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

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Customers and employees are shown through Apple's Australian flagship store in Sydney, September 7, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Reed
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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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Apple’s Head Of Search and Head of Siri’s Advanced Development quits Amidst Siri Reshuffle

According to a report in The Information on Thursday, Apple has confirmed both the departures

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According to a report in The Information on Thursday, Apple has confirmed both the departures. Pixabay

Apple’s Head of Search Vipul Ved Prakash and Tom Gruber, Head of Siri’s Advanced Development Group, have quit the company which is currently reshuffling its Siri team.

According to a report in The Information on Thursday, Apple has confirmed both the departures.

One of the original Siri co-founders, Gruber “will be pursuing personal interests in photography and ocean conservation”.

Prakash joined Apple in 2013 after Apple acquired the search engine and analytics firm Topsy where he served as a CEO.

“The deal was valued at upwards of $224 million. Apple shut down Topsy two years after its acquisition,” reports 9to5mac.com.

Revealing its future plans, Apple last week formally announced to make ex-Google executive John Giannandrea its Chief of Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy.

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Apple has invested in Siri and HomeKit to compete with Google Home and Alexa-based smart home systems. Flickr

Reporting to CEO Tim Cook, Giannandrea who joined Apple in April will be in charge of Apple’s ML division, Siri and the Core ML team.

Giannandrea will look after further development of Core ML and Siri technologies.

According to media reports, Apple lags behind from Google and Amazon in key AI areas like Natural Language Processing (NLP) and computer vision needed to power voice assistant features in Siri.

Apple has invested in Siri and HomeKit to compete with Google Home and Alexa-based smart home systems.

Also Read-Apple Gets a New AI Chief to Oversee Siri, Machine Learning

In 2017, Apple added an AI chip called Neural Engine to the A11 Bionic for the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X to work with the Image Signal Processor (ISP). (IANS)