Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Rumor patrol: iPhone 5S coming in August, new iPads in April

We've said before that Apple wants to drag the iPhone release, kicking and screaming, back into the summer, and on Tuesday the rumor mill heated up again, with the latest being that the iPhone 5S -- that's right, not a 6 -- will arrive in August.

It seems like a reasonable move. The iPhone 4S was released in mid-October while the iPhone 5 was released in late September. Are these intentional 11-month cycles to eventually pull the iPhone back to mid-summer? If so, August is a perfect month for the iPhone 5S.

In addition, in line with other S-variant iPhones, the change from the prior model to the S will be minimal on the outside. Think iPhone 3G to 3GS, and iPhone 4 to 4S. Externally, there will be little changed. In fact, the report said, the only significant changes will be an improved camera and the requisite better processor.

If it sounds a little lame, we doubt that iPhone fanatics will care much. We'd expect to see tweaks here and there, such as in the earlier S models.

As if that wasn't enough to gird your pocketbook for, Apple is reportedly preparing an iPad refresh, as well, and another quick one that might serve to annoy folks. The iPad 3 to iPad 4 refresh was only a span of eight months, and that drew a lot of criticism, already. This would be a far shorter period: Apple would ship the iPad 5 in April, meaning only about five months would have passed since the iPad 4.

What's interesting is that iMore -- who supplied both sets of rumors on Tuesday -- said "We're really not sure what to make of that (April date) yet."

Taking a look at these two rumors, the iPhone 5S rumor makes a lot of sense. As we said, it seems apparent that Apple wants to move the annual iPhone launch back to the summer. In addition, we've see other such summer next-generation iPhone rumors over the past few months.

For one, KGI Securities' Ming-Chi Kuo projects that the new iPhone will be announced in June and reach the market in July, and that -- as noted by this new report -- it will be minimally changed from the iPhone 5.

However, the iPad 5 rumor seems to come out of thin air. Apple is unlikely to release the iPad 5 so soon after the November release of the fourth-generation model and March 2012 debut of the third-generation version. The iPad 3 almost seems like an orphan; Apple continued to sell the iPad 2 after the introduction of the iPad 4, instead of shifting the "cheap model" to the iPad 3.

It's possible, though pure speculation, that Apple did so because the build cost of the iPad 3 hadn't come down enough yet.

Meanwhile, it's been thought that Apple would move to co-releases of the iPad and iPad mini. However, it seems that the iPad mini's Retina display is not ready to hit the market, and Apple is still enjoying healthy sales of the current model.

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