updated 11:30 pm EDT, Thu March 28, 2013
Previe of Ive-redesigned iOS, low-cost model possible
A new rumor from Japan echoes previous speculation that the next iPhone -- presumably the "iPhone 5S" -- may be formally announced at a special event on Thursday, June 20. MacFan, currently celebrating its 20th anniversary as a Mac enthusiast site, claims that the new model will go on sale in July, a few weeks after its introduction. According to the report, a "low-cost" version of the iPhone aimed at the larger larger pre-paid market in developing countries such as China and India may debut in August.
The rumor, which is considered plausible, goes on to add that Apple may preview or even announce a new update of iOS that would feature the first real fruits of the design overhaul expected from SVP of Industrial Design Sir Jonathan Ive, though this part is listed as a "prediction" rather than a claim of insider knowledge. The idea of a June launch has gained credibility, as speculators see it as an effective way for Apple to counter any sales gains following the lacklustre debut of the latest Samsung Galaxy S4, which -- though marketed as a completely new model -- is really more like a "polishing" revision such as the iPhone 4S and the presumed iPhone 5S.
The launch date, if true, would be close to but not exactly on the sixth anniversary of the original iPhone debut in 2007. A previous rumor had suggested Apple would hold an event on the exact anniversary, however this year June 29 falls on a Saturday -- a very unusual day for Apple to announce a major new product.
The idea that users may get a glimpse or announcement of the overhauled iOS seems dubious, given that Ive is expected to produce a complete overhaul of the core design of the operating system. It is much more likely that Ive will share some details that would require developer attention at the next Worldwide Developer Conference, which is thought to be taking place June 10-14 in San Francisco. The full rollout of Ive's redesign is not expected to appear until the next full release of iOS, iOS 7 -- but no details or timeframe for the release have been revealed thus far.