Technology giant Apple is geared up to introduce new iPhones, with an objective to refresh its momentum in the premium segment of a global smartphone market showing signs of saturation, according to a report by AFP.
Characteristic to its usual style, the company has remained secretive about launches planned for Wednesday’s event at its spaceship campus in Silicon Valley. However, the timing fits its pattern of annually introducing new iPhone models, and therefore consumers are expecting it to be new smartphones.
The report said that speculation includes talk that Apple will introduce three new iPhone models, infusing some with features from a premium iPhone X that debuted last year with a $1,000 price tag.
While the iPhone has made Apple the world’s most valuable company worth more than $1 trillion, it has slipped to third place among smartphone makers as Chinese-based Huawei has grabbed the number two spot, said AFP.
However, analysts say Apple has a formula that works with a loyal customer base and steady sales.
“There is nothing in their product line-up that isn’t working for them in the premium segment of the market, so there is no imperative for them to break that mold,” speaking to AFP, NPD analyst Stephen Baker said of Apple likely sticking with modest improvements in new iPhones this year.
“They gobble up most of the profits. I don’t think they are under any pressure at all.”
Samsung, the world’s biggest smartphone maker, last month unveiled its latest flagship handset, the Galaxy Note 9, and next month Apple rival Google will hold an event at which it is likely to showcase new Android-powered top-end Pixel phones.
Google took to making its own smartphones to showcase the capabilities of the Android operating system that it makes available free of charge to handset makers. Android smartphones have come to dominate the market.
Apple’s event comes with the global smartphone market largely saturated, without a major catalyst for sales ahead of a likely rollout of 5G, or fifth generation wireless networks, expected in 2019, said the report.
Research firm IDC expects worldwide smartphone shipments to decline 0.7 percent in 2018 to 1.455 billion units, with growth likely to resume as 5G devices become available.
“We still believe the smartphone market has some healthy growth in the years to come, although finding and competing in those markets and segments is increasingly more challenging,” said IDC analyst Ryan Reith.
According to rumours, Apple plans to unveil three new iPhone models, including an improved version of the flagship X model released a year ago with a $1,000 price tag. The firm is also expected to introduce a lower priced iPhone with some X features but a less expensive LCD screen.
The event may also include Apple Watch internet-connected wrist wear getting its first significant redesign since it debuted three years ago, said the report.