It's increasingly looking like Christmas will come early this year for iPhone lovers. Analysts are homing in on late June, or early July at the latest, for a launch date for the iPhone 5S.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster predicts that the new iPhone will be with us by late June, and that by September (the time the iPhone 5 came out last year) Apple will have a new, low-cost iPhone out, designed for emerging markets.
Mr Munster is of course the man who predicted there would be an Apple-branded TV set launched by 2011, so he doesn't exactly have an unblemished track record when it comes to predicting what Apple is and isn't about to do.
But his guidance is more or less in line with what some other analysts have been saying. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has pegged late June or early July as the launch date for the iPhone 5S, which, as the name suggests, is expected to represent only a minor upgrade over the iPhone 5.
The iPhone 5S is expected to have a faster processor - a quad-core chip running at 1.2 GHz, not to be confused with the octa-core, 1.6 GHz chip announced for the Samsung Galaxy S 4 - some extra memory and possibly a fingerprint scanner, though opinion is divided on whether the biometric security feature will appear in the 5S or in the iPhone 6, expected next year.
This year's model could also have some sort of a "Smart Flash" technology built into the camera, though it's unclear just what that technology might be. It could be something to improve the white balance in low-light images, or it could be as simple as a flash that fires off just a little, to reduce shadowing in subjects' faces without making the photo look like a bomb has just exploded in the vicinity, as phone flashes are wont to do.
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