Apple is due to unveil its long-awaited and much-rumoured next iPhone at an event in Cupertino today, and in the months leading up to the event, the rumour mill has gone into the expected overdrive with reports and speculation on what Apple might announce. With just over an hour to go until Apple takes to the stage, we’ve sifted through the hype and mania to see what technosphere is expecting, and what is actually likely to emerge at 6pm BST this evening.
iPhone 5S model
The update to the iPhone 5 is widely expected to be named the iPhone 5S, following the Apple handset release pattern of previous years, with the iPhone 4S following a year on from the iPhone 4, and the iPhone 3GS coming a year after the 3G. Apple could wow us all with a completely different smartphone brand, or go for iPhone 6 if the phone turns out to be a major hardware update – but 5S seems to be a safe bet.
Apple is about the only handset maker which does not offer a low-end version of its flagship model, with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, Nokia Lumia 520 and the HTC One Mini all offering buyers a more affordable way of getting their hands on their favourite branded smartphone. Apple is expected to launch its first entry into the value space, with the 5C model due alongside the 5S this evening.
The iPhone 5C will not only enable the firm to attempt another crack at the valuable China market, where consumers do not have or expect to pay premium prices for their phones; but it will also offer a chance for Apple to turn around its dwindling market share in more developed markets, which are key to its survival. Android now accounts for 80 percent of the global smartphone market, with Apple at around 13 percent. Resting its hopes on yet another high-end handset will not offer Apple a route to new smartphone buyers.
Apple needs to put a better camera in the next iPhone if it’s to compete with the S4 and its 13MP option, and Nokia with its Lumia PureView tech and 41MP sensors. The iPhone camera currently on offer is decent enough, but the zoom is not fantastic and picture quality falls short of other Android and Lumia handsets, so expect Apple to address this tonight.
As we are expecting Apple to go with a 5S rather than 6 model, don’t expect to see a major hardware upgrade. There were initial rumours of a slightly larger 4.3in screen to help the firm compete with models like the HTC One, and more recently – and likely on the back of all the phablet announcements at IFA – rumours started to spread that Apple would launch a mammoth 6in iPhone. However, we don’t expect Apple to overhaul the external hardware, instead relying on the iOS 7 update to wow with its software enhancements.
Apple is likely to be much more rainbow friendly with tonight’s iPhone releases. To add to the traditional black and white models, we’re expecting to see a Champagne gold iPhone 5S, emphasising its premium price tag. The low-end iPhone 5C is rumoured to come in a range of colour options, again helping Apple to appeal to a wider audience with an inroad into the teen and tween market.
The more expensive iPhone model is also rumoured to include a fingerprint scanner, which Apple calls a "Touch ID sensor". If the technology takes off – it's not the first fingerprint-scanning smartphone ever made – it will provide a much-needed security boost following calls for phone makers to help combat smartphone theft. There are also unconfirmed rumours of a Google Android phone due to ship this year with the technology, so Apple will be met with some competition.
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