Rumours fly as Apple set to unveil new iPhone
Fingerprint scanners, low cost iPhones...tech fans gear up for launch later today
Apple is expected to unveil a new version of its iPhone later today. Photograph: Craig Warga/Bloomberg
With the latest version of the iPhone to be unveiled later today, rumours about Apple’s plans are flying. From the low cost iPhone to the iWatch, all eyes will be on Cupertino today to see if Apple can wow customers and the industry, and win back its reputation as an innovator in the market.
It feels like it’s been a couple of years since a tech launch raised anything near the level of excitement that early iPhone announcements managed. Perhaps it’s down to higher expectations; perhaps it’s just that there is very little else that smartphone makers can cram into the compact handsets that will grab consumers’ imagination.
But a major factor could be the drip feeding of details prior to the event. Despite Apple’s reputation for secrecy, many of the important details of its recent major launches have leaked prior to executives taking to the stage.
And, with fierce competition from Android phone makers such as Samsung bearing down, Apple is under pressure to get devices to as many countries as soon after launch as possible.
Look at how quickly Apple gets devices to users these days. When the first iPhone was unveiled in 2007, it was announced on January 9th, but didn’t go on sale until June 29th.
That cycle was shortened for the iPhone 3G, which was announced on June 9th 2008 and went on sale just over a month later in 22 countries. Its successor, the iPhone 3GS, followed a similar time scale. Then things began to pick up pace. The iPhone 4 was announced at WWDC on June 7th, 2010 and went on sale in selected countries on June 24th. The iPhone 4S was unveiled on October 4th and hit stores 10 days later.
Although the development of the devices usually comes with a high level of secrecy within Apple – there are tales of areas being walled off overnight and people working in windowless rooms to reduce the likelihood that details on new devices will be leaked – still the details are getting out there.
Alleged leaks from Apple’s supply chain in China have claimed to show everything from fingerprint sensors to the new packaging for the latest iPhones.
It’s not just Apple that is having this issue. Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch was seen online ahead of the event; ditto for the Galaxy S4.
On the whole, the constant leaking of information leaves precious little left to announce at any major product launch.
So here’s what to expect from today’s event:
The iPhone 5S:
Expected to have a similar design to the current iPhone 5, the launch of a 5S would follow Apple’s recent timeline for product launches: a redesign followed by an incremental update. The new iPhone is expected to have a fingerprint reader built into the home button, an improved camera and a more powerful chip. How the home button looks could be set to change too, with leaked photos claiming to show a silver ring around it.