The iPhone 6 release date (or possible iPhone 5S release date) is closer than you thought. Analysts are predicting an early 2013 launch as Apple speeds up it's product cycle. Read on for specs, features and rumors.

We still don't know if Apple will call their next smartphone the iPhone 6 or iPhone 5S, but tech market experts are already saying that the new device will launch in the first fiscal quarter of 2013. Asymco analyst Horace Dediu has released a report stating that starting in 2013 Apple will release a new generation of each device (iPhones and iPads) every six months, as opposed to the one year product cycle we've seen since the first iPhone debuted in 2007. Dediu's report is based an official statement from former Apple CEO John Sculley.

In his statement, Sculley noted that Apple is "going through a very significant change now in terms of product cycles... now it's really introducing products twice a year."

We're not sure how credible Sculley, who left Apple back in 1993, is when it comes to the electronics company's current inner workings. However, we've been predicting that Apple will speed up it's product cycle for weeks. The company that made billions by inventing the smartphone when they released the first iPhone is finally facing some serious competition from Samsung, Google and a number of other companies producing Android devices. In order to stay fresh and relevant in an increasingly crowded market Apple is being forced to speed up the pace at which they release new iPhones and iPads.

Dediu actually points out that from a global perspective Apple is already speeding up their product cycle. The iPhone 5 was released in more countries around the world faster than ever before, and is expected to launch in over 100 countries by the end of 2012.

The Asymco analyst also takes a stab at the iPhone 6 vs. 5S name debate, picking the latter and suggesting that the 'S' could stand for Spring, a hint at the device's release date--Apple set the 'S' trend with the 4S, which stood for Siri.

Read on for our roundup of everything we know so far about the iPhone 6/5S release date, specs and features.

We've already seen the first alleged leaked iPhone 6 photos (pictured above). More recently, we learned that the new Apple smartphone could feature 3D mapping sonar. The rumor came from PC World by way of an uncovered Apple patent hinting at the upcoming feature.

"Yes, that's right: the iPhone 6 could have sonar," David Price revealed on PC World's website. "Can you say OMG?"

The possible iPhone 6 patent was filed earlier this month on December 7, and includes details on how Apple hopes to integrate the next iPhones audio sensor and visual display in order to offer new features and cut back on the device's weight.

PC World explained that 3D sonar mapping could be featured on a number of upcoming Apple devices, but argued that it would best serve the iPhone 6.

"A portable device could benefit from incorporating such elements into the screen and thus slimming down elsewhere as well as in other ways, as we'll outline further in due course," Price explained.

Patently Apple offered a more technical explanation for how 3D mapping sonar might be featured in the iPhone 6:

"In one embodiment, Apple's invention may take on the form of an audio detection system having a display assembly. The display assembly may include a screen and at least one electromagnetic energy emitter configured to direct energy at an inside surface of the screen.

The described invention states that at least one sensor could be configured to sense the emitted energy after it is reflected from the inside surface of the screen and generate electrical signals corresponding the sensed reflected energy."

You can add 3D Sonar Mapping technology to a growing list of iPhone 6 features and specs, most of which came from Jeffries analyst Peter Misek's recent report on the upcoming device. Misek revealed to lists, detailing "likely" and "possible" iPhone 6 features.

Under "likely" he included a "new super HD camera/screen," a longer-lasting battery, and Near Fiel Communications (NFC) connectivity (finally!).

If you're an Apple fan your Android friends have probably been lording their NFC chips over your for months. NFC means you can easily make mobile payments and share data by simply tapping your iPhone against another iPhone or a special scanner.

Under "possible" iPhone 6 features, Misek included an updated IGZO screen to make the leap to a Retina+ display, a whopping (and likely very expensive) 128GB model option, and up to eight different color options.

These possible iPhone 6 upgrades are only somewhat interesting. A better screen is a given. While more color options are cool, and could help keep the iPhone 6 edgy. We'll probably stick with the classic black and white models though.

Misek also analyzed a number of prototypes and concept designs in his report, noting that some are predicting a massive 4.8-inch screen, an A7 quad-core processor, the removal of the physical home button and full gesture control. These possible iPhone features are certainly interesting, but don't get too excited since they're based purely on speculation.

Until the actual iPhone 6 release date arrives we won't know for sure about any of these rumors. As always, Apple refuses to comment on any rumors regarding their upcoming devices, and won't reveal any details until the official launch in 2013.

What possible iPhone 6 features and specs are you most excited about? And what else are you hoping Apple will include in their next smartphone. Share you thoughts in the comments section.