FORTUNE — Fall holds different meanings for different people, but for many technorati, this September will likely see the unveiling of another all-new iPhone. Indeed, next month’s news may prove more newsworthy than years past if some of the speculation is right. Will Apple (AAPL) finally introduce a new, cheaper iPhone? Could the high-end model sport fingerprint-sensing technology? What else is in store?
Until Apple’s reported September 10 event, we’ll have to content ourselves with the rumors. Here’s a roundup of what the blogosphere is currently salivating over:
An all-new, cheap iPhone
Truth or misguided gossip? Analysts, pundits, and blogs have long talked about a new, “cheap” — largely dubbed in the press as the iPhone 5C — iPhone for over a year now. Last January, Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White told Fortune that there’s substantial market opportunity abroad in China for such a product, where the average consumer doesn’t have as large a discretionary income. More recently, Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster suggested such a device would replace the older 4S model and possibly exclude software features like the voice-activated assistant Siri.
When Apple acquired fingerprint-sensor maker AuthenTec Inc. for $350 million last year, some wondered how such technology could find its way into iPhones, iPads and the like. KGI Securities argues the new high-end iPhone — let’s just call it the iPhone 5S — will integrate a sensor allowing users to potentially log in by simply pressing a finger to the screen. A security feature like that would prove even quicker, easier, and more secure than the current method of inputting a four-digit code.
Once in a while, Apple likes to get colorful. (Look no further than today’s iPod Touch or iPod nano as proof.) The buzz around the crop of iPhones is that they may come in flavors other than black and white, which let’s face it, aren’t even technically colors, according to scientists. The 5C could come in an array of hues not unlike the Touch or nano; the 5S could expand to models with a gold frame.
A larger screen
When Apple announced the iPhone 5 last fall, Jony Ive, senior vice president of design, explained why 4 inches was a sweet spot: “By making the screen taller, but not wider, you can see more of your content but still comfortably use it with one hand.” But as devices from competitors bear out, there’s a large swath of users who prefer their smartphones screens
. To wit, although sales of Samsung’s 5-inch Galaxy S4 are lower than analysts expected, the company still sold 10 million units within a month of launch. In Apple’s case, reports claim the new iPhone — or at least one iPhone — may sport a screen between 4.5- to 5-inches.
New iPod Touch
Some bloggers are calling for the end of the iPod Touch entirely, but more likely than not, Apple won’t kill its iPhone-like music player any time soon. This May, Apple reported it had sold 100 million units since the Touch hit the market in late 2007. Clearly, demand for the device is still there, so chances are Apple will introduce a new Touch with slightly-beefed up parts inside, keeping in lockstep with the company’s oft-held tradition of tossing in a Jobs-ian “one more thing” toward the end.