Apple’s next iPhone: rumor roundup

August 27, 2013

The next iPhone announcement is expected next month, and Apple fans are not only searching for information on a possible new smartphone but also mulling what to do with the one they already have.

Dealing with secondhand phones can be big business, and reports, including one from 9 to 5 Mac on Monday, have revived speculation that Apple may be looking to tap into the market itself. TechCrunch, in fact, reported Monday that Apple has already been piloting a trade-in program in some stores.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has said that he’s “not opposed” to starting a trade-in program, telling analysts in a July earnings call that he was particularly keen on the how that could benefit the environment. The company started a recycling program in 1994 that now lets users send the company their old iPods, mobile phones, Macs and PCs — sometimes in exchange for Apple gift cards. According to the TechCrunch report, the pilot iPhone trade-in program would work in a similar way, but users would only be able to use the value of their trade-in iPhone toward a new iPhone.

Since Monday’s reports on Apple, the online used electronics site Gazelle announced some changes to its trade-in policy. Users will be able to lock in their trade-in value up to 60 days before Sept. 10, the site said. That’s when Apple is expected to unveil its newest iPhone. Trade-in values often drop as launch events near, so having a price lock gives an incentive for those definitely planning to upgrade regardless of how the new smartphone measures up.

Apple has, of course, is keeping mum about what the new iPhone will look like and even whether it actually exists. But that hasn’t stopped information from seeping out in the form of alleged leaks and anonymously sourced reports.

The general report is that Apple will release two new iPhones: a more incremental update to the Phone 5 and another, less expensive phone aimed at wooing consumers who are gravitating to the lower-cost Android smartphones. There’s also a lot of chatter about the tech giant possibly offering several new colors for the next upgrade to the iPhone line. Apple is reportedly offering the higher-end iPhone 5S in gold/champagne, while the iPhone 5C is expected to be available in a variety of iPod-esque tones.

Of course, there’s also speculation about the phone’s new tech. CNET noted that the camera on the iPhone 5S is expected to have a larger aperture, improving low-light snaps. In addition, the report said that some expect a much bigger 128GB storage option for the 5S and that there’ve been persistent rumors that the new phone will also have a fingerprint scanner.

Meanwhile, Apple might be making tweaks to the iPhone’s network support, according to more rumors, which should give it a stronger position in the growing smartphone markets of Asia. Apple has yet to sign a deal with China’s largest mobile carrier, China Mobile, or Japan’s, NTTDoCoMo, but recent reports indicate that may change with the next generation of the iphone.

Both deals — particularly one with China — would boost Apple’s standing as it competes with firms such as Samsung in the expanding global smartphone market.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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