iPhone 5: Here To Stay, iPhone 6: Years Away

Yes, that was meant to rhyme. With the release of the iPhone 4S in 2011, it’s fair to expect an iPhone 5 in 2012, iPhone 5S in 2013, and the iPhone 6 in 2014.

Much of the discussion here on the blog throughout the Summer of 2011 speculated on the naming of the next iPhone, and how Apple would handle naming the 2012 iPhone, based on what name they chose for their 2011 iteration. At this point, we’ve heard all of the arguments for why the 2012 iPhone should be the “iPhone 5” or “iPhone 6.” And while it will indeed be the sixth generation iPhone, for now, the media and readers have spoken: we are going to refer to the next iPhone as “iPhone 5″ until otherwise informed.

A zany article on PluggedIn today, however, supposes what we might see from the iPhone 6, ostensibly to be released not this year, but sometime in the unforeseen future. Their article is completely speculative, but they have fun imagining that the iPhone 6 could be completely bendable, feature a holographic display, and even an A.I.-powered Siri. On that last note, PluggedIn wonders, “How about giving Siri a personality with some sci-fi style Artificial Intelligence? Users could program the type of personality they want Siri to have, and then build up a genuine friendship with the system. It would bring true meaning to the phrase ‘you’re never alone with a phone.’”

That would indeed be a sci-fi-inspired advancement, and given the rumors that Siri will be even more advanced on the 2012 iPhone 5, it isn’t impossible to imagine that Apple will continue to advance its capabilities on future iPhones.

While we are on the subject of the iPhone 6, however, it is worth noting that, given Apple’s naming strategy over the past three years, we’re unlikely to see the iPhone 6 into as late as 2014.

I don’t have to remind you (but I will) that, for the past three iPhone iterations, we’ve seen the 3GS, 4, and 4S. More importantly, with these three iterations, we also see a research and design pattern developing: refresh, overhaul, and refresh. The iPhone 5 will most definitely deliver an overhaul, thus completing the pattern. With this is mind, it would make no sense to believe that the iPhone 6 will be released in 2013. It is more likely that we’ll see an “iPhone 5S” in 2013, that will utilize whatever new hardware features that will be unveiled with the iPhone 5 in 2012.

This is actually very good news for all of you iPhone 4S early adopters out there, who are beginning to fret over the prospect of missing out on the iPhone 5, due to being locked into a new, prohibitive contract with their 4S. The new screen, form factor, battery, and 4G LTE on the rumored iPhone 5 could all conspire to make for a very  bug-filled iPhone iteration, fraught with many problems in the early going. Just as we have seen with other groundbreaking mobile products, tech companies (even Apple) often have to deal with technical glitches even months after the device’s release.

If there is an iPhone 5S in 2013, it will give current iPhone 4S users the opportunity to get onboard the iPhone 5 experience after it has been tried and tested for a year or so; there will be a much higher expectation for quality and reliability for the 5S.

Of course, there is one caveat: it could mean that 4S users are now locked into always having to settle for a refreshed “S” model, instead of being able to experience the excitement of a new, overhauled iPhone. Going back to the PluggedIn piece, if the iPhone 6 is actually two years away at this point, who knows what smartphone technology will look like by then? It may be something so revolutionary that we cannot even characterize it at this point.

And for this point alone, iPhone 4S users might want to skipping not only the iPhone 5 and 5S so that they can experience the iPhone 6 in all of its splendor. But one question remains: will your iPhone 4S’s battery still have any juice left by the time 2014 rolls around?



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