Business

Apple expected to dazzle at iPhone launch tomorrow

SAN FRANCISCO With Apple set to unveil its newest iPhones, a key question for the California tech giant is whether it can recapture the magic from its first release a decade ago.

The keenly anticipated media event tomorrow will be the first in the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple's new "spaceship" campus in Silicon Valley in San Francisco, evoking the memory of the company's late co-founder and iconic pitchman.

Apple, as usual, has revealed little about the event. Invitations provided the date, time, location and a message that read: "Let's meet at our place."

Eyes are on Apple to dazzle as the culture-changing company seeks to retain its image as an innovation leader in a global smartphone market showing signs of slowing and as Chinese rivals close ground.

Chinese smartphone colossus Huawei passed Apple in global smartphone sales for the first time in June and July, taking second place behind South Korean giant Samsung, according to market tracker Counterpoint Research.

Some reports have said Apple will introduce three new iPhone models, with unconfirmed talk that a special premium iPhone will be priced as high as US$1,400 (S$1,900).

It will have to be magical. Even if you cannot afford it, this has to be the one you lust after. Analyst Rob Enderle

"It will have to be magical," analyst Rob Enderle said of an iPhone with that kind of price tag. "Even if you cannot afford it, this has to be the one you lust after."

It would also need to "set the bar" in a market with premium Android-powered handsets priced much lower.

Two new iPhone models are expected to be improved versions of the prior generation, with most of the changes built into a premium handset, which is unofficially referred to by some as X but pronounced 10 in honour of the anniversary.

Some reports said the new iPhone will include a high-quality, edge-to-edge screen with a notch in the top for an extra camera supporting 3D facial recognition.

Others speculated that the back of the new handset will be glass, and it will offer wireless charging.

The changes could go so far as to get rid of a home button that has been a main control feature since the iPhone debut. - AFP

Apple (company)smartphonesamsung