Lately it has felt like we hit a lull in terms of iPhone rumors, so here's something to chew on for a while: The iPhone 5S is on the way, along with a cheaper iPhone.
If that doesn't seem like much of a rumor, you're probably right. We've been hearing rumblings of a cheap iPhone, or an iPhone mini, for months now. The iPhone 5S, too, seems more like a foregone conclusion than an impressive announcement. Nonetheless, the latest reports suggest a simultaneous release for both products later this year.
According to a Chinese tech website called EMSOne (via Apple Insider), analysts from Barclays Capital told them that Apple is planning to release the iPhone 5S and a cheap version of the iPhone in August 2013.
The article seems to suggest that the iPhone 5S will be manufactured exclusively at the Foxconn manufacturing facility in China, since it didn't mention the Pegatron factory except, apparently, when referring to the iPhone mini.
As for the device itself, the iPhone 5S is allegedly going to be compatible with multiple carriers, including China Mobile, which serves more than 700 million people. That's a nice step up from the current iPhone 5, which requires carriers with different LTE frequences to purchase different models.
Unfortunately, the iPhone mini won't be incorporating that same feature. It will only run on frequency division duplex (FDD) for LTE service. That might be surprising since the general point of even offering a cheaper iPhone is to expand Apple's presence in markets whose populations can't afford premium devices, but FDD is supported by China Mobile. At the very least, that means iPhone mini would have a great chance at finding success in China.
Another rumor, this time from Japan, claims the iPhone 5S has been delayed until 2014.Whether this applies only to a Japanese launch or not is unclear, but it's hard to imagine Apple going the entire year without launching the next major iteration of its flagship phone. The iPhone mini isn't going to cater to the same buyers that a 5S would.
Speaking of Japan, there's yet another report stating that the next iPhone will be constructed out of polycarbonate as Apple attempts to cut costs. The phone would retail for $330 without a contract, but who knows if this will actually happen.
In fact, the answer to all this speculation is a simple, "Who knows?" Apple isn't going to comment, and the best time to gather official info probably won't be until June.