Apple’s iPhone 5S is on the mobile horizon

All eyes may be focused on Samsung’s long-awaited Galaxy S IV smartphone, yet anticipation is also building for Apple’s iPhone 5S and the next iteration of Cupertino’s mobile operating system, iOS 7.

Indeed, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple remains on track to introduce its new iPhones and iOS7 in June, and start shipping the new iPhones (5S and low-cost model) in the FDD version in July.

“Both dates are earlier than last year’s roadmap,” the analyst wrote in an industry note obtained by MacRumors.

“We attribute this to: (1) an effort to avoid repeating the fatal mistake of last year of the delayed iPhone 5 launch, which gave competitors room to grab market share; and (2) the new iPhones this year are mainly designed on the basis of the current iPhone 5, which suggests development time could be reduced.”

Ming-Chi also laid out his predictions for the handset in terms of hardware specs.

“We expect the product differentiation between iPhone 5S and iPhone 5 will be: (1) computing power, with iPhone 5S to run on the faster A7 application processor; (2) the camera, with iPhone 5S being equipped with Smart Flash, ensuring photo quality using white or yellow flash according to lighting conditions,” he wrote.

“[The] iPhone 5S will [also] have a fingerprint chip under the Home button, improving security and usability; and the low-cost iPhone 5 hybrid casing of fiberglass and plastic will make it lighter and slimmer than general plastic casing and easier to make in various colors. However, we still think it will be heavier than iPhone 5S, which will have an aluminum casing. Thus, even form factor will be an area of differentiation.”

In other Apple news, unnamed sources recently told iMore’s Rene Ritchie that Apple

may release the next iteration of its wildly popular iPad as soon as this April, which could include both the fifth-generation 9.7-inch iPad and perhaps even the second-generation iPad mini.

“Retina for the iPad mini, however, still doesn’t sound imminent,” Ritchie opined. “Apple is not going to release iPads that costs more or don’t get as good battery life as the current models. So, if the next iPad mini does end up getting slated for April, it could be a spec bump, or have something other than Retina as a differentiator.”