When Apple unveiled the iPhone 5, the reaction was a bit muted: where previous phones were massive leaps forward, the iPhone 5 was a bit longer and a lot easier to scratch.
So what can we expect from the next iPhone; will it be the iPhone 6 or seemingly closer 5S or even 5C? Let's see what we can glean from the varying sources of the internet - some reliable, some not so much. But when might the iPhone 6 release date even be?
iPhone 6 and the iPhone 5S are two different phones
The rumour mill doesn't seem too sure whether the next iPhone is going to be the iPhone 5S or the iPhone 6. Given the iPhone's history - from the 3G onwards, there's always been a half-step S model before the next numbered iPhone - we'd bet on an iPhone 5S first and an iPhone 6 a while later.
However, in May 2013 Stuff reported it received a photo of the till system at a Vodafone UK store (which it has since removed along with the reference to Vodafone), with '4G iPhone 6' listed. Interesting.
It's been suggested that there could even be three size variants of the new iPhone - check out these mocked up images by artist Peter Zigich. He calls the handsets iPhone 6 Mini, iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 XL. However, as ZDNet rightly points out, different size variants aren't exactly easy to just magic out of thin air.
Could we see both an iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 this year? Some reports suggest a new 5S in the middle part of the year before a revamped iPhone 6 towards the end of the year or very early in 2014.
FutTv : k5C7uNPo0Lkau
iPhone 6 release date
Many pundits predict a summer iPhone 6 release date. It's quite likely that Apple is moving to a two-phones-per-year upgrade cycle, but we'd bet on a springtime 5S model and a bigger, iPhone 6, update in the Autumn, probably September.
Digitimes predicts a summertime reveal for Apple's next generation phones, which again fits with a WWDC unveiling. In May it became clear that US carrier Verizon introduced an iPhone 5 price cut of as much as $100 USD.
Reports in April also suggested that Foxconn has added as many as 10,000 assembly line workers per week to its Zhengzhou plant as it readies itself for the iPhone 6 release date.
But Jefferies analyst Peter Misek reckons we'll see an iPhone 5S first, with a June 2014 release for the iPhone 6. Citi's Glen Yeung also believes that we won't see an iPhone 6 or cheap iPhone until 2014.
iPhone 6 casing
Multiple rumours say Apple's working on plastic cases for its next iPhone, mixing plastic and metal in such a way that "the internal metal parts [are] able to be seen from outside through special design." Could these images from Apple.pro be a new iPhone 6 complete with plastic casing? The cynic inside us says no, but you never know...
It's unclear whether such cases would be for the iPhone 5S or iPhone 6, or if Apple is simply considering making cheaper iPhone 4s to sell when the iPhone 3GS reaches the end of its life.
Speaking in March 2013, a KGI analyst said it believed Apple would turn to manufacturer Pegatron to make up to 75 per cent of low cost iPhone products. Indeed, rumours in early June 2013 pointed at a $399 price point for the cheap iPhone 6. We've also seen further supposedly leaked images of an all-white, plastic handset, but we're really not sure of the provenance.
The iPhone 6 will finally do NFC
That's what iDownloadblog reckons, quoting Jefferies analyst Peter Misek: it'll have a better battery too, he says. Many Android phones now boast NFC.
PayPal's chief information security officer, Michael Barrett said this during a recent keynote speech: "There is going to be a fingerprint enabled phone on the market later this year," he said. "Not just one, multiple."
Could this be inside the iPhone 6?
See our video below on what Apple needs to do to slay Samsung's Galaxy S4
FutTv : 92l21W4GmvvId
The iPhone 6 will run iOS 7
iOS 7 has been announced at WWDC 2013. It's a radical overhaul of the OS, especially in terms of the design which has fundamentally changed and is far flatter and more Android-like. There are rounded icons, striking colours and a stark font. There are new features, of course, such as Control Center, AirDrop and iTunes Radio.
We're expecting a September or October release date for iOS 7 in line with previous releases.
iPhone 6 storage
We've already seen a 128GB iPad, so why not a 128GB iPhone 6? Yes, it'll cost a fortune, but high-spending early adopters love this stuff.
iPhone 6 home button
According to Business Insider, of the many iPhone 6 prototypes Apple has made, one has a giant Retina+ IGZO display and a "new form factor with no home button. Gesture control is also possibly included" - more on that shortly. Mind you, it was mooted that Apple would dump the home button in time for iPhone 5, but it never happened.
iPhone 6 screen
The Retina+ Sharp IGZO display, would have a 1080p Full HD resolution. It's also been widely reported that Apple could introduce two handset sizes as it seeks to compete with the plethora of Android devices now on the market.
Take this one with a pinch of salt, because China Times isn't always right: it reckons the codename iPhone Math, which may be a mistranslation of iPhone+, will have a 4.8-inch display. The same report suggests that Apple will release multiple handsets throughout the year over and above the iPhone 5S and 6, which seems a bit far-fetched to us.
Could the touch screen even be transparent? Emirates 24/7 sin't the first source we'd turn to for bone fide rumours about a new smartphone, but it claims that an ultra-sensitive transparent touchscreen will make it into iPhone 6. The site also believes the display will be made by Sharp, which wouldn't be so surprising. One thing's for sure - a potential wraparound screen is probably a pipedream.
Jefferies analyst Peter Misek also says he believes the new iPhone will have a bigger screen. Different sizes also seem rather likely to us - the word on the street after WWDC 2013 was that there would be 4.7 and 5.7-inch versions.
iPhone 6 processor
Not a huge surprise, this one: the current processor is a dual-core A6, and the next one will be a quad-core A7. The big sell here is more power with better efficiency, which should help battery life.
Expect to see it in the 2013 iPad first, and expect to see an improved A6 processor, the A6X, in the iPhone 5S.
iPhone 6 camera
Apple's bought camera sensors from Sony before, and this year we're going to see a new, 13-megapixel sensor that takes up less room without compromising image quality.
An Apple patent, uncovered by Apple Insider in May 2013, shows a system where an iPhone can remotely control other illuminating devices - extra flashes. It would work in a similar manner to that seen in professional photography studios. Interesting stuff.
iPhone 6 eye tracking
One thing seems certain - Apple can't ignore the massive movement towards eye-tracking tech from other vendors, especially Samsung. It seems a shoe-in that Apple will deliver some kind of motion tech within the next iPhone, probably from uMoove.
iPhone 6 fingerprint sensor
Could the iPhone 6 also have a fingerprint scanner. It's been rumoured for a while now. As BGR reports, this could be embedded in the display. It cites a patent filed by Apple in mid July 2013. A new version of the iOS 7 beta was released in late July and it included a new folder named"BiometricKitUI." Could this be the link to the new sensor in the OS?
The new iPhone will have better 4G LTE
On its UK launch, just one UK network had 4G LTE: Everything Everywhere, which currently offers 4G on the 1800MHz band. In 2013, all the other big names will be coming on board, offering 4G in other frequency bands. International iPhones already work across different 4G bands to the UK, so you can expect the UK iPhone 6 (and possibly the iPhone 5S) to be more promiscuous than the iPhone 5.
By the time the iPhone 6 emerges, iOS devices should also have "nonclassified communication approval" status from the US FCC, which means they won't need to go through a lengthy approval process.
Wireless charging still isn't mainstream. Could Apple help give it a push? CP Tech reports that Apple has filed a patent for efficient wireless charging, but then again Apple has filed patents for pretty much anything imaginable.
The tasty bit of this particular patent is that Apple's tech wouldn't just charge one device, but multiple ones. Here are more details on the iPhone 6 wireless charging patent.
Meanwhile, a further Apple patent seems to imply that future iPhones will be able to adjust volume as you move them away from your ear.