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iPhone 5S and 5C Rumor Report: Which rumors were true, which were false?

iPhone gold main
Image used with permission by copyright holder

We do a lot of rumor reports, but nothing compares with the mass of reports that spew out about each new iPhone. Though last year was pretty tame, this year the gloves have come back off. Everything from fancy colors, to huge screens, to multiple iPhone models were again in the rumor mill.

The new iPhone is titled 5S. It, along with a cheaper iPhone 5C, have been revealed.

Updated 9-10-2013 by Jeffrey Van Camp: The iPhone 5S and 5C are official! I’ve marked the rumors that were true below, as well as the false rumors. For a complete list of updates, check the bottom of this article.


They will be unveiled Sept. 10 (TRUE)

iphone-5s-event-sept-10-inviteWe believe there will be two new iPhones coming (iPhone 5S and 5C), and Apple has sent out an official invite for a press event on Sept. 10, where we think they will be unveiled. Before the official invites came out, AllThingsD said the phones would indeed be unveiled Sept. 10. If true, this puts the iPhone announcement almost precisely a year after the iPhone 5 event, which was held on Sept. 12 last year. That event was a Wednesday last year and is a Tuesday this year. This means that pre-orders could start on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013 and it could ship sometime around Sept. 19 or 20 (the following Thursday or Friday). The invite also hints at some other things, which we’ll get into as we go along.

iPhone 5C: The cheap version (TRUE)

iPhone 5C BlueA smaller, cheaper version of the iPhone has been talked about for the past few years. Now, leaked pictures and reports indicate that a cheaper version of the iPhone 5S may be called the iPhone 5C (maybe iPhone 5 “Color”), have a plastic shell that comes in multiple colors, and will be priced between $300 and $400. MacRumors has a fantastic roundup all about the iPhone 5C, which will likely have a polycarbonate plastic shell and come in many neon-like colors (see the invite above). Users on the WeiPhone forums have posted pictures showing a supposed box of iPhone 5C packaging and phones in a variety of candy colors, like a red-ish pink, bright blue, Slimer green, white, and pale yellow. These colors do appear to fit the colorful palette of iOS 7, but they are not confirmed (nor is anything in this article). BGR has also obtained images of the 5C.

Piper Jaffrey analyst Gene Munster also believes that the iPhone 5C will not have Siri, a key feature of iOS.

(Our own Andy Boxall speculates on what the C in iPhone 5C really stands for.)

Leaked pics show similar design to iPhone 5 (VERY TRUE)

Way back in December 2012, photos of the next iPhone showed up online. This confirmed suspicions that the newest Apple hardware would be a bump up for the 5, rather than a radical design change. Think 4S, not 4. Though the outside may stay the same (or similar), the internals looked a little bit different. The images also prompted speculation of a dual-SIM iPhone.

This one comes in Gold, too (TRUE, IT DOES)

iPhone 5S Gold colorIt sounds ugly and un-Apple, but there are a lot of rumors now pointing toward a gold iPhone. We’ll get into the two possible models of the iPhone below, but only the high-end (aluminum) iPhone 5S is said to have the gold option, which will not be bright and gaudy. Supposedly, it’s more of a champagne, or subdued gold, like a can of Miller High Life. This rumor was first mentioned by iMore, then by TechCrunch, and finally verified by AllThingsD. Gold is one of the easiest colors to anodize onto aluminum. The image to the right comes from Weekly Ascii, a Japanese site.

It’s going to run iOS 7 (OH MOST DEFINITELY)

This isn’t a rumor, but when you see iOS 7, you might think it is. At WWDC in June, Apple unveiled iOS 7, which is the first big design shakeup for iOS since the iPhone debuted in 2007. The new version is flatter, brighter, and full of white screens. You can learn all about the new design in our iOS 7 Preview. Or read why we think it will succeed despite those criticizing it.

Will “unequivocably” have a fingerprint sensor (BOLD WORD, BUT YES)

There is a growing amount of evidence pointing toward the next iPhone having a fingerprint sensor built into the Home button. This could be used for authentication purposes in digital transactions or to unlock the phone. If you look at the Apple event invite above, there are some circles that are white with a silver border. Clayton Morris of Fox News told Leo Laporte and a studio full of guests that the iPhone 5S will have a fingerprint sensor, it will still concave in, and it will have a silver ring around the edge. Morris believes this “unequivocally.”

Though fingerprinting tends to scare people, recent comments by the NYC Mayor’s office and leaked photos also just about confirm that this will be a hardware feature. We’ve seen working fingerprint home buttons at the MWC trade show earlier this year, so we know it’s already possible.

iphone-5s-touch-id-leakNew evidence suggests that the fingerprint sensor may be called “Touch ID,” which hints that it will be used as an identification tool first and foremost – not that we really expected otherwise.

Apple’s purchase of AuthenTec in early 2012 is the strongest evidence of its fingerprinting desires. AuthenTec is a leader in the biometric sensor field. This could up authentication and security in the phone, removing the need to constantly login or deal with pins or lockscreens. A swipe or touch of your finger could do all the authenticating you need. That is, if it works. According to DigiTimes, early models had issues.

iPhone 5S faster (TRUE, with 64-BIT CPU)

Every new phone usually comes with a bump in processing power, and the iPhone 5S probably won’t end that trend. Clayton Morris of Fox News (again) believes that the new “A7” processing chip in the upcoming iPhone 5S will be about 31 percent faster than the iPhone 5. We don’t know what that means for graphics processing or if the OS will actually feel andy faster when you use it.

iPhone 5 to be discontinued? (TRUE)

Reports in late July indicate that Apple could break from tradition and stop selling the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S when the iPhone 5S and 5C come out. Usually, when Apple releases a new iPhone, the price of older models is cut, but they continue to be sold for about two years. This strategy has allowed Apple to hit multiple price points on its iPhone line, while continuing to solely focus on high-end devices each year. Demand for older iPhones is so strong that it’s reportedly a catalyst for stronger-than-expected iPhone sales in the past three months.

According to a rumor from Korean site Etnews, Apple may stop producing the iPhone 5 once the iPhone 5S and 5C go into production. This rumor makes sense. If the iPhone 5C exists and targets a lower price point, then it would end up competing with the iPhone 5 or iPhone 4S for customers. Apple hates producing two things when it can make one – it’s more profitable and less confusing to make one thing. Add in the fact that the iPhone 4S doesn’t even have 4G LTE capability and the move seems good for everyone. However, analysts like Goldman Sachs don’t think Apple will cancel old iPhones. Of course, Apple is facing a ban on the sale of all iPhone 4S and earlier models of the iPhone due to a patent dispute with Samsung. Perhaps that could have something to do with this rumored strategy.

It might integrate into your car dashboard (NOT DISCUSSED)

Digital Dash car touchscreen conceptAt WWDC, Apple unveiled “iOS in the Car,” which will integrate aspects of the iPhone and Siri into some cars. This may not be all, however. In last week’s earnings call, Tim Cook said that “having something in the automobile is very, very important.” A recently published patent shows that Apple is toying around with ways to further merge the car dashboard with iOS, or even enhance car functions alone. The patent shows some standard car dashboard controls being routed to a haptic touchscreen, or one with vibrating feedback when you touch it. This means you could perform basic functions from a touchscreen on the dashboard, and maybe your phone. Maybe your phone could dynamically change your entire dashboard? Either way, a huge touchscreen in our car dashboard could be very cool.

“It’s something that people want, and I think that Apple can do this in a unique way and better than anyone else,” said Cook July 23. “So it’s a key focus for us.”

Revamped display tech (NOT DISCUSSED)

This rumor is pretty minor and won’t make much of a difference to you, but Apple is reportedly looking for an alternate display technology. The old tech, which combined display and touch sensor for a thinner screen, is thought to be causing interference problems and also may be behind the shortage a few months back. The new technology, called “touch-on display,” is similar to the old, but will offer better touch sensing with less issues, said to be provided by Chimei Innolux.

13-megapixel camera with slow-mo (ITS ONLY 8MP)

This one originated with iLounge, which published information pointing to an upscale camera being included in the iPhone 5S. The update would hit the rear camera and bump it up to 13-megapixels while tossing in a heftier flash.

Megapixels are nice, but the next iPhone camera may have a few more tricks up its sleeve. 9to5 Mac reports that the next iPhone camera may be able to record at 120 frames per second, enabling slow-motion photography.

LiquidMetal frame, sapphire screen (NOPE)

gt advanced technologies sapphire screenThe BGR Boy Genius himself, Jonathan S. Geller, speculated on July 17 that Apple is encaseing the iPhone 5S in LiquidMetal and may use a sapphire screen to cover it. If true, this would make the iPhone 5S one of the most durable phones out there. LiquidMetal is supposedly twice as strong as titanium alloys. And if you’re wondering about sapphire screens, we saw first hand how awesome those are at MWC this year. You can check out our sapphire screen hands on here.

Wireless charging and NFC (NOPE)

In late 2012, an Apple patent was published that describes a new wireless charging technique. The technique would allow someone to create a wireless charging field on their desk or in their house of about 1 meter in diameter. If you own a bunch of Apple products, this sounds like a very cool idea.

According to the oft-mistaken China Times, Apple may also give in to the pressure and include NFC in the latest iPhone.

iPhone 5S to have larger, 4.3-inch screen (NOPE)

(We don’t believe this rumor is true anymore.)

The iPhone 5C looks like it’s about the size of a standard iPhone, but the iPhone 5S may see a size increase. Original rumors teased a larger 4.8-inch iPhone as the Math. The Math would be one of three iPhone versions announced under such a scenario, though Apple spreading out its brand that quickly seems far fetched.

There are a couple problems with a 4.8-inch iPhone. Apple chooses screen sizes very, very carefully and only recently upped the iPhone 5 to a 4-inch screen, which forced developers to modify existing apps to work with the new size. It seems odd that Apple would force another screen size change so soon.

More plausible is a slight increase to a 4.3-inch screen size. A Bloomberg report from mid-July indicated that Apple could delay the introduction of the iPhone 5S to increase its screen to 4.3 inches. In our experience, 4.3-inch screens are a sweet spot. The Droid Razr M (and new Droid Mini) hit this size perfectly and are some of the most comfortable phones to hold and use for everyone.

Or, maybe not. Tim Cook is on record saying that a bigger screen will not happen. But it wouldn’t be the first time Apple has denied something that later came true. Still, don’t hold your breath.

That’s it

There are plenty of rumors that did not pan out. We’re still waiting on the first phone with a sapphire screen. Will it be the iPhone 6? We’ll find out in a year.

Updated 9-10-2013 by Jeffrey Van Camp: More confirmation of a fingerprint sensor (pics) added, and I put in a link to Andy’s editorial on the iPhone 5C. Just a few more hours until we learn the truth!

Updated 9-9-2013 by Jeffrey Van Camp: The invites have been sent out, it looks like the fingerprint sensor is a go, the iPhone 5C will probably come in many colors, and the new iPhone’s gonna be faster. Oh, and we have photographic proof of many of these rumors now.

Updated 8-20-2013 by Jeffrey Van Camp: Added in the new gold iPhone rumor and new confirmation about the fingerprint sensor.

Updated on 8-13-2013 by Jeffrey Van Camp: Added in a new rumor that the iPhone 5C will not have Siri.

Updated on 8-11-2013 by Jeffrey Van Camp: iPhone 5 event date rumor has been added and a picture of the iPhone 5C from BGR.

Rewritten on 7-29-2013 by Jeffrey Van Camp: Overhauled all the rumors here. The iPhone 5S and now-called iPhone 5C are looking pretty interesting. All the latest rumors have been added.

Article originally published 4-5-2013. 

Jeffrey Van Camp
Former Digital Trends Contributor
As DT's Deputy Editor, Jeff helps oversee editorial operations at Digital Trends. Previously, he ran the site's…
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