pple is planning to hold one of its regular media events on Wednesday, September 9 in San Francisco, California.
Although this week’s event is expected to focus on the debut of the next-generation iPhone, there are plenty of rumours about exactly what this new model will bring, as well as what other developments Apple have in store.
Given that Apple’s share price has historically been driven by its ability to sell innovative technology, it’s worth having a look at these potential developments ahead of next week’s event.
The most common - and believable - rumour claims that September will see 2 new iPhones: one with a 4.7-inch screen and a large one at 5.5-inches. Most commentators expect that Apple will follow their usual pattern of incrementing model numbers every 2 years, so these will be called the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus respectively, though some reports suggest they may be known as the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
When it comes to their exact specifications, it’s generally reported that they will run on an A9 processor (built by their handset rival Samsung), with a stronger aluminium body, 2GB RAM, and an improved camera, with better selfie capability. It will also be available in a new colour, which leaked pictures suggest will be a “Rose Gold” like the Watch.
There’s also plenty of chatter about Force Touch, seen on the Apple Watch and Macbook trackpads, coming to the new iPhone. This proprietary system provides better feedback for users through the screen, with the feeling of actually clicking a physical button.
While few commentators believe we’ll see a new 4-inch phone this time round, rumours suggest that it’s the end of the road for the current small screen iPhone, the 5c, losing Apple their lowest-priced model.
Also expected to make an appearance at this event is the new version of Apple TV. It was reported that Apple had planned to launch this back in June at the annual Word Wide Developers Conference, but wasn’t happy with the state of the product when the event came around. Strong rumours and sources close to Apple suggest that Apple TV will be part of September’s event, with a new and improved set-top box ready for unveiling.
This new bit of kit is rumoured to be bigger to include an A8 processor, bigger storage space, and a touch-screen remote control, along Siri support and a dedicated App Store. Though the most interesting rumour about the newest version of Apple TV is the existence of a software development kit (SDK), which will allow third-party developers to provide applications and controllers, opening the device up to provide much more than just TV – games being the most likely.
Apple TV Content
On top of the highly probable new TV box, there are also rumours that Apple will be entering the market of television content, competing with Netflix and Amazon for online viewers. In fact, one of the most common reports is that they tried to attract the Top Gear team when they left the BBC earlier in the year, losing out to Amazon in the end.
Most rumours in this area suggest that their plans are not fully developed yet and that any announcement of TV and film production at this event will be very high level or fleeting at best, though it does seem like a logical move in the battle against other US tech giants who are all moving into this sphere.
Experts are confidently predicting that Apple has 3 new iPad models in development, the iPad Air 3, the iPad mini 4 and the new iPad Pro, but no-one can seem to agree when we can expect an announcement.
There are conflicting rumours about iPad release dates, some suggest that the iPad Air 3 may launch this week, while others put it back into 2016 to make way for the new, larger iPad Pro. Strong reports put the iPad Pro starting production in Q4 2015, with Apple putting this new 12-inch model on sale for Christmas.
As for the Air’s smaller cousin, iPad minis traditionally launch in October so whilst analysts are mostly confident that we can expect the mini 4 this year, will Apple wait a month or so before announcing this one, or bundle it in to September’s event?
In August, reports surfaced that the Apple would be announcing smart straps with additional sensors this September, rather than a new device. More recent, and possibly more believable, rumours now discount this and claim Apple will wait until next year to release the Watch 2.
With all these products having a chance of launching, it looks like it could be an interesting time for Apple. Here’s what our analyst thinks about these potential developments:
“The iPhone is likely to continue to drive Apple’s success in the medium term as its largest source of earnings. The iPhone 6 and 6plus were a huge hit and single-handedly created Apple’s market share in China which was a large source of its record $18bn quarterly profit last year. Apple shares fell as much as 20% from their peak potentially due to the company’s exposure to a slowdown in China’s economy but also over disappointment that it didn’t break out sales figures for the Apple Watch. Though most of the tech sector also sold off as investors sought safer areas of the market.
The wider consideration is that (as the chart below shows) Apple shares have underperformed those of rival tech companies like Netflix and Amazon in the last six months because they have more innovative technology with bigger growth potential. This is perhaps where Apple TV comes in. Apple TV isn’t new but if Apple is going to begin producing original TV content for a device that has its own SDK, that is a major threat to Amazon and especially Netflix.
(Chart source: CMC Markets, 3/9/2015)
Apple has a nasty habit of tweaking existing ideas into something appealing to a mass audience. The market is looking for a new breakout product from Apple to catalyse a new bullish trend. Equally Netflix is so heavily overvalued (forward P/E of 439 vs 12 for Apple), the market will be sensitive to reasons to believe that its subscriber expansion could diminish. We’ll have to see if this event showcases such a product”
Jasper Lawler, UK Market Analyst
Watch the event live online on September 9 - http://www.apple.com/apple-events/september-2015/
Add it to your calendar to be reminded closer to the event - http://www.apple.com/apple-events/static/en_US/assets/pal-site-apple-events/september-2015/event.ics
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