Right now, what we can actually confirm about the new iOS 7 and iPhone 5S/6 is basically non-existent. Apple's not telling us anything yet, including whether the new iPhone will be the 5S or 6, or when the new operating system - iOS 7 will be released.
Yet a network of leaked documents, reports from test developers and the internet has lead to rumours flying around as to what will feature. Rather than put together a wishlist for iOS 7, we've rounded up the rumours as they stand today with links for each one so you can read more and decide for yourself. We'll be updating the post as the days/weeks go!
While many things have changed on the iPhone over the years, the way in which you type has been consistent. While apps have launched to offer a different typing experience, the native keyboard has remained the same. While the addition of a Swype keyboard (which allows you to swipe to write words, instead of tapping keys) hasn't been officially announced or discussed by the senior heads at Apple, the VP of Swype Aaron Sheedy said in response to the question on Reddit:
"Hah. The million (okay billion) $ questions. Yes, we have chatted with them. They are very smart and nice."
The Release Date
The one we're all waiting for, when will it be released? A leaked document suggests that iOS 6 could be available on the iPhone 5S-6 to pre-order on June 20th. This could hit the shops in early July, which would go against Tim Cook's assertion that no new products would be launched before Autumn this year. Who to believe? Either way, it's a near certainty that the new iOS7 will be revealed at Apple's annual developer conference in June.
[Update] A report on Bloomberg claims that a drastic overhaul of the software by Jonathan Ive could see the release date pushed back further. Apparently, internal deadlines for submitting new features are being set later than on past software releases.
A Flat Appearance
A well-established rumour by now concerns the appearance of iOS 7. The appearance of buttons and icons will supposedly have a 'flatter' appearance, and will lose the bubbly effect that's been a standard feature since the original iPhone. According to those who had their hands on it, it will be "very, very flat". So that clears things up.
According to most reports, circulating from the original leaked document, the new iPhone will feature a 13MP rear camera, although details of the front-facing camera have yet to be confirmed/discussed. The iPhone 5 (below) has a 8MP camera.
An interesting one here. Apparently, devices currently running on iOS will have polarising filters to help prevent people sneaking a peek at your screen. In our age of privacy hysteria, if this is true, this could actually be a huge selling point for the new software and device.
To help improve security, there will reportedly be a finger sensor beneath the home button on the new iPhone (5S or 6). There are very few details available on this right now, but it's likely this would serve as an addition to the keypad lock, or could replace it entirely if it exists. Not sure what this means for Jobs' vision of 'one button'.
The fiasco from the last iPhone release has surely paved the way for an overhaul of maps on iOS 7
. One source suggests we could see a 3D street-view style interface on maps this time around. The founding for this particular rumour seems quite concrete as it follows news that Apple filed for a patent relating to 3D imagery navigation.
Keen to improve productivity through its next release, one expected feature of iOS 7 is that you will be able to see more information by swiping your finger to the left or right within a screen. This could bring up information similar to what you currently see in the notification centre. A four finger swipe on the iPad could also be introduced.
[Update] Integration with cars
According to more leaked details, the new iOS 7 could see deeper integration with vehicles, through Siri and Apple maps. This could even go so far as to feature in the dashboard of cars. Apple would be on the backfoot here and this would see them competing with Google, when their maps product is currently questionable.
iPhone 5S or 6?
What is still a complete mystery is whether by June we will be talking about the iPhone 5S or the iPhone 6. Given the negative press around maps on the iPhone 5 and the somewhat lukewarm reception compared to previous handset releases, Apple should really go with the 6 here, though that would run against previous naming conventions.
[Update] iPhone 6 release
If you wanted to get your hands on the iPhone 6 this year, then you might have to just hold on for a while. The latest speculation is that the iPhone 6 could be released in June 2014, as Apple are hesitant to rush this one.
If you want to get real geeky with it, you might be interested to know that the new software is supposedly code-named 'Innsbruck'. This translates roughly as 'the bridge over the inn'. So there you go.