Apple's next iPhone will reportedly launch in a few short weeks. For consumers interested in purchasing what will probably be called the iPhone 5S, consider this an ongoing, shape-shifting compendium that you should bookmark immediately and re-check multiple times a day. (I kid... sorta.) Without further ado:
1. The (probable) release date
Although Apple hasn't confirmed that such an event exists, reports suggest the iPhone 5S will be formally unveiled on Sept. 10. If history holds true, and Apple actually launches the phone a week-and-a-half later, expect the iPhone to hit store shelves Sept. 20. Japanese trade publication Nikkei has confirmed the Sept. 10 launch date, MacRumors reports.
2. What's under the hood
This is a no-brainer, but according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (who has a solid track record when it comes to Apple rumors), the iPhone 5S will include some incremental spec bumps to make it faster, most notably a new A7 processor. Here's the full rundown of the purported specs:
If the iPhone 5S receives a dual-core A7 processor, notes tech blogger Steve Cheney, it should be 31 percent faster than the iPhone 5.
3. The camera
The camera on the iPhone 5 has received excellent marks from reviewers, but Kuo insists the iPhone 5S will support a new feature called "Smart Flash." Essentially, the camera will automatically decide whether to use a white or yellow flash depending on lighting. CNET reports that the aperture could see a drop down to f/2.0, which would put it on par with the HTC One. A larger aperture means better light-gobbling capabilities, which translates to sharper low-light photos.
4. A new fingerprint scanner in the home button
Apple could shore up the iPhone's defenses by potentially bolstering the four-number login. According to Kuo, the iPhone 5S will come sporting a first-of-its kind "fingerprint chip under the Home button, improving security and usability." Remember: Last July Apple bought AuthenTec, a security firm specializing in fingerprint-based technology. Using a biological imprint could prove to be the 5S's definitive feature.
5. The 5S could have a little sibling
Rumors have long persisted of a more affordable iPhone built from lower-cost parts like a polycarbonate shell, and leaked photos suggest it's all but an inevitability at this point. It's looking like the 4-inch iPhone 5C — as it's been dubbed — will replace the 4S in the iPhone's three-tier lineup. (You can read all about it here.) Engadget published the most recent photos of what the iPhone 5C will allegedly look like. It may even come in multiple, iPod-like colors.
6. It probably won't support wireless charging
Wireless charging technology has been around for a few years now. According to Taiwanese tech site DigiTimes — which, let's remember, has a spotty record when it comes to iPhone rumors — Samsung and Apple phones may soon be due for a wireless-charging upgrade. 9to5 Mac, however, says we shouldn't count on it, at least for 2013. While Apple has already filed several patents for magnetic inductive charging technology, senior vice president Phil Schiller recently downplayed the idea, admitting that the tech isn't at a point yet where it adds any notable convenience. "Having to create another device you have to plug into the wall is actually, for most situations, more complicated," said Schiller. In other words, don't get your hopes up.
7. It may come in gold
In addition to the usual black and white, the big (if somewhat silly) rumor is that the iPhone 5S will come tinted in gold. (Okay, it's more of a champagne.) Such a glitzy handset wouldn't be all that hard to produce either. iMore's Ally Kazmucha, who is familiar with Apple's manufacturing process, makes the point that gold is actually a much easier color to anodize onto aluminum than either black or white.
This article was last updated on Aug. 26, 2013. It was initially published on March 5, 2013.