What tech is next from Apple this autumn?

Apple hasn’t launched a new phone since the end of 2012, which is an aeon in tech time. It looks set to be busy in the autumn though, potentially launching two new handsets.

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All rumours so far point to a successor to the iPhone 5, likely to be named the iPhone 5S, being released before the end of the year, with a launch expected in September.

Leaked pictures and further rumours of a ‘budget’ version of the iPhone also continue to surface, suggesting that Apple is planning on releasing a cheaper, plastic iPhone model before the year is out.

Here’s what you need to know about Apple’s plans and how long you’ll have to wait to get hold of one of the new phones.

The 5S digest

As has been the case since the iPhone 3GS, Apple is expected to introduce an incremental update to the iPhone 5 before a full update to the iPhone 6, called the iPhone 5S.

The ‘S’ models tend to look identical to their predecessors in form, but with upgraded innards. Nothing has been confirmed as yet, but Apple’s famously poor security has let slip various details and images of the 5S.

The general consensus is that it’ll be unveiled in September, or possibly October, this year.

Among the updates to the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5S is rumoured to include:

  • An NFC reader which will allow for tap-to-pay transactions and other data transfers
  • A fingerprint reader for added security
  • A much-improved 12 megapixel rear camera with dual LED flash
  • A 2GB, quad-core processor

None of this official, and the NFC and fingerprint scanning rumours have certainly come up once or twice before, but various sources appear to be reaching the same conclusions about the new handset.

Whenever the 5S arrives and whatever new tech it features, it’ll surely run on Apple’s new iOS7 operating system (also launching this autumn) which is a departure from what we’ve seen from Apple so far, with a ‘flatter’, more two-dimensional design than its predecessors.

 

 iOS7. Source: Apple

Beyond a lick of paint, iOS7 has an overhauled interface, changing the way you interact with the phone. From unlocking the phone to messaging and web browsing, everything has been given a new look and feel.

Plastic fantastic

Then there’s the altogether-more-interesting budget iPhone that’s been rumoured for a while, and seems to gaining credibility as more and more pictures are leaked online.

It looks as though Apple wants to appeal to new customers who don’t want to pay the iPhone premium by replacing its shiny aluminium chassis with polycarbonate plastic, which will be cheaper to produce and should result in a lower price tag.

It’s thought to be the same size and spec as the iPhone 5 and running iOS7, but will be available in a range of colourful plastics, harking back to the plastic-backed third generation and earlier iPhones.

The official name – and even the existence – of a budget iPhone is yet to be confirmed but, if it does transpire, it’s thought to be arriving at the same time as the iPhone 5S.

And although it’ll be mooted as a budget model, it still probably won’t be cheap. Pundits are speculating $250-$400 in the States, which could put it somewhere in the region of between £250 and £400 this side of the Atlantic – but that’s still far cheaper than the price of an iPhone 5 (£529).

Whatever the case may be, expect a lot more rumours and leaks as we go into August ahead of a special unveiling event as we get closer to September.

Lastly, don’t be surprised if Apple takes the opportunity to unveil a new iPad mini either, as an iPad mini 2 with a better screen and processor is also thought to be in the pipeline.

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