Will it be worth the wait? Standby for the iPhone 14, set for launch - say those who should know - this autumn. Rumours of radical thinking are rife as Apple's team of Silicon Valley engineers face the perennial question: how to make the mobile device consistently rated as the best there is, even better? We've been having a look at the latest speculation on what they've been up to at Apple's space-age HQ in Cupertino, California.

First that release date, in case you are thinking of waiting. Most major new models of iPhone have had a September launch, in time for Christmas sales. There's no reason to think that will change. What is likely to change, agree several Apple-watchers, is the iPhone's famous - or infamous - notch at the top of the screen, which conceals Apple's facial recognition system. Purists say it clutters a minimalist design. Apple, it's said, have a workaround, replacing notch with a pinhole design that will barely be visible.

Then there's that talk of a radical redesign. It's the sort of thing Apple delights in springing on its devoted fanbase. Could this be the first iPhone with the option of a foldable screen? Samsung lead the market in this regard at least with their foldable Galaxy Z Fold series, leaving the iPhone behind. Apple prefer to be ahead, but not at all costs and cost could be a factor here, since the iPhone already commands a premium price and the technology is expensive. While patents are said to have been filed for screens and innovative hinges there is some doubt whether the 14 will be the first foldable iPhone. But Apple, as we've said, do like a surprise.

Each iPhone so far has had a camera and storage upgrade over its predecessor and there's every reason to believe the iPhone 14 will feature advances on both. Camera lenses to the rear are set to be flush, say some commentators, with none of the current bulging that renders them vulnerable to damage. Technology upgrades may include the use of a vastly improved modem, allowing much faster connection speeds. Battery capacity is set to increase further.

One final rumour will scandalise traditionalists. There is speculation that the iPhone 14 will be entirely port-free, featuring wireless charging only and all other connections via wi-fi or bluetooth. Design would naturally be cleaner and it would be cheaper for Apple to make. Users, however, would be forced into bluetooth powered headphones, if they've not already joined the wire-free trend. Since wired headphones will always be superior in sound, that would be controversial.

Every iPhone has its share of pre-release speculation. Just one thing though is for sure: come the launch in September Apple will announce something no-one had thought of. Oh, and autumn may also be the time for the prudent to consider buying a soon-to-be-outdated iPhone from the current range, as that's the time Apple usually embarks on a rare clearout. You read it here first.

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