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Regarding iPad 5, iPad mini 2, iPhone 5S, and other rumored Apple hardware

With the new year comes new speculation about what's next from Apple. We've been inundated with rumors already, everything from iterative to big to cheap iPhones, and everything from thinner iPads to Retina iPad minis. Today, Jeremy Horowitz from iLounge, which has a very good track record with this kind of stuff, gave a rundown of what he's hearing for 2013, including:

  • iPhone 5s (N51), coming as early as July, and perhaps with an upgraded 13-megapixel rear camera.
  • iPad 5 (J72), coming in October, with a thinner, lighter iPad mini-like casing.
  • iPad mini 2 (J85), also coming in October, with the same design but perhaps with a Retina display.
  • Cheaper iPhone for China with a plastic casing
  • Larger iPhone, which may or may not make it to market.

Some of this lines up with what I've seen and heard, and what prompted my posts on the less expensive iPhone, the 5-inch iPhone, and the iPad 5 design. All of it sounds reasonable, and depicts logical next-steps for Apple's product line.

As to the timeline, a lot of it might simply depend on how long it takes to get things done. Making a Retina iPad 4 as relatively thin and light as an iPad mini, and giving an iPad mini a Retina display while keeping it thin and light are tremendous undertakings. Apple needs more power efficient panel technology, perhaps Sharp's IGZO. They need more power efficient chips, especially GPUs, to drive them, perhaps at smaller die sizes. They need more efficient LED to light them. And they need as much from as little battery as possible to power it all. If that's not in place in time for spring, the fall is the logical launch slot.

With the phones, Apple did a tremendous amount of work making the iPhone 5 as thin as they did. Getting an iPhone 4S-class camera in something as thin as the iPhone 5 took a lot of that work. Now that it's done, ramping up the quality of the camera even higher certainly sounds like something Apple would do. It's what they did with the iPhone 4 to iPhone 4S jump, after all. Add possible advances in processor tech, panel tech, and battery tech, and it starts to take shape.

The less expensive iPhone and bigger iPhone may or may not leave design and prototype stages. That's likely a go-to-market decision, and will depend on Apple's business -- and business relationships -- in emerging markets, and competitive pressures. Neither feels imminent.

What that means for February and March is interesting. With Apple dropping as much new product as they did last fall, renewing virtually every line they make, there've been a lot of questions about what's left for early 2013. Two years ago we had the Verizon iPhone in February and the iPad 2 in March. Last year we had OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and the education event in February, and the iPad 3 and Apple TV 3 in March.

I mentioned Apple TV 4 earlier in the week. An OS X 10.9 preview could be in the works again. Beyond that, there's always the chance for something new, or at least something unexpected.

All of that being said, and as cool as the thought of new hardware is, I still think iOS 7 and iCloud will be far, far more important for Apple in 2013.

Check out iLounge's post for everything they're hearing.

Source: iLounge)

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • "All of that being said, and as cool as the thought of new hardware is, I still think iOS 7 and iCloud will be far, far more important for Apple in 2013." I agree. I guess the question is, will we see the beta of iOS 7 in the Spring or during the WWDC keynote in the summer?
  • Always like the "S" version of the iPhone.
    Also, read they may give it a faster processor as well, which would not be surprising.
    I do hope they improve the anodization process though.
  • That's what I'm wondering. For a good while Apple was having that iOS road map keynote where they'd give a few tent pole features and then release betas and at WWDC they'd announce key features that were tired to the phone and release a gold master. So if these July rumors are true, then we should see that road map keynote again no?
  • "So if these July rumors are true, then we should see that road map keynote again no?" Exactly what I'm thinking.
  • I would like to see Apple offer two iPhone sizes at the same time - one phone being the one handed size Apple has always claimed to be the "right" size, and a second phone with a larger screen that some people would prefer. Ask anyone about possible advantages of an Android phone, and the first thing they say, usually the only thing they say, is "it has a big screen". Similar to iPad and iPad mini - give the consumer a choice about which size is "right".
  • double post..oops
  • It's nothing surprising. Iphone in summer, ipads in fall. The iphone in late spring/ early summer makes lot of sense as they had too much at once last fall and the iphone needs separate marketing. That leaves the ipads for fall. And now Apple's switching launches of those products will be complete. I'm not sure how a 13mp camera is better quality or why anyone with an iphone 5 would want the 5S but it's not really targeted at iphone 5 users. An ipad 5 that looks like a stretched out ipad mini? Sure. I'm sure it'll be slightly faster but no compelling reason to buy it if you have an ipad 3 or 4. Especially if the ipad Mini goes retina. But i'm doubtful of it. Retina will remain the big ipad's key draw. . The ipad Mini is the low cost Macbook Air of the ipad line. The goal is thin, light and as cheap as Apple can make it while still being the class of 7" tablets. This ensures a suitable margin for Apple and makes them yawn at any cannibalization of bigger ipad sales or other sales. A retina Mini is a completely different product all of a sudden needing high end ipad specs and even boasting a better screen than it's high end ipad big brother. Apple wouldn't be able to sell this product at 329. It'd cost more for Apple to make the retina Mini than the ipad 5.. That said, i'd throw 499 at an ipad mini retina vs a 499 ipad 5 any day. But that's why we won't see a retina Mini.
  • Apple buys so many parts I can see them being able to get the screens cheap enough to allow for a retina at the same price as the current mini. I dont see them raising the price because then it defeats the purpose of the mini seeing as how $329 was already on the higher end especially with the specs that came with it..
  • I don't know about iPad mini but iPad 5 will definately come after iPhone 5S because I bet iPad 5 has A7X chip as usual, and Apple needs to announce iPhone 5S to create A7 to A7X
  • Although Apple have made supposed 'breakthroughs' in the quality of video and photos from iDevices I'm wondering if they could make a two-thumbed-use iPhone of sufficient capacity and thickness to install a camera that could be a game changer. If they could fit a real zoom of say 5x along with quality optics and, say, a top class 15mp sensor, this would make people seriously think if they need another camera at all. Even a couple of extra mm in thickness might not matter to squeeze the optics in. Editing software should be slightly easier on he bigger screen.
    Wrist-straps, magnetically attached filters or extra lenses could be a money maker. Underwater cases. Bike clamps.Tripods. Timelapse, security software. Dashboard software and fixtures for the Russains! All could be made by apple. The iPads are too embarrassing to be used as cameras in public, even the mini requires a quick look round to say who is looking. But an iPad of about 5"+ diagonal display, even if thicker than the Phone would not look silly against your ear, or while taking duckface photos. Or on the beach, at a rock concert etc. Will slip into large pockets easily.
    I really want to never buy another camera again. I want the ultimate phone/camera from Apple. I predict the iCameraPhone, no the iCone, the iPhonePro, iPhoneExtreme. I'd better register some websites. This time next year Rodders ...
  • I suspect optical zoom would be well nigh impossible to put into a body as thin as the iPhone (even a slightly thicker one). Certainly not 5x zoom without significant image degradation. MAYBE 2-3x. Of course, anything would be bonus. Add optical image stabilisation and voila! That's one killer compact, I means phone camera. But all of this takes up space and adds complexity so it's design choices. The other issue is the old megapixel race, which I thought was dead but apparently not. Apple should focus on better electronics and lenses, not more megapixels. I'm all for a slightly thicker phone with more space for a bigger battery, though!
  • Unless the lens was on an edge. (Filters etc. would have to clip on.) This will be thicker than the latest iPhone/iPads so there should be room to move the battery out of the way. Things like image stacking are possible to reduce noise, for scenes with little movement. Yes, 'newsworthy' megapixels should be sacrificed in favour of top quality optics so maybe I was a bit high.
    How about lenses top and bottom for stereo. For close shots anyway. Maybe two would help reduce noise. Yes I'm out of my depth.
    Would need some sort of auto do-not-disturb, lol. Still a phone after all.
    I just wonder if Apple could make the compact camera totally redundant. :) (For those with the $ anyway,)
  • I think compacts will eventually all but go away - certainly the low to mid range. I don't think a phone can ever replace the high end compacts because there's other stuff going on there. But that's not the market phone cameras are aimed at, anyway. Problem with lens on an edge is angle of the viewing screen. Otherwise makes sense. But you reminded my of Lytro cameras which don't need focusing. At the moment they're only HD quality MP, but shouldn't take long for them to improve. They might free up room for optical image stabilising by removing the need for a focusing mechanism.
  • Not holding breath for a 13mp iPhone camera, though it will probably be an improvement. Even with 8mp, the iPhone camera is limited by diffraction through pretty much all of it's operation range. It's 8mp of data, but it's not delivering 8mp worth of resolution. Better image stabilization would benefit the consumer more than more megapixels.
  • Two thoughts...
    First, why the 5S at all? Who needs it? They might as well just stick with the 5, if the 5S is basically the same phone with a slightly better camera. There'd be virtually no difference in everyday use. The 4S made some sense in terms of siri and the extra audio chip it needed in order to work properly (well... u know.).
    People want to see a new design every year now. Owning an iPhone 5 now, I'm pretty certain to stick with it till next year's iPhone 6. However if they'd release a totally redesigned 6 this fall, I'd go for it. Apple would definitiley get more money from me this way ;)
    The second thing is: why would Apple risk a leak by letting an external manufacturer produce a physical model, which they could very easily make themselves for testing purposes?
    Jony Ive has got plenty of CNC machines in his batcave...
  • iPhone 5 actually does not sell very good to many people's surprise despite the soaring overall sales of Apple Smart Phones, which means a lot of sales come to IP4 and 4S. Why? The look of the new model is basically the same, so people won't bother to buy something that is not that recognizable when they whip them out in public. So Apple gotta have some design revolution.
  • im a long time apple user - with almost all apple products decking y house wall and our pockets .... near fanboy !!!
    but of late a quick peek across the fence .... shows a lot of seemingly cool products or features ... lot more compelling and tempting reasons ... yes I know that they are all built on fundmentally the android platform which is not as "silky smooth" as iOS in a lot of respects .... but the physical design of iOS products in particular the iPhone need to be seriously re-addressed. I love my iPhone 5 - but my wife, brothers-in-law and siters-in-law refuced to upgrade from iPhone 4 as they found the iP5 really boring - 2 of them have jumped ship to S III and Note II - that is from a houshold who owned all iPhones since the original. Apple has potentially lost 8 iPhone buyers from my family alone. That is bad - maybe a little market research ( odacious of me to suggest this to a giant like apple - but reasons are compelling ) will do the trick. maybe the public want something else.
  • Like a bigger screen? There's nothing compelling about any competitor's design. The majority throw a case on anyways.
  • Case or not that doesn't change people want larger screens and not just a stretched out version..
  • so true.
  • Hmmm. I recently had the opportunity to use on an extended basis a X branded huge screened android powered phone - and simply hated it. But if a similar came out of the apple stables - I'm sure it would be stunning. Think Tab 7 or other similar 7" tablets and think iPad Mini. For all its gripes the mini is still a stunning product to look at and hold and use. That's what I'm driving at. The next is iOS - hopefully 7 rocks. Again all Jelly could not satisfy my need for Silk. But there were a few elements which were nice - I'm talking about a million and one features these guys throw in but deeper integration between apps is an absolutely must. Non header apps which integrate brilliant. Apple has done it at the Siri level. Why not across the board including 3rd party apps. Why switch apps at all if I don't want to do any core work on another app. For exams FB sharing. Of all ur going to do is sharing why leave the browser ?
  • Thanks for a sane write up Rene. A few points. First, although a 5s will likely be based around the same physical body it's critical to all that the 5s not be supply restrained through the holiday buying period as it was this year. This past year there were many startup hiccups including the difficulty of manufacturing the darn things. A simple solution is a Sept. iPhone 5s launch to give them some breathing room. We'll see.
    Secondly I think a 5s will have more 4G basebands. The 5 doesn't have LTE in a lot of countries. In Europe and Oz certain bands have finally been approved and Apple doesn't yet support these. It's a no brainier now.
    Apple has always been good at playing the colour card and at some point, I think the 5s, may well come in a family of anodised colours.
    I've read that Apple is working hard to increase battery life. New battery tech is not on the horizon but efficient OS power management may show up in iOS 7.
    Apple has begun experimenting with selling phones directly with credit plans including 12 months of interest free credit. It's possible countries, like Spain, Greece, perhaps Brazil, etc may get a credit deal if it shows promise in China.
    I agree that iCloud maps and Siri are also areas which may have some headline grabbing improvements or abilities.
    Lastly, iOS7 will be the first OS under Jony Ive and it will be interesting to see how much he decides to change things, if at all. A year is a long time for buyers but for someone to take over a whole area of responsibility, carve out and implement a new vision, it's asking a lot.
  • Re: "iPhone 5S (N51), coming as early as July ..." Probably no hurry to get a home button thumbprint scanner into the 5S. Apple might wait until the 2014 model for that. No urgency to rush it to market, especially if Apple has filed for patents on the technology. Re: "iPad 5 (J72), coming in October, with a thinner, lighter iPad mini-like casing." Obvious next step, but there are only three things that can allow it to be thinner and lighter and still have the same battery life: better battery, more efficient internal electronics, more efficient screen. I think the latter will make the biggest difference, if Apple is able to use IGZO "invisible wires" in its screen. Especially if it's IGZO-based OLED technology, which might not be ready for mass production even in 2014. Re: "iPad mini 2 (J85), also coming in October, with the same design but perhaps with a Retina display." Same thing: only realistic with a new, more-efficient display technology. Re: "Cheaper iPhone for China with a plastic casing" This might be the fabled China Mobile phone. Cheaper, runs only on China Mobile's oddball 3G variant, zero gray market cannibalization because it won't work anywhere else. Instant massive increase in Apple's China market share. Re: "Larger iPhone, which may or may not make it to market." Apple has made umpteen engineering prototypes that they never turned into shipping products. This would be the umpteen-plus-1th.