Apple to produce the biggest this year
San Francisco (Reuters): Apple Inc. is preparing to release a trio of new smartphones later this year: the largest iPhone ever, an upgraded handset the same size as the current iPhone X and a less expensive model with some of the flagship phone’s key features.The trio also includes an upgraded handset the same size as the current iPhone X and a less expensive model with some of the X’s key features.
The new phones could revive the screen size wars of years past at a time when smartphone makers are straining to come up with new features to lure buyers in a saturated market. Global smartphone sales were down 0.1 percent last year, according to research firm IDC, with Apple and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd expanding shipments only 1.9 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.
The iPhone maker is already running production tests with suppliers and is expected to announce the new phones this fall. However, the plans could still change, the report said.
Despite months of breathless hype, the iPhone X hasn’t sold as well as expected since its debut last year. Apple sold 77.3 million iPhones in the final quarter of 2017, below analysts’ projections of 80.2 million units. Some consumers were turned off by the iPhone X’s $1,000 price despite liking the design even as they wanted something more cutting-edge than the cheaper iPhone 8. With its next lineup, Apple is seeking to rekindle sales by offering a model for everyone.
But Bob O’Donnell, head of Technalysis Research, said the reported trio of new iPhones was“a very logical extension of the product line” for Apple: “One bigger, one cheaper, and one upgrade to the existing iPhone X.”
“This is a big deal,” says Gene Munster, a co-founder of Loup Ventures and a long-time Apple watcher. “When you have a measurable upgrade in screen size, people go to update their phone in droves. We saw that with the iPhone 6, and we think this is setting up to be a similar step up in growth.”
The much-hyped iPhone X didn’t sell as well as many had anticipated it would, however. Apple sold 77.3 million iPhone units in the fourth quarter of 2017, which was fewer than the 80.2 million units projected by Wall Street analysts.
Apple has tried selling cheaper phones in the past with poor results. In 2013, the company debuted the iPhone 5c, which had a polycarbonate body and came in various colors. Consumers quickly discovered that for a mere $100 more they could buy a 5s, which had an aluminum body, a slow-motion video camera and a fingerprint scanner. Apple soon discontinued the 5c.