The (New) iPhone Cometh. Maybe.

With Verizon and Sprint slashing the prices of their iPhone 4’s and Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference coming up June 10-14 in San Francisco, rumors are building about the impending announcement of an iPhone 6. Well, one of the rumors is that it will be an “iPhone 5S”—but if the phone is cool enough, its name won’t matter.

The iPhone, despite hot competition from Samsung, remains a status symbol. But such symbols must be regularly refreshed. One of the failings of the iPhone 4S was that it looked exactly like the 4. Apple learned from that mistake, sort of, making some changes with the iPhone 5. But the new iPhone is rumored to look very different, possibly with a screen that covers the entire front of the phone: One possibility is that it may be smaller while still providing a large screen by getting rid of the visible front microphone and home button. (The new device has also been rumored to have a fingerprint-recognition system.)

Meanwhile, for less status-conscious users, one of the iPhone’s biggest competitors has become … the iPhone. As each recent upgrade has offered smaller and smaller differences compared with the previous version, many users have found that a relatively cheap iPhone 4 or 4S works just fine. Presumably to counter this, another rumor is that Apple will announce two new iPhones, including a cheaper model to appeal to more frugal buyers. Of course, the biggest advantage of the 4 and 4S is that they work with discount carriers such as Cricket, Virgin Mobile and StraightTalk, which charge less than half what AT&T, Sprint and Verizon do. So unless the new iPhone works with these carriers (which is unlikely), the budget market will be tough for Apple to crack.




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