gold

Gold iPhone image created by Shop Le Monde

As Apple’s September 10th event iPhone event approaches, we’ve learned some additional details and have independently heard some of the already-floating around information regarding the upcoming announcements.

We’ve long been expecting Apple to launch an iPhone 5S at this upcoming event, an iPhone that looks almost identical to the iPhone 5 but with improved internals. For past iPhone “S” upgrades, like the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4S, Apple has retained the same design and colors as the previous models. Black and white units in both of those cases.

But, we’ve heard, 2013 will be a bit different. Color will be a differentiator. Much like the much-rumored plastic iPhone will see Apple expand its color palette for iPhones, the iPhone 5S will move beyond the black/slate and white/silver options offered for the iPhone 5…

According to a source who has used the device, the iPhone 5S will come in a “gold” color option. MG Siegler and Rene Ritchie have both heard this as well, and they have great write-ups about the potential for such a color and the anodization process.

While many have called this new iPhone color “gold,” our source says that the color is more inline with the yellow fifth-generation iPod touch, but slightly lighter in texture. Some have called this “champagne” and that sounds about right. We’ve also heard that this gold model has a white front-face, so it won’t be a black and gold device, but rather a white and “gold/champagne” phone. It looks elegant, not cheap, the source said.

iphone-5s-champagne-03

Even though the iPhone 5S sports the same general look as the iPhone 5 and could be easily hidden in any off-the-shelf iPhone case, sources say that Apple has limited external iPhone 5S usage in an unprecedented manner. However, at least a few Apple employees have sprung to play around with the new color option over the black and white models. While some employees don’t think it is as “slick” or “stealth” as the black and slate model, it is a fresh look for the iconic device.

For nearly half-a-decade, the iPhone has mostly looked, felt, and worked the same way. “Gold” anodization on the back and sides of the new iPhone will be a differentiating factor, a new flashy element to keep people excited about the product. As others have also noted, gold is a sought-after color option for products in China, so this could help Apple in its favorite “hypermarket,” one that has begun to slip away over the past couple of financial quarters.

home button

Beyond gold, the iPhone’s storied Home button will also see a change. As discussed in analyst reports and affirmed by code strings left behind in early iOS 7 betas, we’ve heard multiple hints from sources indicating that the iPhone 5S will include a fingerprint scanner on the Home button. Despite speculation (albeit based in science) to the contrary, we’ve heard that it works well compared to the run-of-the-mill scanners found on household items and smartphones like the Motorola Atrix. However, the sensor won’t be suitable for handling payments (at launch).

Some industry watchers have also been wondering why there has been so much analyst talk about an iPhone 5S fingerprint scanner, but not much hard evidence. We’re told that early iPhone 5S internal prototypes lacked the fingerprint scanning feature. Instead, the scanners were externally tested over a cable system.

The technologies powering the iPhone 5S’s fingerprint scanner are likely based off of the developments of Apple-owned Authentec. Interestingly, we’re told that nearly every top executive from Authentec that joined Apple through the acquisition departed Apple in the first calendar quarter of 2013. This is similar to Siri executives leaving Apple in the months around the iPhone 4S launch and top employees from C3 Technologies (the 3D mapping firm that Apple bought in 2011) moving on from Apple in the weeks prior to the iOS 6 3D Flyover mode’s debut.

Also contrary to recent talk, the new Home button’s design will not be noticeably convex. Perhaps the shape has changed, but the tweaked button is nothing distinct enough for the iPhone 5S to be identified as anything but an iPhone 5 by the untrained eye. There’s the possibility, however, that the etching and border of the Home button could become more shiny and look slightly different.

While the Home button looks mostly the same, the point here is that securing your phone will likely now become common practice. A fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5S will take biometric technology to mainstream levels. According to Apple sources privy to customer usage data, a very small percentage of iPhone owners use a passcode. In our current world where digital security is becoming an increasingly important issue, it is likely that Apple hopes a fingerprint scanner will raise the aforementioned statistic. Nonetheless, the Settings app on the iPhone 5S is said to have a switch to disable the fingerprint sensor.

Of course, like with all moves by Apple, hardware is only one slice of the story. To go along with the bolstered Home button and gold color option, Apple is about to launch a sweeping redesign of iOS. And like we’ve mentioned even before Apple confirmed the existence of iOS 7, the iPhone is taking internal development priority for iOS this year. While Apple is nearing a golden master seed for the iPhone (and consequently iPod touch) version of iOS 7.0, we’re told that the iPad version is running behind.

Compatiblity

Many developers have noted that the iOS 7 builds for iPad feel unstable and unreliable compared to the iPhone-optimized betas. The reason, as we’ve noted before, is that Apple started on iOS 7 for iPhone prior to building for the iPad. Perhaps as proof for this, Apple did not ship an iOS 7 beta for iPad until two weeks after the initial iPhone iOS 7 beta. A similar situation is potentially in the cards for the public launch of iOS 7. While iOS 7.0 for iPhone is locked for the iPhone 5S launch in mid-September, there’s chatter inside Apple about the potential of holding back the iPad version for an iOS 7.0.1 release between late September and October; perhaps alongside fresh new iPad hardware.

While Apple is likely yet to come to an absolute decision on pushing back the iPad release, separating the iPhone and iPad iOS 7 launches could make sense. With iOS 7 being the true transformation of an operating system that people of all ages and kinds have come familiar with for over half a decade, perhaps it would be logical for Apple to separate the software launches. Let those who need to learn iPhone iOS 7 (especially with the impending iPhone 5S debut) come into Apple Stores and call up AppleCare throughout September, but wait for October for the iPad users to get their help.

It’s a win-win situation. Customers get a more polished tablet operating system, and Apple gets some lead-time on helping those using its “gateway product”, the iPhone. On that topic, we’ve heard that Apple is currently developing iOS 7 training sessions for within Apple Stores. Apple is said to be expecting some customers to be surprised by the new look and feel, and Apple wants to be ready to assist these users.

We’re also told that Apple has come to the realization that the 2010 iPhone 4 hardware abilities may not provide a solid iOS 7 experience. Apple is said to be working overtime to ensure that it could keep its promise of supporting iOS 7 on the iPhone 4, but sources say not to be surprised if iOS 7 is the last version of iOS that will be available for the iPhone 4.

On the topic of iOS 7.0 and a potential iOS 7.0.1 release, we’re told that Apple is already making progress on iOS 7.1. This first major “point update” to iOS 7 could include the fundamentals of some of the already announced iOS in the Car integration.

Even though iOS 7 is yet to even ship, it’s also time to talk iOS 8. Now that iOS 7.0 for iPhone is about ready to go, Apple has started formal development of its successor. Details are currently slim on what functionality iOS 8 will bring, but we’ve heard some chatter about projects in development within Apple’s iOS engineering division. We’ve heard that a Siri API, with restrictions to certain app categories (like weather, information, and news apps), has been considered in the past.

Also in the works are advancements to iOS in the Car that could tie in an iPhone’s camera to provide the car improved information about current road conditions. This could help with re-routing vehicles via the iOS Maps app. Unfortunately, neither of these potential iOS additions have been discussed in tandem with the iOS 8 release, so it’s unclear if they have anything to do with the 2014 version of iOS, or if they are just possibilities for even further down the road.

While Apple will not present a radically new design with the iPhone 5S, the company is betting on a mix of hardware enhancements, a more affordable model, and a brand-new operating system to remain at the forefront of the smartphone industry. But will these announcements be enough to hold Apple until its big 2014? Only time will tell.

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30 Responses to “iPhone 5S will come in gold & likely sport fingerprint sensor, iPad iOS 7 running behind”

  1. Separating the iPhone and iPad releases of iOS 7 would be a nightmare for developers wanting to release an update to an app that drops pre-7 support.

  2. They’re running out of ideas

    • danbridgland says:

      Do you think? Or……….

      Perhaps Apple doesn’t want their competitors to know what they’re doing?

      Whilst Samdung are still playing catchup, Apple will race ahead with real world features like the fingerprint reader and more innovative ideas. Do you know any Fandroid users who use those face unlock, YouTube glance away or Facebook Home gimmicks? Yeah those are truly innovative asserts to the FAndroid shame of an ecosystem.

      Rant over….

      • Lol you think Samsung is playing catch up? To tell the truth, Samsung has created flexible displays that are shatter proof. It won’t be long before they are placed in smart phones. THAT is innovative. Sure the Face Unlock and YouTube glance away are mostly gimmicks, but so is this fingerprint sensor. You actually think this is going to be a legitimate sensor with no security holes? My guess is yes. People are going to rather slide to unlock or type in a 4 digit pin to access their phone faster. This isn’t the CIA, it’s the mass consumer population.

        Please enlighten me with their more “innovative ideas”. It’s my understanding that it’s being rumored they are going to larger displays in the future for phones. I wonder why? I could have sworn Steve Jobs said that 3.5″ is the PERFECT display size for a smartphone and that he was bashing the bigger screens.

  3. iOS 7 to launch on iPhone 5s, then the 7.1 on all other iPhones and iPads. This will help differentiate the 5s.

  4. Why is 2014 big for Apple?

  5. If Jony had a hand in the possible new iPhone design, I bet it’s a gold-ish because it’s made from a material that’s naturally that colour.

    • lxchee says:

      Will they really be using liquid metal for the iPhone 5S chassis and housing?
      Will be really great if they are. .. with sapphire crystal grade gorilla glass, it could be almost indestructible.

  6. Come on Apple the only way to go now is bigger. You are so far behind everyone else and becoming the Microsoft of the device industry. Perhaps this will force the board to ax Tim Cook and get fresh blood in there who can consentrate more on innovation and not planning trips to China to smoozzzzz.

    • what? 1) apple is the most profitable handset maker and reaps the lion’s share of profits. 2) iOS users represent the majority of web users, despite lower market share. 3) CEOs arent sitting around dreaming up products — their team does this, and Cook has much of the same team as Jobs did. firing him for some outsider would be far more disruptive and youd complain then, too.

      • mkimid says:

        We will know the true after couple of weeks.

        just my view, (1) it is a reason why Apple keep loose the mark share (2) at this time, I agree with you when just compare Apple or a company, but, from years ago, Adroid has become a majority already (3) I hope so. but, you are right, Tim Cook is just a CEO.

        Anyway, many people is watching what Apple will shows in the market, because of they think it is a time.

    • mistergsf says:

      Wanting Apple to go bigger is one thing, but calling them “so far behind” because they haven’t is just plain stupid. When they choose to do so, I hope they will offer a choice for a smaller screen because that’s what I prefer. The current 4″ form factor is as big as I want to go for a device in my pants pocket. To imply Apply is behind on innovation because iPhones have a smaller screen is a tired argument.

      At home, I have a 48″ LCD TV. I could probably go with a bigger screen but I won’t because I just don’t have the room for it and frankly, 48″ is big enough for me. Would you go around telling people they should get a bigger TV, otherwise they are behind on the latest innovation?

  7. Not everyone thinks freakishly large phones are better. I’m looking forward to the 5S, but not iOS 7. The 3D background looks nice but will be an unnecessary drain on the battery and the flat icons just look ugly. If I want to see flat and unimaginative I can look at windows 8.

  8. iPads are running behind as Apple is trying how to add more than 6 dock icons in iOS 7.

  9. mkimid says:

    if just apply the covex design on the squre form in center of button, it may makes so much reading variation(error). I think, the current button is not enough to get the security.
    Just guess, even you lock the phone, but, somebody can unlock by 1/100 chances, it can be a secuire device ? or just toy to fun ? maybe 1/100 is too high ? how about 1/1000 ? anyway, I am so curious

  10. Ryan says:

    I wasn’t a fan of iOS7 AT ALL until I starting using it on my main iPhone. Now compared to iOS7, iOS6 seems super old and dated. Its crazy how your perception changes.

  11. bobborries says:

    This can’t be true! It’s just as lame as the brown colored Zune.

  12. gpulvi says:

    This time, the “S” can point to “Security”, right? In the 3GS model, it was for “Speed”, and in 4S, for “Siri”.

  13. y3kostiv says:

    iOS7 for iPad is just fine – I disagree with assessment. And I’m using iOS7 beta for a while on my iPhone. The icons feel good after a while – they are actually better and quicker recognizable. The big thing about iOS7 is that it’s somehow packed with the small unexplainable things that makes it’s usage a pleasure – subconsciously, I want to play with it all the time, which is draining the battery :)))) No, iOS7 is not draining the battery as some of you wrote here – it’s actually less battery-hungry then iOS6.

    I didn’t get one thing, won’t there be black model of 5s, the author said?

  14. kirkw21 says:

    I’m kind of surprised there hasn’t been any mention of 802.11ac WIFI in the iPhone 5S. Its available in the new MacBook Airs and the new Apple Extreme. Maybe its just a given and not news, but I’m highly interested in an iPhone and Apple TV combo with both supporting 802.11ac for streaming.

    • lxchee says:

      802.11ac is a given … I’d be extremely surprised if the 5S doesnt come with it.
      These are also a given on the new 5S…. better camera (or lens or software), faster A7 processor, 4G LTE, and better integration with iOS7.
      The rest, e.g. finger print sensor, more memory, … I’m not so sure.

  15. As for me, that gold-ish iphone looks absolutly BEAUTIFUL and iOS7 stunning, I am so getting it.

  16. If the biometric scanner is real, works properly and Apple combines it with the iCloud Keychain in the iPhone 5S, it’s going to be a huge leap forward in “user-friendliness”. Because this would ultimately lead to an entirely password-free user environment, since the keychain has all your user id:s and passwords and you simply activate/access the chain with your thumb.
    This would also be the answere to the question “Why should I get an iPhone instead of an Android?” – NO PASSWORDS!
    You can’t compete with that by adding inches to your screen, and if Samsung isn’t working on this already it’s going to take them a while to catch up.

  17. I work with a lot of security consultants who have told me they dont use fingerprint scanners because they are afraid of their biometrics being stolen.

    I am sure there are some folks in China who cant wait to hack and steal biometric data from phones. Could be great to use in other ways…..

  18. David Geller says:

    iOS 7 for iPad will release at the same time. They’re not fundamentally different projects. And, I agree with Livingston – it would be a nightmare for developers. The most recent beta has been solid on both my iPhone5 and iPad. I expect steading speed improvements with the iPad release within a week.

  19. warlockwarrior says:

    Can someone please tell me (without massively flaming me for not reading or keeping up on all the latest rumors) if they will still make a Black/Slate iPhone 5S?!

    Have been waiting with my 4S on upgrading, if they don’t make black/slate, I won’t upgrade and will be so very sad.

  20. Another reason to keep my 4s !

  21. As usual, the next iPhone model is essentially the same as the previous one.

    Without anything genuinely worth getting excited about, in the customary and excessive pre-launch hype surrounding Apple products, those seeking to hype the new iPhone must focus on details that fall into one of the following two categories:

    1) Trivial/superficial/cosmetic details.
    2) Fictional or speculative details (typically rumours and “leaks” deliberately circulated by Apple and its PR agencies).

    It’s too easy for Apple to milk loyal embedded tech reporters, and their websites and publications, to obtain free marketing and PR. It’s a lame state of affairs.