New Delhi: Apple Inc is expected to introduce a cheaper version of the iPhone on Tuesday, bringing one of the industry's costliest smartphones within reach of the masses in poorer emerging markets.
The world's most valuable technology company, which many expect to unveil an iPhone 5C in several colours alongside the latest high-end iPhone 5S, is trying to beat back rivals like Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd in markets like India and China, where it is fast losing ground.
Globally, the market for cheaper smartphones priced around $300 - the iPhone 5 now starts at $649 without a contract - could grow to 900 million units by 2015, Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi estimated. Assuming Apple manages to capture just 10 per cent of that market, the 5C could bring in revenue of $30 billion annually.
Apple is expected to unveil an iPhone 5C in several colours alongside the latest high-end iPhone 5S today.
Apple iPhone 5S
The iPhone 5S is expected to come with a display carrying twice the pixels than the current generation and a quad-core processor. The phone is speculated to come with a thinner bezel, thereby adopting the iPad mini like design.
If the leaked photos are to be believed, the Apple iPhone 5S will come with a dual LED flash. The battery in the iPhone 5S is also expected to be of a higher capacity compared to the battery of the iPhone 5.
An Australian teenager who has built an online following by leaking pictures of upcoming Apple products has also showed off the purported fingerprint scanner of the latest iPhone ahead of its expected launch next week.
The iPhone 5S is rumoured to come in four colours - Gold, Slate, White, and Graphite. The leaked photos of the upcoming iPhone 5S hint that Apple may include a fingerprint scanner in the iPhone 5S.
Sonny Dickson, who lives with his parents in suburban Melbourne, attracted attention in August after he released detailed pictures and videos of the new grey and champagne casing on the upcoming iPhone.
Recently, Dickson leaked what he says are the first detailed pictures of the new model's new "home" button with its rumoured biometric fingerprint scanner. "While the design differences have yet to be technically assessed, they could have a whole lot to do with the rumoured biometric fingerprint scanner that numerous pundits and analysts have predicted. In fact, we'd count on it," Dickson said on his website, sonnydickson.com/
Apple iPhone 5C
If reports are to be believed, the C in iPhone 5C is for colour. Also, the multi-coloured polka dots on the invite sent by Apple hint at the colourful lot of upcoming iPhones.
Supply chain sources told Reuters in June that Apple is expected to launch two new models this year, one with new fingerprint technology and a cheaper version in a plastic casing, widely referred to as the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C respectively.
Apple plans to dress up the 5C model in a range of five or six colours to differentiate it from the more expensive model that has traditionally come only in black and white, according to the sources.
The iPhone 5C is likely come in blue, pink, yellow, white and green colours. Apple iPhone 5C is liekly to be released on September 20.
One key question is whether Apple will sell its cheaper iPhone 5C also in more mature markets like Europe or the United States - heightening the risk that it will begin cannibalizing sales of the flagship 5S.
The company is believed to be working on a so-called "smartwatch" that would work like a wrist-bound smartphone.
Industry observers said Apple has not turned out a category-defining electronic device since late co-founder Steve Jobs made a bet on the iPad in 2010. Speculation revolves around a smartwatch - along the same lines as Samsung's recently introduced Galaxy Gear.
"You can call me a smartwatch skeptic," says Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester. "I don't see that any vendor, with the possible exception of Apple, can make smartwatches a mainstream success."
Speculation aside, Apple has kept its cards close to its chest. CEO Tim Cook has called the wrist "interesting" and Apple has registered the trademark iWatch in Japan. Several Apple patents point to wrist-worn devices.
Speculations are rife that the smartwatch may have a 1.5-inch to 2-inch display and is expected to use biometrics - much like a prototype of a Toshiba smartwatch. If rumours are to believed that the biometric functionality would also allow the watch to be used as a fitness-tracking device.
Apple's iWatch is likely to debut by the end of 2014. If the Galaxy Gear is the first salvo, Apple has little to fear.
Here are some leaked images of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C: