5G iPhone expected to star at Apple event
A streamed event was cryptically teased with the message "Hi, Speed" in an apparent reference to the faster wireless networks being introduced in many parts of the world.
"We believe iPhone 12 represents the most significant product cycle for Cook & Co. since iPhone 6 in 2014 and will be another defining chapter in the Apple growth story," Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a note to investors, referring to chief executive Tim Cook.
5G networks are touted as promising an exponential leap in the amount and speed of wireless data, enabling advances in self-driving vehicles, virtual reality, connected health and more as sensors and servers communicate instantly.
"5G is happening in China with or without Apple; in fact, more 5G phones than non-5G phones are selling in China," said analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy.
New-generation 5G networks have also taken shape in South Korea and in parts of Europe.
- Powering the 'ecosystem' -
Powerhouses Samsung and Huawei already have 5G smartphones on the market.
Google recently unveiled two new smartphones with 5G wireless capability under its Pixel brand, which showcases the Android mobile system but has limited market share.
"Apple won’t want to be perceived as being two generations behind on 5G handsets."
Adding 5G iPhones to its line-up should help Apple "drive forward" with that lucrative blend of hardware, software, services and digital content, Mears said. From the health-centric Apple Watch to subscriptions to music and television services, the iPhone is at the center of the user experience.
Apple remains the most expensive company on Wall Street, where it ended the formal trading session Friday with a value of $2.03 billion, based on its share price.
- Pandemic slows sales -
Rumors swirling ahead of the event include that Apple will unveil new iPhones in an array of sizes, from a small model with a 5.4-inch (13.7-centimeter) screen to one with a 6.7-inch screen, measured diagonally.
Overall, it has been a tough year for the smartphone industry, with the pandemic disrupting economies and supply chains.
"Recovery will be slow, with tough market conditions expected to continue through 2021," Mears said.
Total smartphone sales were down 16 percent in the second quarter, according to research firm IDC.
Its survey showed Huawei leading the market, ahead of Samsung, Apple and Chinese firms Xiaomi and Oppo.