updated 10:00 pm EDT, Thu July 25, 2013
Board is similar to existing iPhone 5, but sports small differences
An alleged "motherboard" from an iPhone 5S has turned up at a Chinese repair shop called iHospital. Lending credibility to the report is the fact that the new photos exactly match a motherboard leaked a more than a month ago, including some changes in layout. It is clearly possible that both leaked boards were fakes, but the new photos show that the boards are in production (since they are pictured as a pair in a snap-out card) and further support the reports that the iPhone 5S will sport multiple internal improvements, including the camera and graphics.
The overall size and shape of the leaked motherboard roughly matches that of the existing iPhone 5, hinting (as expected) that the external appearance and general size of the iPhone 5S won't be significantly different. Rumors have suggested that the next iPhone model will sport faster graphics, more RAM (doubling the existing 1GB), will use a new "A7" processor and offer a 12-megapixel rear camera.
Other reports have suggested it might also include Near-Field Compatibility (NFC) support, advanced low-light optical processing and a fingerprint sensor on the home button to help deter theft or misuse. A new screen technology may or may not also be in the cards, though this would not materially impact most users.
Analyst Maynard Um has speculated that Apple may launch the phone on September 27, reasoning that the company prefers Friday launches and the date would be the first Friday following the official beginning of fall, the time frame the company promised for the product. Such a late launch would also mean that few if any iPhone 5S sales would fall during the company's fiscal fourth quarter -- which ends on September 30 -- leaving the full impact of the new model to be seen in the fiscal Q1 2014 holiday period.