We kick off 2013 with an exciting discovery from a developer who is familiar with Apple’s software and hardware testing, reporting new activity coming from the company's Cupertino campus that points to tests carried out using a new generation iPhone and iOS 7.
An unnamed developer showed TNW that Apple has been testing hardware bearing a new ‘iPhone6,1′ identifier.
Moreover, the developer said the device was powered by iOS 7, the next major version of Apple’s mobile operating system which not only runs on iPhones, but also on iPads and iPod touch players.
For reference, the current iPhone hardware - the iPhone 5 - is designated as ‘iPhone5,1’ in developer logs.
We have been able to confirm iOS 7 in our own statistics but we haven’t seen any IPs tracing the iPhone 6,1 identifier back to Apple.
The Cupertino giant has historically unveiled and / or released major new versions of its mobile operating system at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference which takes place in the June - July timeframe.
If Apple is to stay true to this tradition, iOS 7 should be unveiled about six months from now.
In 2011, Apple shifted the iPhone’s summer refresh cycle to fall. The iPhone 4S was unveiled on October 4. However, analysts believe that Apple wants to get back to unveiling new iPhones at WWDC starting this year and, perhaps, even unveil a second new device in fall.
If this theory holds water then WWDC may witness the launch of an incremental iPhone 5S, leaving the iPhone 6 launch for September or October.
It is worth noting that the predictability of Apple’s new software / hardware refreshes has reached a point where such news isn’t even regarded as rumors, but a given.
While the iPhone 5S / iPhone 6 theory remains to be validated, WWDC 2013 will almost certainly produce the iOS 7 that Apple is reportedly testing.