Apple is already testing iOS 7, according to reports. The timing is in sync with reports of an early summer, rather than fall, debut of the next iPhone.
Apple is working on iOS 7, the next version of the software run by its iPhone, something that may shock few people.
Devices running a pre-release build of iOS 7 visited AppleInsider
on various days in December, the tech site reported Jan. 2. The day before, The Next Web
blogged that it had been contacted by developers who said their logs showed visits from devices with new iPhone identifiers. The iPhone 5, for example, has iPhone5.1 and iPhone5.2 identifiers, depending on the Long Term Evolution (LTE) model of the device and which band it runs on.
The developers reported seeing an iPhone6.1 identifier.
"From the developer logs that we have seen, the app requests originate from an IP address on Apple's Cupertino campus, suggesting that members of Apple's software development and app teams are compatibly testing some of the more popular or well-known applications already on the App Store," reported The Next Web
"Although OS and device data can be faked," it added, "the unique IP footprint leading back to Apple's Cupertino campus leads us to believe this is not one of those attempts."
Evidence that Apple was at work on iOS 6 surfaced around March 2012, AppleInsider
pointed out, suggesting Apple may have a quicker timeframe planned for its next iPhone release as analysts have forecast.
While Apple introduced the iPhone 5 in September 2012, Apple's reduced orders to its suppliers "indicate an earlier launch of new iPhone products in the June quarter," Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley wrote in a December 2012 research note.
Walkley added that while the firm believes an earlier launch of the next iPhone is planned, it wasn't unusual to see order reductions at that time of year.
Additionally, Walkley said the firm is expecting new iPhone 5 models.
"We believe Apple could launch a refreshed iPhone 5 along with a more mid-tiered priced competitive iPhone for pre-paid oriented international markets this summer," he wrote.
In a Jan. 2 research note, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster opined about Apple's more distant future, writing that the company will "eventually" introduce wearable products.
"We believe technology could progress to a point where consumers have a tablet plus wearable computers, like watches or glasses, that enable simple things like voice calls, texting, quick searches, navigation, etc., through voice control. Longer term," wrote Munster, "screens in glasses
or projectors could replace the necessity of a screen from a smartphone or tablet."
Samsung-owned Samsung Display plans to show off a 5.5-inch flexible display
at the Consumer Electronics Show later this month.
Nokia has also filed patents for a thin, flexible smartphone display
that could take the shape of a wrist cuff or a tent (picture a place-setting card) that could sit on a desk, acting as a timepiece when not in use. The shape the device takes, explained the patents, would relay use information to the device. Unbending the device, for example, could serve as an instruction to answer a call.
All of this is speculation, as Apple reveals its work only when an executive, standing on a stage in a crowded room, decides to.