iPhone 5S rumors continue to ramp up with a new batch of leaked photos allegedly showing off Apple's next smartphone.
Images from the Chinese Web site Zol.com.cn posted by the Times of India reportedly reveal the front and rear panels of a pre-production model of the iPhone 5S. Not surprisingly, the photos show off a phone with a design similar to that of the current iPhone 5.
Last week, the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 6 reportedly popped up at an Apple supplier in China, according to Chinese blog site Sina Tech. A Sina Tech user posted second-hand information claiming that the 5S will resemble the iPhone 5, while the expected iPhone 6 will be wider, longer, and thinner.
And in December, a French Web site dug up alleged photos of the iPhone 5S from an online forum. Those photos also showed an exterior identical to that of the iPhone 5.
At this point, all of these tidbits fall firmly into the rumor stage, mostly notably the leaked photos. But an iPhone 5S released this year would naturally be similar in size, shape, and design to its predecessor and offer a few new features and enhancements.
The report of an iPhone 6 out this year seems dubious. But Apple has been hit hard by competition from Android phones in general and Samsung in particular. The company has also lost some of its allure on Wall Street over fears that its best days are behind it. Apple may just need to veer from its usual pattern of device updates and upgrades to prove it's still a contender.