Apple iPhone 5S release date, rumours and everything you need to know

As is always the way, Apple remains silent while the rest of the world discusses what the company might launch next. In this case the words passing every set of lips is iPhone 5S.

It's a familiar cycle for Apple-watchers. Whether anyone has any hard facts or not is almost irrelevant, rumours bubble and speculation brews. We see everything from fantasy to the fantastic, the ridiculous and the remarkable. What we know is that Apple is preparing to launch its next device, it's facing stronger competition than ever before, but has everything to play for.

Here we're cutting through the rumours, exploring what you might hope to expect, coupled with what we think will actually happen.

iPhone 5S release date

The Apple iPhone 5S announcement will be on 10 September, with Apple sending out invites to the press. There will be an event in California, as well as a European event in Berlin.

Previously, it had been confirmed to Pocket-lint, by a source close to the matter, that the Apple iPhone 5S would be launched on 10 September, which also supported the previous reports from AllThingsD.

Our source confirmed the iPhone 5S will be announced at the event, but made no mention of the rumoured budget model, the iPhone 5C, however this could be because the iPhone 5S will be the star of the show. We would expect this to also be announced at the same event if the rumours are true. Following the event, based on previous timelines, it would suggest the devices will be available in the US, UK and main European territories on 20 September, as Apple usually marks the release date close to the launch announcement. 

Backing this up to a degree, The Wall Street Journal recently reported Apple supplier Hon Hai/Foxconn has been asked to ship two new iPhone models it's been building in "early September".

The September 10 event also ties in with the timeline for the new version of the operating system, iOS 7, previously announced and targeted for a September release.

iPhone 5S design

Traditionally Apple upgrades the internal hardware for the "S" device, but leaves the exterior relatively untouched. If that pattern continues it will see the iPhone 5S look pretty much exactly the same as the iPhone 5, but with a more powerful processor. Leaked pictures showed the chip as unmarked, but an upgrade from the iPhone 5 is expected, which would take the new iPhone to an A7 processor.

KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects Apple to also be including 128GB of on-board storage in the most expensive model of the iPhone 5S, alongside the A7 system-on chip design and 1GB of LPDDR3 RAM, said to boost speeds by up to 20 per cent. While 9to5Mac claims Apple is testing 64-bit processing, which if used on the A7, would make the iPhone 5S 31 per cent faster than the A6 CPU in the iPhone 5. 

There has also been some speculation and pictures hinting at an additional gold colour to break the black and white spell, as well as more colours according to BGR.

A number of new reports from iMore, TechCrunch and 9to5Mac, AllThingsD claim the new iPhone 5S will be offered in gold, with unnamed sources saying it will be an "elegant" gold, more on the champagne side and not ingot. Apple's gold iPhone will specifically feature a white face, gold-tone back plate and "chamfered edging"

New photos from Japanese site Ascii now shows all three options side-by-side and App Advice also published photos of the gold-toned iPhone 5S alongside some internal components. The new images specifically show that the "iPhone" branding on the gold iPhone 5S is slightly thinner than the iPhone 5's branding. It was previously reported that the branding would hardly show up on the gold due to complications with anodisation, which subsequently caused many skeptics to furrow their brows.

 

It's also worth noting, the rumoured upcoming colour doesn't appear to be an exclusive option for iPhone 5S. The report speculates that Apple is adding gold to the iPhone colour palette because it's one of the easiest colours to anodise, and it even points to an alleged gold rush in recent months that has caused a spike in gold jewellery sales.

A few more colours would certainly make a refreshing change, especially as SamsungMotorola and HTC have all introduced colour variety, but this remains unconfirmed when it comes to Apple.

Perhaps verging a little more on the wishful thinking, there have also been talks of a fingerprint scanner for the new iPhone. Sites such as Mac Rumours, have played with the idea of a fingerprint scanner replacing the home button for the new iPhone, whereas others sources and images suggest it will be integrated in the display.

Should it take the home button's place, claims suggest the sensor will be positioned underneath the home button, changing its shape from concave to convex, and removing the rectangle mark. More recently, a part, reported to an iPhone 5S component, has been pictured, adding fuel to the fire, as well as some leaked marketing materials also hinting at a fingerprint reader.

Nowhereelse.fr has also published an image showing a fingerprint reader, dubbed "Touch ID sensor", which the site claims was sent to them from a reliable source. This site was the same site to publish an image of the Lightning Connector ahead of it's announcement last year.

 

In addition, Patently Apple claims it has discovered a patent Apple has filed for a fingerprint sensor with advanced integrated NFC circuitry, which it says has been invented for the iPhone home button and more. The website suggests it will have two modes of operation: "Apple states that the control circuitry within the electronic device may operate the device in multiple modes. When operated in a sensor mode, the sensor circuitry may use the conductive structure to gather fingerprint data or other sensor data.

"When operated in near field communications mode, the near field communications circuitry can use the conductive structure to transmit and receive capacitively coupled or inductively coupled near field communications signals."

However, although a fingerprint scanner would be great from a security aspect, it would change the external design of the iPhone which would follow tradition for the "S" model. We can always hope, however. Fingerprint scanners aren't common on smartphones but have been seen before. The Motorola Atrix had one, for example, so it's not outside the realms of possibility.

iOS 7 software

It is pretty much a guarantee the new iPhone will debut with the iOS 7 software, launched at the Apple World Wide Developer Conference in June. After all, an operating system needs products to operate on, and this would fall in-line with the company's usual tactics.

READ: WWDC 2013: Apple announces iOS 7

The new software is currently being tested and is likely to have its first official launch in tandem with the new iPhone, as well as rolling out to older devices.

Its design was overseen by Jonathan Ive, Apple's new senior vice-president of industrial design, who dislikes mimicking real life objects in digital design and describes the new operating system as "black, white and flat all over".

READ: iOS 7 release date and everything you need to know

You can see from Apple's marketing, the system is stripped back and the most simplified iOS yet, with things like the paper textures for iBooks and leather effect for calendar all removed.

Better connected

If the new iPhone is going to compete with rivals and the extra features they provide, it may have to start looking into wireless charging. If Apple chooses to include wireless charging, which it hasn't done to date, the new iPhone will sit in the same camp as some of the Nokia Lumia devices, the Nexus 4 and Samsung Galaxy S4.

There are also numerous claims for NFC, another thing Apple has stayed clear of so far. The infrastructure isn't quite mainstream on the high street yet, but is growing all the time. Some think that NFC won't hit the big time until Apple supports it. We think Apple is likely to implement NFC in the new iPhone for things like payments, but with services like AirPlay in place, features like NFC Bluetooth pairing might not be as appealing as it is on Android or Windows Phone devices.

Then you have 4G. At the moment, the iPhone 5 doesn't support Vodafone or O2's 4G network in the UK. Since both networks have announced the launch of this service now, we think it would be safe to suggest the new iPhone will be taking this into account.

iPhone 5S camera

There are a several of different claims regarding the camera. Some sources say it will come with a 12-megapixel rear camera and a dual-LED flash to potentially improve indoor image quality.

While still unconfirmed, the dual-LED flash theory is backed up by a leaked casing image from French publication NWE showing double the space for flash compared to the iPhone 5. More recently, the leaked marketing materials that suggested a fingerprint reader would be present, also claimed the iPhone 5S camera would get an upgrade with a dual LED flash and f/2.0 aperture with support for up to 120fps, 1080p video.

 

However Japanese site Mac Otakara and Ming-Chi Kuo are set on the same 8-megapixel camera as the iPhone 5 but with a wider f/2.0 aperture to capture more light and iLounge's Jeremy Horowitz previously theorised it would come with Sony's 13-megapixel sensor. Apple has used Sony's sensors in the past and is likely to continue to do so; with the Sony Xperia Z featuring a 13-megapixel sensor, and the Xperia Z Ultra an 8-megapixel sensor, both are a safe bet as we're sure we'll find one or the other in the iPhone 5S.

iPhone 5S display

When it comes to screen resolution and size, the rumour mills continue to turn. The iPhone 5 has a pretty small screen if you compare it to its competitors, leading to some suggestions the iPhone 5S will launch in a 4.7-inch and 5.7-inch model, or a 4.8-inch version. While this would make sense, and be a welcome advancement to some, we can't see it happening for the iPhone 5S. Apple put a lot of time into justifying the size and aspect of the iPhone 5 display, we can't see it scrapping that line of thought just to compete with Android rivals.

Speculation also hints at a higher resolution, boasting double the pixels of the current iPhone 5. It would mean 1.5 million pixels in just 4-inches of display, giving it the title of one of the sharpest smartphone screens on the market. Again, that seems unlikely, as it would potentially mean all apps would need to be adapted, as well as iOS 7.

READ: Best smartphones 2013: The best phones available to buy today

Chinese website WeiPhone.com also claims the new iPhone will come with an iPad mini-style ultra-narrow screen bezel. However this would mean a hardware redesign, which we don't think will happen this time round.

Conclusion

Naturally, rumours and theories will continue to mount as we get closer to the launch on 10 September. You might get all of the above, along with a better ear speaker, loud-speaker bracket, or some extra storage, but you won't know for sure until Tim Cook and co take the stage and unveil the new iPhone.

From all the rumours out there, we predict the iPhone 5S will look the same as its predecessor but come with iOS 7, NFC and wider 4G-LTE support, possibly in an extra colour. It's likely to come with a more powerful processor, as this would be a natural evolution, making for a faster device.

We will continue to update and bring you all the details, as and when Apple formally announces its new smartphone.