Mon, Sep 09, 2019 - Page 15 News List

iPhone to share spotlight with services at big event

AFP, SAN FRANCISCO

The iPhone is expected to be front and center at Apple Inc’s upcoming media presentation, even as the California tech giant steps up its efforts in content and services for its devices.

In its trademark, tight-lipped style, Apple disclosed little about its plans for tomorrow’s event at its headquarters in the Silicon Valley city of Cupertino.

Speculation is that Apple is likely to introduce three upgraded iPhones, including “Pro” models, and a successor to its more affordable iPhone XR, as premium handset prices hover around US$1,000. Some analysts say that services, subscriptions and online content could share the stage with the company’s glitzy hardware as Apple seeks to shift its focus.

“I think it is going to be the first year the event is going to also be about services,” Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi said. “We might get to see what Apple looks like as a company when they are talking about services and hardware as one product.”

Milanesi wanted to see whether there would be iPhone deals that “bundle” music, television or game services with new handsets.

“You have an opportunity to really bring value to the hardware with services,” Milanesi said.

Apple recently released a smartphone-generation credit card in the US and is keen to launch its TV+ streaming service before Walt Disney Co goes live with a rival service in November.

Many wonder whether the launch of Apple TV+ will be among Tuesday’s announcements.

The company also plans to launch a new game subscription service called Apple Arcade internationally by the end of this year.

Apple managed to grow its overall revenues, albeit by a modest one percent, to US$53.8 billion, even as iPhone revenues plunged nearly 12 percent in the April-to-June period.

The company delivered strong growth from digital content and services that include its Apply Pay and Apple Music, along with wearables and accessories such as the Apple Watch and Air Pods.

Some of those accessories could also get upgrades tomorrow.

Analysts say that Apple still faces challenges as rivals chip away at the smartphone market, in which the iPhone’s share is less than 12 percent.

As the iPhone maker refines its handsets, other makers are pushing into new areas such as 5G devices and folding smartphones.

Wedbush Securities Inc analyst Dan Ives said in a note to investors that he expected a “trifecta of iPhone 11s” that would help the company “put a fence around” its user base.

About one-third of the 900 million iPhone users around the world are in an upgrade “window,” meaning a strong potential for handset sales, Ives said.

“While China remains a wild card, we are bullish into Apple’s future” in the coming year, Ives said.

China accounts for about 17 percent of Apple sales overall and has tremendous room for growth, Techsponential analyst Avi Greengart said.

The trade dispute between the US and China has complicated Apple’s efforts to gain ground in that market.

“Apple needs Chinese consumers to treat the iPhone as a preferred premium brand at a tricky geopolitical moment,” Greengart said.

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