That's the assessment in a recent research note by industry analyst Peter Misek of Jefferies & Co. that was picked up by several news organizations.
The proof is in the name. Misek said the name of the handset is expected to be the iPhone 4S, instead of iPhone5.
Some of the incremental improvements, according to Misek, include Sprint and T-Mobile selling the device, better cameras from Sony and HSPA+ support. He expects Apple to put the from the iPad 2 tablet into the new iPhone, giving it dual-core processing power.
The research note doesn't mention anything about in the new iPhone, which were widely speculated earlier this year. Such short-range wireless connectivity allows data and images to easily be transmitted between two devices such as a cell phone and a computer by touching one to the other.
At least more carriers are set to have the new iPhone this year. That would mean Sprint and T-Mobile in the U.S. joining AT&T and Verizon. A look inside the Verizon iPhone revealed its radio chip could handle radio frequencies from all top four U.S. carriers.