Apple’s next iPhone: rumor roundup


(FILES)Apple's iPhone 5 , left, and previous generation 4S are displayed in this September 12, 2012 photo in San Francisco. (GLENN CHAPMAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
August 12, 2013

Right on cue, rumors about what Apple has planned next for the iPhone are starting to crest ahead of an expected fall launch for the company’s next smartphone.

In fact, the launch itself is what’s at the center of the newest iPhone speculation, after All Things Digital’s Ina Fried reported that sources have told her the iPhone event is expected on Tuesday, Sept. 10. That would put the announcement on the same August week as its launch of the iPhone 5 last year. (Apple tends to announce products on Wednesdays, but — if Fried’s report is correct — the change to Tuesday may be to avoid holding an event on Sept. 11.)

There’s always a lot of pressure on Apple when it launches a product. But stock performance and growing questions about the company’s ability to innovate have made the next launch particularly important for the firm. For Apple, and chief executive Tim Cook, this next launch has to show that the tech giant can continue to drive the smartphone market forward after the 2011 death of its co-founder Steve Jobs.

As for the product or products to be announced, there’s plenty of speculation on that, as well. Some reports say Apple is primed to release two phones — an iPhone 5S and a cheaper model called the iPhone 5C — to please consumers with different budgets.

The 5C, as tech bloggers have nicknamed the rumored lower-end smartphone, is said to be made of plastic rather than the iPhone’s usual glass or aluminum.

Cook has said that the company isn’t “interested in revenue for revenue’s sake,” and that Apple wouldn’t want to make a cheaper phone simply to pick up market share. But if a cheaper iPhone is in the works, it may help fight off increased competition from competitors, such as Samsung, who make a variety of phones, including those with cheaper materials to appeal to more budget-conscious buyers.

Business Insider noted last month that the “C” in the rumored iPhone 5C name would stand for “color,” because the phone would be available in a variety of hues — an approach Apple has taken for personalizing the iPod line.

As for the 5S, MacRumors reported that a Japanese parts retailers has posted pictures of iPhone trays for SIM cards that indicate there may be two more phone colors on the way. With a heavy dose of skepticism, the blog reported that the trays, which are shown in bronze/gold and gray, could be a hint of new colors for Apple’s smartphone. However, MacRumors’  Eric Slivka noted, the trays could be made by third-party vendors.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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