Tech Biz

iPhone in 2013: Bigger, Cheaper, and More Colorful?

Supply chain sources claim that new iPhones will include numerous changes.

Yesterday, Reuters sources claimed that Apple is considering both larger and cheaper iPhone models to succeed the current generation iPhone 5. The unofficial plans underscore the threat from chief iPhone rival Samsung, who is the current smartphone leader by market share. Even with a fresh new iOS, Apple may be forced to play catch-up.

“The moves are described as being ‘under discussion,’ meaning they may never actually happen,” explained CNN. “If they do, however, it would mean Apple has more or less abandoned its position as the standard-setter in the smartphone market and become just another trend-follower.”

Appearing to be a few steps ahead of Apple, the South Korean powerhouse will be offering three new variants of the best-selling Galaxy S4, with multiple sizes and specs (and certainly with different price points, though none have been announced). The flagship S4 already offers a screen that is a full inch larger than the current iPhone.

The Reuters sources, who are connected to the supply chain in Asia, claimed that Apple is looking at possible iPhone versions with 4.7 and 5.7 inch screen sizes. This could position them to compete with the typically larger Android-based smartphones and so-called “phablets” like the Samsung Galaxy Note II.

“The Cupertino company is currently facing a pretty hard battle against a host of 4.7 to 5-inch high-end Droids, which are eating into the iPhone's market share,” wrote GSMArena, “And last years’ iPhone 5 [shows] that the company is willing to leave the 3.5-inch comfort zone it has been inhabiting since its first smartphone debuted in 2007.”

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A late summer refresh, likely to be dubbed the iPhone 5S, is also rumored to be on the way. It may come in two different forms – a premium “silver or slate” model in the current metal casing, alongside a cheaper plastic version offered in five or six different colors. A peek at the current iPod Nano line may give a hint at possible color schemes: likely to include pink, blue, green, purple, and yellow.

A cheaper version could provide a much-needed boost for Apple in emerging markets. “Analysts say the company needs a cheaper gadget to push on in growth markets in China and India, and to counter Samsung's edge in having phones priced up and down the spectrum,” Reuters reported. “China, the world's biggest smartphone market, is set to grow 48 percent this year, outpacing the global increase of 31 percent, according to industry forecasts.”

Other rumors surrounding the new iPhone include a James Bond-like fingerprint sensor to be embedded under the home button, an upgraded camera, and image recognition.