iPhone 5S Rumor Roundup: What Do We (Maybe) Know?

The iPhone 5S is Apple's rumored next release, a phone one half-step above the iPhone 5 and half a step below iPhone 6, just as 4S was a middle ground. Rumors have been swirling about the 5S, probably ever since the iPhone 5 rolled out. We expect to hear whispers about the iPhone 7 as soon as 6 hits shelves, but for now we're just going to concentrate on what we know is likely to be true. Counting down, the five persistent rumors:

5. It will have improved internals.

Apple's patented SoC (system-on-chip) A-series processor will almost certainly get an upgrade in the iPhone 5S. Apple's newest chipset is the A7, which has reportedly been spotted in a leaked photo in mid-February. We wouldn't be surprised if this turns out to be true; the 4S set a very short precedent that, if it holds, means the device's outer design will not change, but it will receive an internal boost.

A RAM upgrade also seems to be in the works, a dual-channel 2GB's worth, which may turn out to be totally unnecessary as iOS does not allow users to multitask. The extra memory is probably just for show, but it sounds great on paper.

4. It will have a fingerprint scanner in the home button.

Forget the stylus, it's probably not going to happen. But Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at KGI Securities, expects that Apple's recent (August 2012) acquisition of AuthenTec points to a fingerprint sensor. While the company is known for its fingerprint scanners, its selling point appears to be the "Smart Sensor."

In addition to its sophisticated touchscreen, a Smart Sensor touchpad on an iPhone would allow users to do even more — maybe an option to scroll more easily, somewhat like the Eye Scrolling feature to come out with in Samsung's Galaxy S4 only manual.

3. It will debut with a lower-cost sibling.

Apple plans to penetrate the Chinese market with a smaller, cheaper iPhone, many believe. Although the company seemed to deny reports of a rumored iPhone mini in January, the story was later retracted and iFans have never stopped speculating. Most people are under the impression that the mini will be released with the iPhone 5S later this year.

2. It will launch in August.

Analysts at KGI Securities said that the iPhone 5S probably won't hit the market until August, taking into consideration the company's iPhone release schedule so far. The first three launched in June-July; 4 in October and 5 in September. There's been some debate about whether the iPhone 5S will launch in June or August, but we prefer not to get our hopes too high.

Apple's iPad line, however, will probably get its update in April with the iPad 5 and iPad mini so if you're craving a new Apple product, it's only a month away (probably). The iPad 5 and iPhone 5S are both likely to release with iOS 7.

1. Production has begun.

Foxconn reportedly began production of the iPhone 5S on Tuesday along the same production lines it uses to assemble the iPhone 5. Given that the outer casing should remain the same, it would be easy and economical for this manufacturer to work on the 5S without needing a change of assembly. The timetable sounds about right, as well — if Apple wants to churn out 14 million units by the third and fourth quarters, it only makes sense to start now.

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