Despite being a no-show at the recent Mobile World Congress, there’s little doubt in people’s minds that Apple will have a lot of surprises ready by Q3 and Q4 of 2013. Rumors of the new iPhone models, iPad, and iWatch have each gained respectable momentum last year, and grew stronger as Apple CEO Tim Cook repeatedly reaffirmed his company’s commitment to innovation. In order to keep track of where the Cupertino giant may currently be headed with its various product lines, here are a few “status” updates to the Apple devices that have been discussed as of late:
iPhone 5S Production and Release Date
Speculation surrounding the iPhone 5S intensified this week as various reports claimed that the handset is in production and expected to be released at some point during August. While likely to largely resemble the iPhone 5 in terms of design, KGI Securities’s Ming Chi Kuo reassured in a recent report that the 5S model will feature improved camera capabilities (using smart LED flash), include fingerprint sensing technology, showcase Apple’s A7 processor, and run on iOS 7.
The rumored “budget” iPhone, which garnered a lot of attention following the rise of China’s smartphone market, is also likely to debut during summer, and retain core features such as LTE and retina display. Where the two models will differ noticeably is with regards to the type of materials used. The budget iPhone is said to be composed of plastic and fiberglass, and will be slightly thinner and lighter than the current-gen iPhone 5. There is also likely to be six color options for consumers to choose from as opposed to the traditional two. KGI Securities’s original table, shown below, gives a more comprehensive overview of what one can expect from the two rumored handsets:
iPad 5 Announcement Date and Design Features
Although early rumors point to a mid-to-late Q3 launch for the iPad 5, iMore’s Rene Ritchie suggests that Apple is likely to go for a bi-annual release and push the launch date to as early as April (right around the time the first three iPads were released). Predictions of the next iPad’s appearance are currently based on leaked shots of its outer shell, which shows the same thin-bezel frame and color scheme as the black iPad mini, and the “iPad 5” covers that are prematurely released by the Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba. The shape and design of the protective covers imply that the next iPad will assume the exact same form factor as its miniature cousin.
Two New iPad minis for 2013?
One of the most popular beliefs last year regarding the new iPad mini is that it would feature retina display technology. While this is still technically likely to happen, various reports are suggesting that the retina version will be pushed back to a third quarter release, whereas a slightly improved model will be announced during the second quarter this year. The reason behind the delay appears to be related to the difficulties involved in sustaining the iPad mini’s battery life while displaying a high level resolution.
Adding to its earlier report in February, Bloomberg has confirmed that Apple’s iOS wrist device is indeed being produced and that its release can be expected “as soon as this year.” Additional evidences include the 79 Apple patent applications that supposedly involve the term “wrist” and the many visits made to Nike’s watch factories by Apple VP Designer Jony Ive. The iWatch is currently believed to be capable of performing a diverse set of tasks, including, but not limited to, identifying incoming callers, checking map coordinates, and monitoring heart rates. The wrist device is said to also come in the form of a flexible, slap-on bracelet–as the patent awarded to Apple last month appear to suggest– and will likely make use of Apple’s trademark Siri and iCloud services.