discussed new iPhone model is currently being referred to as the “iPhone 5S.” Rumors and speculations, as of this moment, indicate that the handset will sport a similar design to the current iPhone 5, but introduce additional features such as NFC functionality, a possible 13 MP camera, a stronger, more sensitive touch display, and a more advanced processor. The 8GB, 16GB, and 64GB models, according to Trendinsider’s sources, will be released at some time around June, whereas a larger, 128GB version is expected to follow shortly afterwards. Given Apple’s tendency to double the iPhone’s max capacity following the release of every successive “S” model, it makes sense that the“5S” to be the first 128GB iPhone to show up on the market.
4-inch mid-end model
Speculations of the “cheaper,” “low-cost” iPhone model have gained major steam following Cook and Phil Schiller’s trips to China and the company’s newfound interest in emerging markets. As the model is allegedly being geared towards a more cost-conscious audience, materials such as plastic casings are speculated to be utilized, whereas the storage option is expected to be limited to 16GB and 32GB. TrendInsider’s sources have made the additional claim that the phone will likely be priced at approximately $500 USD or under, and that the launch date will be around the same time as the 5S’s release. It remains to be seen if the “low cost” iPhone will utilize retina display or opt for the same resolution as the iPhone 3GS.
4.9-inch high-end model
The large iPhone –currently known by names like “iPhone math,” “iPhone +,” and “iPhone 6”— is more likely than not the “revamped” model speculated for an October release. Similar to the 5S, the handset is expected to be equipped with a much more capable chip (rumored to be the quad core A7 processor), around 2GB of Mobile DRAM, 13MP camera, and NFC. One interesting theory about the 4.9-inch iPhone is that Apple may choose to apply the same display panels that were used for the retina display iPad. As stated by notable blogger John Gruber, this would be similar to the case with the iPad mini, which in uses the same panels as the iPhone 3GS and is able to exhibit a near identical pixel density. If the iPad 4’s panels were trimmed to fit into the large iPhone, it should come with a reasonable 1136×640 resolution with around 264ppi. Below is a reference table showing the resolution/pixel measurements for various iPhone/iPad models.