Patent filings by Apple itself showing the concept of a wrap-around screen consuming the entire iPhone have fueled some design concepts. One comes from Nickolay Lamm and Matteo Gianni, who put forth this curved-exterior iPhone 6 concept that some have speculated would be less susceptible to cracks if real.

[IPHONEYS: The iOS 7 edition]

Another design from Lamm, on behalf of MyVoucherCodes, envisions a plastic, possibly translucent, budget iPhone. Rumors have persisted that Apple will roll out cheaper iPhones, particularly to appeal to people in poorer countries, though Apple executives such as Senior Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller have pooh-poohed such talk

One theme running through the new concept designs is ever more streamlined touchscreen capabilities.

Federico Bianco envisions in a nearly 4-minute video - what iOS 7 could mean for the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 and iPad 5, including the ability to tap into apps and controls (such as quick replies and airplane mode) from the lock screen. Bianco shows a way to double tap on widgets, such as the music player, to provide quicker access to them. He also displays a way to reset widget controls, such as volume, in a more streamlined manner.

[IPHONEYS: The iPhone 6 and iPhone 5S edition]

Separately, an Arthur Reis concept design includes a "touch anywhere" home button on the iPhone 6 that works across the bottom of this thinner-than-current Apple smartphone. Reis also works in a 12mp iSight camera.

While designers foresee more sensitive touch capabilities, Yanko Design emphasizes sturdiness in its latest concept design, noting: "One of the reasons why many people buy a fender for their iPhone is that the back surface tends to scratch pretty easily, especially in the iPhone 5. Designer Matt Hughson envisions the iPhone 6 to come designed with an integrated aluminum outer frame, which creates a protective lip for the front & back of the phone. This provides improved protection for your screen & camera."

Finally, this mysterious iPhone X, from Bob Freking, boasts a 1.8GHz quad-core AX CPU, 4GB of RAM and 16mp iSight camera. Freking goes with a 4.8-inch screen, wireless charging and NFC support. And whoa! A $1,200 price tag!

Bob Brown tracks network research in his Alpha Doggs blog and Facebook page, as well on Twitter and Google +. 

Read more about anti-malware in Network World's Anti-malware section.

See also:

Apple: Unfortunately, no longer the underdog

Chinese iPhone dealers dupe Apple with fake components

Apple's silence cedes market narrative to rivals, says expert

iPhone 5S could be delayed by fingerprint sensor, says analyst

iPhone 6 rumour rollup: What's in a name?