You may have read the next sentence on more than one previous occasion: Rumors are flying about what the next iPhone will feature. In this case, the rumors relate to the Sept. 10 press event, when Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 5s.
A key rumor is that the new iPhone will be powered by a dual-core A7 chip that will be nearly one-third faster than the A6 chip that is in the iPhone 5. There are also reports that the new model will feature motion tracking, which could offer capabilities similar to the hand gesture recognition that Samsung has built into its Galaxy S line of smartphones. Motion tracking could also be used to enhance the performance of the iPhone camera.
Jony Ive, Apple's senior vice president of design, has expressed an interest in enhancing the way users control their devices, including the use of gestures without touching the screen.
Additionally, there are reports that Apple has been testing prototypes of the iPhone 5S that use 64-bit processing, which could dramatically increase performance of graphical effects and potentially offer other performance boosts. However, version 7 of iOS and the IOS 7 Software Development kit do not fully support 64-bit architecture, which of course is a mitigating circumstance.
Any 64-bit testing of an iPhone 5S prototype could be directed toward future incarnations of the OS. This would allow, for instance, a future, 64-bit capable version of iOS to work on a 5s.
For several weeks, there have also been reports that the new iPhone will contain a fingerprint sensor to allow authentication of the user without the necessity of a four-digit pin. Last year, Apple bought security company AuthenTec, whose technologies included fingerprint sensors.
Other reports suggest that the 5s will be available in what has been described as a gold color, and/or in gray or graphite, and that it could have up to 128 GB in flash memory.
'Proceed with Caution'
Ramon Llamas, a research analyst with IDC Mobility, told us that the release of an Apple iPhone 5s will probably mean that last year's iPhone 5 will occupy the middle-product tier, and what he described as the 5c would be the low-cost model.
Given that Apple's iPhone shipments have been relatively flat over the last two years even as the overall smartphone market has expanded, Llamas suggested that a low-cost iPhone could help with sales.
As for the possibility of a fingerprint sensor, Llamas said that such a feature is "unlikely to appeal to everyone," but that it has additional value if the device is being used for e-commerce. In fact, he said, "Apple could break open mobile e-commerce by including near-field communication" technology that enables the smartphone to be used instead of a credit card.
On another front, Llamas cautioned that users should "proceed with caution" about the new iOS 7, which is a "radical departure from 6." He said he was personally going to wait a few months for any bugs to shake out.