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9/4/2013
03:09 PM
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Apple iPhone Anticipation Grows

"This should brighten everyone's day," says coy Apple event invitation -- but probably not for Microsoft and other Apple competitors.

Apple has invited members of the media to attend a Sept. 10 event, promising to "brighten everyone's day" as competitors scramble to avoid being overshadowed.

Though the rainbow-hued bubbles on the invitation echo the previously disclosed design theme of Apple's forthcoming mobile operating system, iOS 7, the primary focus of the event is expected to be the successor to Apple's iPhone 5, and a lower-priced iPhone model intended to appeal to customers in developing markets.

iOS 7 also is likely to receive attention because it has received a major design overhaul.

Faced with vigorous competition from Android handset makers like Samsung -- already being sued by Apple for copying the iPhone -- Apple's recent ads have focused on its product design as a primary point of differentiation.

[ Google isn't sitting idly by. Read about its new mobile OS: Google's Next Android Called 'KitKat'. ]

Whether design matters as much to phone buyers as it does to Apple remains to be seen. But the Android camp has wasted no time in trying to undercut Apple's pitch: Google's pre-emptive Android 4.4 "KitKat" marketing partnership with Hershey's has arrived with a parody of Apple's celebration of its design prowess.

Samsung, too, is attempting to get out in front of what's likely to be wall-to-wall iPhone coverage next week by announcing its $299 Galaxy Gear smartwatch and its Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet. Apple is believed to be working on a smartwatch of its own for release in 2014.

Market research firm Panjiva predicts that Apple's event also will feature a new version of Apple TV, the company's streaming media peripheral. Google earlier this summer launched a streaming media peripheral of its own, Chromecast, to challenge Apple's growing presence in consumers' living rooms.

Although Apple also is working on an update to its desktop operating system, OS X Mavericks, and a completely redesigned Mac Pro, the company is likely to introduce those products this fall separately from the iPhone event.

Apple's event will be held at 10 a.m. Pacific Time in Cupertino, Calif., at Apple's corporate headquarters, with follow-up events planned for Beijing, Berlin and Tokyo.

The Beijing event suggests Apple might have finally struck an iPhone deal with China Mobile, China's largest mobile carrier. If that's the case, Apple will gain access to some 700 million new potential customers, and CEO Tim Cook, under pressure to return Apple's stock to the stratospheric valuation it reached a year ago, will be golden once again.

Even if Apple hasn't come to an agreement with China Mobile, the company's ongoing good fortune is magnified by the woes facing Microsoft. In a gambit to save Windows Phone from irrelevance and to revitalize its new strategic vision, Microsoft last week announced CEO Steve Ballmer's impending departure and this week said it plans to spend $7.2 billion to buy Nokia's Devices & Services business and to license Nokia's patents and mapping services.

Even if Apple stumbled -- if its new iPhone failed to amaze and iOS 7 was received with the same coolness as Windows 8 -- it would have time to correct its course. But given Apple's track record, it's far more likely the company will darken the day for competitors.

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Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
9/6/2013 | 10:56:00 PM
re: Apple iPhone Anticipation Grows
Is she still under contract? If I buy another iPhone, it'll probably be the iPhone 6, but that has much more to do with AT&T than with any apathy I feel toward the iPhone 5S or iPhone 5C.
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
9/6/2013 | 8:10:48 PM
re: Apple iPhone Anticipation Grows
If Apple has the same (small) form factor for the new iPhone, all the shiny gold, biometrics and new chips in the world won't help it catch Samsung.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
9/6/2013 | 5:15:24 PM
re: Apple iPhone Anticipation Grows
A fair assessment though Microsoft is trying as hard as possible to also become a maker of "toys," which is to say a hybrid hardware/software company. Surface RT hasn't been a strong first step. I think Apple's greatest liability is that it tries to do everything itself (and own everything) while also playing defense.
Midnight
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Midnight,
User Rank: Guru
9/6/2013 | 2:23:01 AM
re: Apple iPhone Anticipation Grows
I believe the media hype for this is yet another Apple Non-Event.
Without Job's cult of personality to sway the masses Apple is just
another marketing company repackaging other people's innovations. Just
as the skyrocketing climb in valuation was ludicrous and unsustainable,
the meteoric fall will be just as dramatic.

One of the real
issues involved revolves around technological partnerships. When Apple
created a face-loss situation with Samsung, the shot in the foot was
heard round the world. The Asian tech giants now have a clear target as a
player to remove from the field. Their strengths are; makers of the
actual hardware, patent holders of much of the underlying technologies,
cheaper labor arrangements, and better global market penetration. Oh,
and I also see motivation for them to give preferential treatment to
each other to achieve dominance in the US market as well.

Comparing
Apple to Microsoft is another apples to oranges gaff. While Microsoft
has regularly made missteps by trying to enter various hardware markets,
one must remember they are primarily a software company. Apple, on the
other hand, makes toys. (albeit good toys, but toys nonetheless) And
bear in mind, if it wasn't for good ol' Microsoft, Apple would have gone
bankrupt in the mid 90's. Back when Microsoft was the oppressive
juggernaut of the desktop space, and was facing charges of monopoly
abuse, they needed a "lame trick pony" to trot out as token competition.
That pony was named Apple after they infused a non-trivial amount of
cash into the so called competition company.

This will be
interesting to watch as the battles unfold, but I fear Apple is
believing it's own press and will suffer for it. The market still loves
Apple, but mostly because it does not want to admit just how badly the
company has been ripping them off with overpriced hardware locked into
proprietary service offerings... Kinda like AOL of old. We shall see if
they will evolve as a mature company in the technology ecosystem or go
the way of AOL's fate.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
9/5/2013 | 8:59:59 PM
re: Apple iPhone Anticipation Grows
Those extra zeros add up. It should be 700 million.
Cara Latham
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Cara Latham,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/5/2013 | 8:37:58 PM
re: Apple iPhone Anticipation Grows
Wow! Certainly says something for Apple's fan base. I guess innovation isn't that important to some people after all.
Becca L
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Becca L,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/5/2013 | 7:45:10 PM
re: Apple iPhone Anticipation Grows
I met someone over the weekend who was looking forward to the iPhone 6! She said she was just going to skip the 5, and it didn't matter at all that she doesn't know a thing about the 6. Now that's loyalty to the brand!
Cara Latham
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Cara Latham,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/5/2013 | 4:30:19 PM
re: Apple iPhone Anticipation Grows
Also a good point! It will be interesting to see whether competitors follow suit. Could this be the turning point for consistently affordable mobile devices? If the lesser expensive versions sell well, will most consumers avoid shelling out the additional money for the higher-end models?
Alex Kane Rudansky
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Alex Kane Rudansky,
User Rank: Author
9/5/2013 | 3:59:25 PM
re: Apple iPhone Anticipation Grows
Apple might be able to make up for those wandering customers with their less expensive version of the iPhone. I'm interested to see who this is intended for, other than customers in developing markets.
Cara Latham
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Cara Latham,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/5/2013 | 3:46:13 PM
re: Apple iPhone Anticipation Grows
I agree with you. I think Apple is still riding the wave of its name recognition, but innovation by other smartphone competitors -- in more than just design elements -- is luring some customers away.
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