Starry-Eyed Apple Watchers Await iPhone 5
The anticipated launch of the iPhone 5 has many Apple fans in wait-and-see mode. "Not only are we seeing consumer sentiment around the 4S drop but we are also seeing lower buzz volume as well, a sure sign consumers are holding their breath," John Feland, CEO and founder of Argus Insights, told MacNewsWorld.
09/05/12 5:00 AM PT
Apple confirmed it has an announcement in store, sending out invites to a Sept. 12 press event that is expected to be the debut of the highly anticipated next-generation iPhone.
Apple has not confirmed it will unveil a new iPhone at the event, but the invite seems to suggest that its newest phone is on its way. The invite shows a large number 12, for the Sept. 12 event date. The number 5 is shown in its shadow. Above the numbers is text that reads "It's almost here." The number 5 could be a nod to the iPhone 5, which is how many people refer to the new phone even though Apple hasn't revealed its official name.
The event will be held in San Francisco at 10 a.m. The new device is expected to launch about just more than a week later, on Sept. 21.
Apple is also thought to be launching a new 7-inch tablet that would rival smaller, more affordable devices such as Amazon's Kindle Fire and Samsung's Nexus 7. That could hit later this month or closer to the holiday season, though, and all eyes are on what new features the Cupertino company might add to its latest smartphone. Rumored changes include a thinner screen that could make the device thinner, a larger display with a higher resolution, a switch to a smaller and more universal dock size, and the addition of NFC capabilities.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment.
Market Share Race
However dramatic the upgrades on Apple's next iPhone are, the device is receiving the typical hype surrounding a new iPhone. When Apple's latest earnings report didn't show some of the same record-setting numbers the company released in some of its recent quarters, CEO Tim Cook acknowledged that iPhone sales could be plateauing in anticipation of a new product launch. But that doesn't mean it won't have fierce competition in the crowded smartphone marketplace.
A recent report from Canaccord Genuity revealed that Samsung's Galaxy S3 surpassed the current iPhone in sales in the U.S. in August. Although phones operating on Google's Android operating system control a huge chunk of the smartphone market share, it's the first time that another single device beat out Apple's in the smartphone race.
"Not only are we seeing consumer sentiment around the 4S drop (something that hasn't happened to any other iPhone in the face of launch rumors) but we are also seeing lower buzz volume as well, a sure sign consumers are holding their breath," John Feland, CEO and founder of Argus Insights, told MacNewsWorld.
Samsung also saw a brief surge following the verdict in the high-profile patent battle between the rival companies after it was revealed that Apple will seek an injunction on certain Samsung products.
"Following Apple and Samsung's verdict, customers rushed to buy Samsung Galaxy S3's that weekend, with some stores reporting stock outs," Trip Chowdhry, senior analyst for Global Equities Research, told MacNewsWorld.
Reining in iOS
Those strong sales could signify a greater dent in Apple's hold over the market, if not necessarily for the next iPhone but at least for an assault on iOS, said Chowdhry.
"Innovation velocity in the Android ecosystem far exceeds that of anyone in the industry," he said.
Still, he said, the relative strength of Android phones in August is most likely because of consumers waiting to see what Apple will reveal next Tuesday. It's going to need to live up to the hype to be a hit as big as Apple hopes, said Feland.
"Apple fanatics that bought the new iPad with Retina display to replace their iPad 2 were disappointed with the lack of any real performance boost," said Feland. "With the iPhone 5 rumors focused on the bigger display, that is unlikely to be enough to pull any but the most faithful iPhone 4S owners out of contract and into a new device. The 4S's smaller screen and lack of true 4G support continues to earn jibs from iPhone and Android users alike."