updated 12:30 am EDT, Tue April 16, 2013
Sightings suggest that active testing is underway
Developer and website logs have begun to record visits from a previously unknown iPhone model, and even indicating that the devices are using iOS 7, the next major revision that is expected to offer a design overhaul as well. While such OS and device data may possibly be faked, many of the reports are from the unique IP block assigned to Apple, lending credibility. The activity indicates that testing is well underway, making at least a preview of iOS 7 much more likely at the Worldwide Developer's Conference, expected to happen in June.
The revelations don't reveal anything in the way of hardware or software specs on the new software or devices, but simply point out that Apple is testing the devices ahead of their debut. The logs show an "iPhone6,1" flag, which would be in keeping with the "iPhone 5S" that is expected to be released later this year, possibly this summer. June 29 of this year will mark the sixth anniversary of the iPhone, leading some to speculate that the next iPhone will carry the "6" moniker rather than the expected "5S," which would also suggest major new features or an overhauled design, or both.
Apple began a redesign effort on iOS 7 after the departure of Scott Forstall,, with Sir Jonathan Ive now in charge of a unified new look for thematic elements. The effort will be the first total overhaul -- rather than refinement -- of the mobile OS since its introduction.