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Apple iPhone 7 being launched Globally Today, but people Already waiting for iPhone 8

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Apple
Customers and employees are shown through Apple's Australian flagship store in Sydney, September 7, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Reed

By Julia Love

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The iPhone 7 is expected to make its global debut on Wednesday, but many consumers and investors are already setting their sights on Apple Inc’s <AAPL.O> 2017 version of the popular gadget, hoping for more significant advances.

At its annual product launch in San Francisco on Wednesday, the world’s most valuable publicly traded company is expected by blogs and analysts to reveal an iPhone without a headphone jack, paving the way for wireless headphones, a touch-sensitive home button that vibrates, double-lens cameras for the larger ‘Plus’ edition and other incremental improvements.

Apple typically gives its main product, which accounts for more than half of its revenue, a big makeover every other year and the last major redesign was the iPhone 6, in 2014. The modest updates suggest that this cycle will be three years.

“It looks like part of the reason they are keeping the design the same this year is there are bigger changes they are working on for next year,” said analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research.

Sales of the iPhone dropped two quarters in a row this year, the first declines in the history of the device. With many consumers who purchased the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus due for an upgrade, Apple may eke out single-digit gains in sales for the 7, Dawson said.

But some consumer technology sites are advising users to hold off on upgrading until the next year’s version, which will mark the 10-year anniversary of the iPhone.

Analysts say the iPhone 8 may feature a wider display that reaches from one edge of the device to the other and a home button integrated into the screen.

Wall Street is impatient for growth, and Apple will be hard-pressed to reverse the downward trend this year, said Colin Gillis, an analyst with BGC Partners.

“The iPhone 7 runs the risk of disappointing investors,” he said.

Consumers are waiting longer before replacing their phones, a shift that Apple must address in its product roadmap, said analyst Ben Bajarin of Creative Strategies.

Analysts predict the Apple Watch will be the second closely watched feature of the event. Apple is expected to revamp the wearable, released last year, with a faster processor and a GPS chip, enabling users to track runs and other workouts without their phones. Most analysts believe sales of Apple’s watch – which the company has not disclosed – have not yet justified the fanfare.

Starting at $299, well above many other wearables on the market, the most meaningful change Apple can make is a price cut, Bajarin said.

“This category is very price sensitive,” he said. Apple is “not there yet.”

(Reporting by Julia Love; Editing by Bill Rigby)

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Samsung Competes Apple, Launches Stores and Expand Retail Footprints in US

On February 20, Samsung is also hosting its "Unpacked" event in San Francisco, where it will announce its first foldable smartphone and "Galaxy S10".

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Samsung, Apple
Samsung's retail presence in the US was marked only by pop-up stores and dedicated spaces in franchisees like Best Buy. Pixabay

Keeping in line with the prevailing competition with Apple, Samsung is planning to inaugurate three full-scale stores in Los Angeles, New York and Houston on February 20, aiming to expand its retail footprint in the US, Apple Insider reported.

Samsung intends to allow users to try and buy its products ranging from smartphones to Virtual Reality (VR) glasses and televisions via these retail stores.

Much like Apple Stores, the South Korean giant plans on providing in-person customer support along with walk-in repairs available for mobile devices.

Apple, Samsung
Apple has long touted its retail stores as one of its key advantages, since people can try products in advance and have a place to turn if they need help with setup or troubleshooting. Pixabay

Up until now, Samsung’s retail presence in the US was marked only by pop-up stores and dedicated spaces in franchisees like Best Buy. This move comes at a time when Apple is coping with declining iPhone sales, driven mostly by tough competition in China from local smartphone makers.

“Apple has long touted its retail stores as one of its key advantages, since people can try products in advance and have a place to turn if they need help with setup or troubleshooting. It remains to be seen whether Samsung would be able to cultivate an equal or superior level of support and whether or not will enough people choose to shop at outlets instead of online or at the many third-party vendors that carry Samsung gears,” the report said.

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Due to low traffic and poor response, the company failed in its attempts at retail expansion in the UK and withdrew quickly.

On February 20, Samsung is also hosting its “Unpacked” event in San Francisco, where it will announce its first foldable smartphone and “Galaxy S10”, the report noted. (IANS)