After last week’s unveiling of iOS 7, rumors about the next iPhone have started to really heat up. A photo has leaked from a Japanese electronics site today, and it’s supposedly the logic board slated for use in the next iPhone. Unsurprisingly, it looks a lot like the internals of the iPhone 5 with merely a few minor differences. Simply put, this adds credence to the idea that the next iPhone won’t be a complete redesign.
When this image is compared side-by-side to the iPhone 5′s logic board, it’s hard to see much of a difference. Save a few screw locations and slightly shifted electronics, the two boards seem nearly identical. While there has been substantial discussion about Apple scaling up the iPhone to a phablet form-factor, this doesn’t seem like the drastic design difference many smartphone enthusiasts are hoping for.
Alternately, this logic board could potentially be designed for the cheap iPhone Mini that has been discussed frequently in the last few weeks. It is possible that the iPhone 5S will see a more radical redesign while the iPhone Mini gets stuck with slightly revised iPhone 5 internals. Assuming that this picture actually showcases a legitimate board, it’s still way too early to tell how it is going to be used. Even if it’s really from Apple, it could simply be an early prototype.
Samsung and Apple are at each other’s throats in the smartphone market, and that might be cause for worry. Since Samsung has been in charge of making previous chips for Apple, the increasingly strained business relationship might just cost consumers a substantially more powerful iPhone for the time being. We might not even see the next big jump forward in Apple’s A-series SoCs until next year. The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is supposedly building the A6x for the upcoming iOS models, but the 20nm A7 probably won’t make its way to iPhones until 2014 or later.
If we’re only going to see a minor update for the next iPhone, that would certainly explain the extremely similar design for the logic board. Unfortunately for Apple, that could also mean bad news for its falling stock price. While the regular iPhone stalls, maybe this is the perfect time for the super-cheap iPhone Mini to return Apple to the top of the market.