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The iPhone 5S rumor roundup

It's inevitable...but when will it happen? The rumor roundup for Apple's next iPhone starts now.

Xiomara Blanco Associate Editor / Reviews - Tablets and monitors
Xiomara Blanco is an associate editor for CNET Reviews. She's a Bay Area native with a knack for tech that makes life easier and more enjoyable. So, don't expect her to review printers anytime soon.
Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Xiomara Blanco
Scott Stein
13 min read
iPhone 5S: Will it look the same as the iPhone 5? Sarah Tew/CNET

Editors' note: The Apple iPhones 5S and 5C have been announced. Is it everything our rumors hoped for? Check out our hands-on review here.

iPhone rumors are like flies at a summer picnic: they're nearly unstoppable. Collected in one batch are all the iPhone 5S/6 rumors CNET has reported so far, with some commentary on where these rumors came from.

iPhone 6: Most-wanted features (pictures)

See all photos

We always have long wish lists for newer features and further redesigns, but the bottom line is this: nobody knows exactly what we'll get until Tim Cook reveals it onstage later this year.

That said, we've got plenty of educated guesses. But before we get started:

When will we get it:
Odds are strong that the immediate successor to the iPhone 5 will debut in September or October -- the last two iPhones were announced within the same window.

The release will all but certainly coincide with the availability of iOS 7 and the new phone's design should follow the iPhone 5's.

Beyond those obvious notes, the areas that seem most ripe for updating on the "iPhone 5S" would be the resolution of the cameras. And now that there's a 128GB iPad, maybe there will finally be a 128GB iPhone option, too.

What we don't know:
Everything else is pretty much a crapshoot. A bigger screen? CEO Tim Cook says no -- but saying one thing and doing the opposite would hardly be a first for Apple. Beyond a screen size change, though, Apple could also go with a different technology -- say, IGZO or OLED.

There are plenty of other unknowns, too. Will there be another iPhone that debuts with a fall model? Could the iPhone product line split into several differently sized models? Will an affordable "new" budget-line iPhone emerge? Will Apple finally add NFC to the iPhone, as part of a new mobile payments scheme? Anything could happen. Or not.

CNET Top 5
Watch this: iPhone 5S most-wanted features

As more rumors emerge, they'll be added here.

The rumors thus far:

September 4, 2013
Japanese suppliers said to ramp up iPhone 5S, 5C parts production
Suppliers of various iPhone components are producing parts in full-force in anticipation of the iPhone's product launch.

September 3, 2013
iPhone 5S to come with fingerprint sensor, photo suggests
A new photo supports previous claims about anticipated fingerprint-scanning technology featured on Apple's next iPhone.

September 3, 2013
Apple sends out invites for Sept. 10 iPhone event
It's official! Invites have been sent for the September 10 event, and we're expecting at least one new iPhone.

September 2, 2013
iPhone 5C colorful packaging pops up in leaked photos
New leaked photos show what looks like the iPhone 5C packaging in pink, yellow, blue, and green.

August 28, 2013
Gold iPhone 5S back goes under the knife -- literally
A new video shows the gold colored iPhone 5S enduring a knife scratch test.

August 26, 2013
For NTT Docomo, iPhone 5S release date is all about timing
An executive from Japan's largest carrier addressed the possibility of NTT Docomo handling sales of the iPhone 5S.

August 26, 2013
Purported iPhone 5S pictures point to graphite shade
Leaked photos of the iPhone 5S suggest there will be a gray-colored model of the phone, in addition to the back, white, and champagne offerings.

Purported graphite iPhone 5S
Sonny Dickson

August 25, 2013
Chatter surfaces about 'fast' Apple A7 chip for iPhone 5S
Apple's next-generation A7 chip is expected to land inside the next iPhone.

August 24, 2013
iPhone 5S release dates, specs keep pouring in
The flood of rumors about the purported iPhone 5S specs are outlined.

August 24, 2013
Is this the iPhone 5C being tested?
Another photo, this time of a batch of iPhone 5Cs being tested, has leaked.

August 22, 2013
iPhone 5S, 5C release date set in China, rumor claims
A new rumor posits that the Chinese release date for the iPhone 5S and 5C will be about two months after the US launch.

August 22, 2013
More photos of the gold iPhone emerge
High-resolution photos of Apple's new gold iPhone have leaked. The debate on whether it's hue is more champagne than gold continues.

August 22, 2013
Gold-colored iPhone pictured alongside white, black models
A Japanese publication published photos of what it claims is the rumored gold iPhone.

App Advice

August 21, 2013
Possible iPhone 5C casing endures damage tests
The rear plastic backing that is suspected to adorn Apple's next budget iPhone is already being tested for durability.

August 21, 2013
iPhone 5S, 5C will reportedly land in Japan on Sept. 20
The two rumored iPhones, including the gold option for the 5S, are expected to arrive in Japan mid-September.

August 16, 2013
Blingy gold iPhone casing crops up in pics, likely for 5S
Photos of a gold model of Apple's next iPhone have popped up on a French Apple site.

August 15, 2013
iPhone 5S focus of Japan display maker, says analyst
A major Apple supplier of iPhone 5 displays is focusing on production volumes for the next iPhone.

Sonny Dickson

August 14, 2013
iPhone 5C shows its backside in video leak
A new HD video offers a detailed look of a canary-yellow housing for the alleged iPhone 5C.

August 13, 2013
Low-cost iPhone may dump Siri, says analyst
The cheaper version of the new iPhone is expected to skip on Apple's voice assistant.

August 12, 2013
Apple to unveil new iPhone September 10?
Apple is expected to reveal the new iPhone at a September 10 event.

August 11, 2013
iPhone 5S gets glitzy? Sapphire home button, gold option
Japanese Apple sites speculate that the 5S will get a convex sapphire home button, as well as a "champagne gold" colored version of the phone.

August 7, 2013
New, high-quality shots of 'iPhone 5C' casing appear
Photos of what appears to be Apple's lower-cost iPhone have cropped up, revealing an updated white, plastic rear case.

Sonny Dickson

July 16, 2013
Apple delaying iPhone 5S due to switch in screen size?
The iPhone 5S is reportedly delayed due to a manufacturing change in screen size from 4 inches to 4.3 inches.

July 16, 2013
iPhone 5S hit by fingerprint sensor issues, claims report
Initial supplies of the new iPhone are expected to suffer due to problems with Apple's fingerprint-recognition technology.

July 15, 2013
Apple gearing up iPhone 5S for output this month, analyst says
The manufacturing of the iPhone 5S is speculated to begin later in July, with small-batch production of a low-cost iPhone already in progress. The estimated availability would be in late September or early October.

July 5, 2013
Cheap iPhone shown off in colorful mock-ups
The speculated budget iPhone could be called the iPhone Light and sport a plastic case that comes in a rainbow of colors, as well as having lower specs.


July 1, 2013
LTE-Advanced iPhone 5S and budget model rumors surface
A Korean news outlet expects a version of the iPhone 5S with high-speed LTE, and a Chinese tech blog claims the budget iPhone is expected to be offered in several different colors.

June 21, 2013
New iPhone 5S photos reportedly surface
New photos show a tweaked rear shell with a larger LED flash and a main logic board with a new layout for components.

June 9, 2013
No redesigned iPhone expected this year, report says
The Wall Street Journal reports Apple's next smartphone won't be dramatically different than the current model.

May 23, 2013
iPhone 5S and low-cost iPhone said to be multicolored
The rumored iPhone 5S might come in green, gold, or pink, and there's the possibility of a dual-LED flash.

May 8, 2013
Morgan Stanley sees new iPhones by September
A Morgan Stanley note to investors stated multiple new iPhones are coming in September with production starting in June or July.

May 7, 2013
'Next' iPhone display production to begin, says Japan report
Sharp will begin production of the display "panel" for the "next" iPhone model at its Kameyama plant in Mie prefecture in June, according to a report in a major Japanese industrial newspaper.

April 22, 2013
Citi goes sour on Apple, claims iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 delay
Another rumored delay to the release of the new iPhone pushes back its release date from July to August or September.

April 18, 2013
Image leaks of lower-cost iPhone with plastic case
Mobile case maker Tactus shared a photo of what it claims is the a white iPhone with a plastic backing, following earlier reports that Apple might try to sell a cheaper handset without the aluminum finish in previous iPhone models.


April 16, 2013
Apple's iPhone 5S, low-cost iPhone, iPhone 6 may be delayed
Issues with preproduction could cause mass production delays on the majority of Apple's mobile devices, including the rumored iPhone 5S.

April 15, 2013
Latest iPhone 5S rumor pegs camera at 12 megapixels
The next version of the iPhone could pack in an extra 4 megapixels to its camera at 12 megapixels, instead of the 8 megapixel sensor found on both the iPhone 5 and 4S.

April 9, 2013
iPhone 5S to offer multiple screen sizes, analyst says
iPhone 5S buyers could have at least two or possibly three different screen sizes to choose from.

April 3, 2013
Rumor has it Apple's iOS 7 development is delayed
There hasn't been any concrete news that an iOS 7 is even in the works, but that doesn't stop chatter about it being behind schedule and having a brand-new display.

April 2, 2013
Summer iPhone debut in Apple's plans?
The latest rumor via the Wall Street Journal would have Apple returning to its summer product introduction cycle for its flagship smartphone.

April 1, 2013
Next two iPhones may have been designed under Steve Jobs
During discussions about phone theft with an Apple liaison, San Francisco's district attorney says he was told the next two generations have already been designed and that "they preceded Tim Cook." if true, not exactly a shocker.


March 29, 2013
iPhone 5S to launch June 20, go on sale in July, claims report
A report from Japanese Web Site MacFan seems the first to suggest a specific date for the launch of the next iPhone.

March 26, 2013
iPhone 5S expected to launch in late June, says analyst
The next-generation iPhone should start shipping by the end of June, followed by a low-cost iPhone in the September quarter, says analyst Gene Munster.

March 22, 2013
Apple to launch low-end iPhone without Retina in 2013, says report
That's the claim from Amit Daryanani of RBC Capital Markets, who says the device will have a 4-inch display and come with plastic casing.

March 21, 2013
iPhone 5S to use faster chip and higher-end camera, says report
As expected, the next-generation iPhone won't be a major upgrade over the iPhone 5 but will offer a beefier processor and camera, according to DigiTimes.


March 18, 2013
iPhone 5S will bring back 'one more thing,' analyst says
On the heels of a Galaxy S4 release that was solid but not mind-blowing, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty says Apple is planning a killer software feature for the next iPhone.

March 14, 2013
Apple's next-gen iPhone chip being prepped
Apple's next-gen iPhone chip will get "taped out" this month in preparation for pilot production this summer, says an Asia-based report from DigiTimes.

March 8, 2013
Apple, Samsung to offer wireless phone charging, says DigiTimes report
DigiTimes is at it again, this time claiming sources promise that the next iPhone will feature Apple-developed wireless-charging technology.

March 5, 2013
iPhone 5S production rumored to have already begun
Foxconn production of the iPhone 5S is beginning, at least in part, according to a report from Japanese-language Apple blog Macotakara.

March 5, 2013
iPhone 5S rumored to launch in August, new iPads in April
The next iPhone could arrive by the end of the summer, but the next-generation iPads may debut as soon as next month, claims iMore.

How different could a budget iPhone 5 case look from the current model? Josh Lowensohn/CNET

March 4, 2013
Analyst reiterates "July" launch of iPhone 5S, low-cost iPhone
KGI Securities released another note that spells out features of the upcoming iPhone 5S and a low-cost iPhone 5. For the iPhone 5S, the claims are that it will feature an A7 processor, LED "smart flash" for the camera, and a fingerprint reader. For the budget iPhone 5, KGI claims a case made of fiberglass and plastic.

February 28, 2013
Bigger, thicker, cheaper plastic iPhone coming later this year, report says
New report says Apple is cooking up a 4.5-inch plastic iPhone that will cost far less than current models but won't ship till next year.

February 19, 2013
Apple could launch "iPhone Mini" this summer, says analyst
Launched in China, a lower-cost iPhone might triple Apple's potential market share in the country, says a Morgan Stanley analyst.

Alleged photo of iPhone 5S from Chinese Web site ZOL. SJBBS.ZOL.COM.CN

February 11, 2013
More alleged iPhone 5S photos leak online
Another round of photos reportedly of the next-generation iPhone have popped up online, this time at a Chinese Web site.

February 7, 2013
iPhone 5S, five-inch iPhone 6 allegedly spotted at supplier
A poster on Chinese microblogging site says that a friend has seen the much-rumored models and that they could be released this year, taking the Sasquatch report up to 11 with tales of a 5-inch iPhone 6.

January 29, 2013
Low-cost iPhone will be like a plastic iPhone 5, claims site
The much-rumored budget iPhone will borrow many elements from the current model but use a plastic design, says iLounge. The site claims the budget phone will be something like a fusion of the iPhone 5 and fifth-gen iPod Touch.

January 27, 2013
Images of alleged next-gen iPhone components surface
A French blog posts images of what it says are speaker components for the next round of Apple smartphones, what it calls an iPhone 5S and iPhone 6. Blurry, close-up shots of speaker components don't tell much of a story, though.

January 25, 2013
iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini rumors afoot: Upgraded iPhone rear camera
According to another iLounge report, the iPhone 5S will feature a 13-megapixel rear camera from Sony.

Apple Digger RU

January 22, 2013
Renderings tease what a 4.8-inch iPhone would look like
Continuing along the rumor that Apple is preparing an even larger-screened iPhone for 2014 (see below), Russian Apple news site Apple Digger created renderings of what such a device would look like. This is speculation on top of rumor.

January 22, 2013
Bigger iPhone still coming -- just not this year, report says
If you're holding out for a 5-inch iPhone, you might have to wait until 2014, a new report from DigiTimes (which must be taken with a whole shaker of salt) claims.

January 22, 2013
Rumor: 4.8-inch iPhone to debut in June
A Google translation from the Chinese language Commercial Times points to a larger-screened iPhone in time for the Worldewide Developers Conference. While it's a sketchy rumor, it seems reasonable that Apple will get serious about taking on smartphones like Samsung's 4.8-inch Galaxy S3.

Nak Design's concept art for the iPhone 6. Antoine Brieux of NAK Studio

January 16, 2013
The iPhone 6 won't wow: 6 reasons why
As an iPhone rumor palate-cleanser, Eric Mack discusses the reasons why the next iPhone isn't likely to impress.

January 16, 2013
iPhone 5S, low-cost iPhone 5 to debut this summer, analyst says
We may see both the iPhone 5S and a lower-cost iPhone 5 variant in June or July, says KGI Securities' Ming-Chi Kuo.

January 15, 2013
Low-cost iPhone might use plastic body, report claims
The latest tidbit among the low-cost iPhone rumors suggests the phone would use an all-plastic body or a combination of plastic and metal, once again according to DigiTimes.

January 11, 2013
New intrigue on trail of cheaper iPhone
Reuters had cryptically withdrawn a story pegged to remarks purportedly made by Apple's Phil Schiller in China. Now the story's back with a nip and a tuck or two.

January 10, 2013
Apple's Schiller: A cheaper iPhone? Um, no
In an interview with a Chinese newspaper, Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, purportedly says there's no truth in reports that Apple will make a cheaper iPhone.

January 10, 2013
Cheap iPhone could appeal to a half billion people, Munster says
A low-cost iPhone would give Apple access to 65 percent of the smartphone market where its current lineup of high-end phones don't play, says Apple bull Gene Munster.

January 9, 2013
Rumor: Cheaper iPhone could cost as little as $99, Bloomberg says
Piling onto the latest rumors of a cheaper iPhone on the horizon, a source tells Bloomberg the device could sell for between $99 and $149.

The fifth-gen iPod Touch. Sarah Tew/CNET

January 8, 2013
Apple prepping a less-expensive iPhone, WSJ reports -- again
Following DigiTimes, of all places, the Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is working on a less-expensive iPhone and could launch it later this year -- which is pretty much what the WSJ also reported...two years ago.

January 8, 2013
Low-cost iPhone heading to emerging markets this year -- report
Apple plans to launch a new iPhone version designed exclusively for China and emerging markets that could be available in the second half of 2013, according to DigiTimes' sources.

January 4, 2013
Apple could launch 'iPhone Mini' next year, analyst says
In its ongoing battle against Samsung, Apple may be forced to unveil a smaller, cheaper version of its flagship phone, says Strategy Analytics.

January 3, 2013
Apple said to be eyeing new display tech for next iPhone
The iPhone 5 is just a few months old but its "in-cell" touch technology may already be old news, according to a new report.

December 27, 2012
Apple rumor watch: iOS timepiece on drawing board?
A rumor out of China suggests that Apple is teaming up with Intel to fashion a bona-fide iOS-based watch. Business Insider reported the rumor via Chinese tech blog Tech163.com. Perhaps this is part of the next-gen iPhone strategy?

December 5, 2012
Could the iPhone line split?
CBS' Dan Farber speculates that a larger-screened iPhone would make perfect sense after the iPad Mini. The debut of another model could justify another launch date, much like the iPad Mini did for the iPad.

A rumored picture of the iPhone 5S. Screenshot taken by Roger Cheng/CNET

December 5, 2012
Possible iPhone 5S pics show same design
Pictures of the next-generation iPhone have already surfaced via an online forum (iPhone5parts.net, as reported by French Web site Nowhereelse.fr), but show few differences on the exterior of the device other than a different screw placement.