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TOPIC: AAPL - Apple to Release Iphone 5

AAPL - Apple to Release Iphone 5 5 years 1 month ago #3164

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Apple Inc.'s debut of its redesigned iPhone will test anew its high-stakes strategy of once-a-year up-grades for a product that ac-counts for about 70 per cent of the company's profits - and is forecast to sell up to 10 million iPhones by the end of September.

The new phone, to be introduced Wednesday by chief executive officer Tim Cook, will probably have a new hard-ware design, including a bigger screen and thinner body, as well as new mapping soft-ware and compatibility with speedier next-generation data networks. Analysts predict the iPhone may be among the biggest consumer-electronics re-leases in history. Still, Apple's reliance on the device leaves Cook little margin for error.

"The iPhone is the make-or-break product for Apple," said Sarah Rotman Epps, a mo-bile-phone industry analyst at Forrester Research. "Apple has the undeniable lead, but to stay on top they need to keep innovating."

Apple could sell as many as 10 million of the devices by the end of September alone, according to Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos. By contrast, it took Samsung Electronics Co. about 50 days to sell 10 million of its flagship Galaxy S III smartphones.

"Until they do something really unimpressive, which I don't see happening this time around, Apple has a serious hit on its hands," said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst at IDC.

Almost one year removed from the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, the newest iPhone faces a growing army of competitors looking to grab a piece of a smartphone market that Bloomberg Industries estimates was worth $219.1 billion last year. Sam-sung, Google Inc.'s Motorola Mobility, Nokia Oyj and HTC Corp. are among those taking aim at Apple by introducing dozens of new devices each year, instead of just one.

The new iPhone will be Apple's first change to the handset's hardware design since 2010, raising anticipation among customers who have been holding off on buying a new smartphone.

The company garnered 43 per cent of its $108.2 billion in sales last year from the iPhone. And because wireless carriers such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless subsidize the roughly $620 Apple gets for each iPhone sale, the de-vice accounts for about 70 per cent of its profits, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.
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