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Next iPhone: Predicting larger screen, improved apps and better price

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Apple is making some serious changes to the iPhone for 2014 release, according to Web rumors. This article on DigitalTrends.com dated May 9 covers a number of the stories and photos currently circulating. It's pretty clear that some of the Apple watchers are expecting the next iPhone to come in larger sizes. Apple has not made much of anything clear about iPhone's future: Apple formed a habit long ago of keeping all features secret, for all their products, until Apple announces the product with a big Web-streamed press conference. However, sources have leaked believable details about the next iPhone and you can predict more by looking at the phones that are selling best from competitors like Samsung, HTC, Motorola and others. Here are some new predictions worth mentioning.

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Size: Most of the leaks agree that the iPhone will come with larger screens in 2014. Competitors' most successful phones have been larger than iPhone for some time. The most popular Android competitors like Samsung Galaxy Note II and most of the latest Droids are pretty big, and rumors state Apple will have at least a 4.7 inch screen later this year; some are predicting multiple sized iPhones and have leaked (or mocked up) photos of the new phones. Famous Australian leaker Sonny Dickson is one who's predicting a larger iPhone. He was right about the colorful iPhone 5c last year.

Apple Maps app: MacRumors.com and others reported back in March that Apple will finally add public transit information to the Apple Maps app. This should come out with iOS 8, around the time of the next iPhone, if not sooner. DigitalTrends.com provided a little more insight with a May 7 article.

Battery life: The best phones we reviewed from Apple's competitors, the Droid Maxx, for example, offered batteries with extended life. The iPhone 5 series has rather poor battery life with heavy use and it's time for Apple to step up to the bar. While the leaks are not addressing battery life, we feel strongly that iPhone needs to improve its battery and we're hoping to see something better with the 2014 release.

Thinner profile: Rumors indicate that Apple's looking to make the iPhone thinner again, though it's hard to believe it will be significantly thinner. None of the other phones are much thinner now. Apple does like to make products smaller and thinner. For an example, check out the difference between iPad, iPad 2 and iPad Mini.

Faster microchip brain: A certainty. Microchip capability continues to get faster, cheaper, smaller and lighter every year. Each new microchip is faster than the last and the next iPhone will almost certainly be faster than the last iPhone. The newest Androids are already faster than iPhone 5s.

Operating system: Apple will release a new operating system in 2014 and tech writers are referring to it as iOS 1.8. There's quite a bit of speculation and some facts out there. The new operating system needs to be available for developers far in advance of release of any new iPhone. Additionally, expect that at some point Apple will drop support for iPhone 4 and 4s. Right now, Apple is offering good trade-in prices for iPhone 4 and 4s in an effort to get them out of the environment. This may also be an effort to move more iPhones 5c and 5s.

Price: Apple experimented with different prices when they released the iPhone 5c. We saw lower prices for iPhone 5s at big box stores than we recall seeing for previous state-of-the art iPhones. Tech prices generally fall. Expect more creativity in this arena, coming from carriers such as T-Mobile and big box stores such as Best Buy and Walmart.

Where to buy: Once launched, you can expect to see the new iPhone at the Cleveland-area Apple retail stores at Crocker Park in Westlake and at Legacy Village in Lyndhurst. It will also be in all the phone carrier stores, that means AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile stores. Of course you'll find the new iPhone at Best Buy, Walmart and Target stores, too. Apple works hard to get their new products into all the outlets at once and they were successful last year at doing that. We expect to see the same success later this year in time for back-to-school and holiday buying.

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