Well this is embarrassing…
Apple famed as the world’s most secretive technology company, has accidentally posted photos of a new, unknown iPhone straight to its Apple Store website.
Interestingly the shot comes as a direct result of Apple launching its new Lightning Dock with the last photo in the listing showing what appears to be an iPhone 5C, but one which clearly sports a Touch ID fingerprint sensor (old vs new comparison shot on page 2).
Since the iPhone 5C doesn’t currently have Touch ID, it appears we are looking at its successor – possibly the heavily rumoured iPhone 6C.
There is good and bad news about this.
New iPhone 5C/6C shown with clear Touch ID home button – Image credit Apple
The Good News
Such a phone suggests Apple is very likely to continue its so-called ‘budget’ C range and, in doing so, also continue with a range of 4-inch iPhones. This will please loyal fans who aren’t tempted by the ranges’ move to larger screens.
Furthermore any new iPhone C model is almost certain to get a decent specification boost. The current iPhone 5C is based on the discontinued iPhone 5, so it would make sense for the new model to be based on the iPhone 5S which delivers nearly twice the performance of the iPhone 5, an improved camera and jumps to a 64-bit chipset – uniting the current range.
Perhaps even more important, in Apple’s eyes, is that equipping an iPhone 5C/6C with Touch ID provides greater security and opens up a new Apple Pay revenue stream (NFC seems a likely companion).
In fact crowbarring new technology into devices is not without precedent at Apple. The company famously launched the 4th generation iPad in November 2012, just eight months after the third gen iPad. The only difference was generation four added the new Lightning port.
As this is an annual refresh, we shouldn’t expect anything quite so cynical here.
Then again there is bad news…
The Bad News
The flipside is that the continuation of the iPhone C range appears the final nail in the coffin to a fully fledged, premium 4-inch iPhone 6S (necessary camera boost et al).
Such a move had been ruled out already by a number of credible leaks and reports from key Apple analysts, but it appears the future for 4-inch iPhones is as second class devices. A shame considering the logic I think a ‘small, medium and large’ (4-inch, 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch) high end line-up would make.
Apple’s new iPhone 5C/6C (left) with Touch ID vs the current iPhone 5C – Image credit Apple
So when can we expect Apple to launch these new models? Reports are they could receive early launches, though I think that would seem unnecessary given Apple’s current dominance of the premium market with the existing generation.
With Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers’ Conference (WWDC) starting on 8 June and iOS 9 expected to be the main attraction, we may well get a significant new hints soon…
Update: Apple has now pulled the photo and replaced it with a standard shot of the current iPhone 5C. It chose not to discredited the photo, which traditionally is a strong sign of authenticity.