As more leaked photos, the more likely rumors of a forthcoming low-cost iPhone in a plastic casing become. A few days ago, the website Nowhereelse.fr posted a photo that purportedly shows the back casing of the phone—in three different colors. So far it's not clear how much the phone will cost, but Apple's apparent goal is to make a phone using less-expensive parts that they'll sell in countries where the top-of-the-line iPhone costs more than most people can afford. Early on, the rumors even said Apple may not sell the phone in the United States, but I haven't seem any mention of that lately. I'm guessing that if we see this phone, it will be available in the U.S. as well.
So far, the evidence suggests the form factor would be the same as the current iPhone but very slightly thicker. The leaked photos of the casing indicate that the phone will have a camera, LED flash, and rear-facing microphone. So far, the consensus is that this phone and an iPhone 5S will arrive in September.
Rumors of an iWatch also have gained more credence this week with news that Apple applied for an iWatch trademark in Japan, Mexico, Taiwan, Turkey, Colombia, and Russia. A post on The New York Times website discusses the application in Japan and recalls that Apple CEO Tim Cook has both indicated Apple's interest in wearable devices and explicitly questioned the marketability of a watch. In a recent interview, Cook said, "There's nothing that's going to convince a kid who has never worn glasses or a band or a watch to wear one, or at least I haven't seen it."
Of course, applying for a trademark doesn't mean we'll actually see a product. Apple likes to keep its options open and could be applying for the trademark in case it does decide to come out with an iWatch.
According to 9To5Mac, rumors are evenly split between the watch appearing later this year and later in 2014. The site also suggests some interesting details about the iWatch: "The product will likely include sensors to gain data about the user in addition to functionality such as mapping, messaging, and phone apps that could interact with iOS Devices such as the iPad or iPhone.
Clearly, Apple is always exploring new products and is constantly developing prototypes. So we'll likely some some fun new gizmos in the not-too-distant future. It will be interesting to see what they come up with for their next big thing.