Jul 19 2013, 8:24am CDT | by Deidre Richardson
Whenever it’s time for a new iPhone announcement, you can always expect the crazy rumors to start churning. In the few years I’ve worked in Apple news, I can tell you that crazy rumors don’t start churning until some eight or nine weeks prior to the announcement. It seems as if we’re in the eight-week mark, and the rumors have started to pick up.
A new rumor from the Taiwanese newspaper, Commercial Times, says that the iPhone 5S delay has not been caused by the fingerprint scanner implementation, as we’ve heard from other sources; rather, the delay is due to the fact that Apple has changed the display size from 4 inches to 4.3 inches. Bloomberg News picked up the unlikely rumor:
“Apple Inc. (AAPL) may delay the introduction of the iPhone 5S until the end of the year after the design was changed to feature a bigger 4.3-inch retina display screen, the Commercial Times reported. The company previously scheduled the release for September or October, the Taiwanese newspaper reported, citing unidentified people in the semiconductor industry.”
Some commenters have taken to the web to argue how ridiculous a rumor this is, but I think it’s worth considering. After all, no one knows the mind of Apple’s engineering team. With that said, we can’t be sure this isn’t a possibility.
At the same time, if the rumor is true, then we have a major problem: how can Apple explain the images surfacing around the web right now that show the budget iPhone having a 4-inch display, similar to that of the current iPhone 5? And what about the fact that the iPhone 5S has been rumored to have the same size display as the iPhone 5? Either the photos deceive us, or the new rumor does. Both can’t be right.
What do I believe about the new rumor? I believe that the new rumor is intended to generate hype for Apple fans who would clearly love a larger screen size. Before Apple decided to improve its screen size to 4 inches in the iPhone 5, rumors continued to circulate year after year that said “Apple’s gonna change the iPhone screen size”; none of those, however, materialized.
With that said, I doubt Apple would change the iPhone 5 screen size, then turn around and change the same screen size on a basic iteration of the iPhone 5. If Apple intends to change screen size, it will not happen until, at the earliest, the iPhone 6.
Think about this: Apple has spent major time on preparing the new budget iPhone for its unveiling this Fall. Apple does not have the production manpower to work on the budget iPhone and make major changes to the iPhone 5S, all at once. Keep in mind that the iPhone 5S will come with a fingerprint scanner, a scanner that has been a thorn in Apple’s side so far. It is no secret that Foxconn has been unable to produce iPhones, and the new fingerprint scanner addition will only serve to make the process more complex.
Last but not least, Apple is not one to make decisions, then change them right before production starts or during the middle of production. The only companies that do that are the ones that want to fail before they begin.
The budget iPhone is Apple’s way of offering a little variety and competing with Samsung in the mid-range field of smartphones. The company’s goal is to show it can create a low-cost iPhone that can be just as loveable as Samsung’s without resorting to low-quality materials to do so.
There are many individuals this year who want the budget iPhone because it can be bought outright without subsidy; at the same time, Apple does not want to give off the impression that the budget iPhone is low-quality; with that said, I do not think distinguishing the two in terms of screen size will help the matter – although it seems to be a decent move for Apple if the company intended to distinguish between the two models.
If there are distinctions between the budget iPhone and the iPhone 5S, these distinctions will be in the areas of materials (polycarbonate plastic vs. aluminum metal), the screen resolution, as well as other accessories.
The iPhone 5S will have Retina, but don’t hold out hope for the budget iPhone to have Retina (this is an additional charge, and, like the iPad Mini, Apple wants to keep costs low). I imagine the fingerprint scanner will not be a part of the new budget iPhone as well. If the fingerprint scanner proves difficult for the expensive iPhone, what will it do for the inexpensive one?
The camera on the budget iPhone may not be as high as that on the iPhone 5S, since a larger-megapixel camera will require greater cost. If the original iPad Mini shows us anything, it’s that Apple likes to start off by keeping things simple. This trajectory will bring us to the budget iPhone introduction.
Deidre Richardson is a long-time Apple fan and reports passionate about the latest Apple news and rumors.
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