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Reportedly, Apple Inc (AAPL - Analyst Report) will unveil its much anticipated next generation iPhone on Sep 10. The device tentatively called iPhone 5S (can be 6 also) is rumored to feature a larger screen, faster processor, and a higher resolution camera.
iPhone enthusiasts also believe that Apple will introduce a fingerprint sensor in the upcoming device. The rumor mill started rolling post Apple’s acquisition of fingerprint security provider Authentec in 2012. Additionally, the new iPhone is also rumored to be available in gold (to-date iPhone was available only in black and white color).
Apple is also likely to release a low cost iPhone for the mid-range smartphone market during the Sep 10 event. The device called iPhone 5C (C possibly represents various color options) is expected to have a plastic back cover developed from polycarbonate and glass fiber.
Both the iPhone versions are expected to be powered by the new iOS 7, which Apple previewed in worldwide developer’s conference (“WWDC”) in June. The new operating system features a different look compared to the older versions in terms of menus and icons.
iPhone contributes approximately 50% of Apple’s revenues. In the recently concluded third quarter, revenues climbed 15.0% from the year-ago quarter. iPhone growth continues to be driven by strong adoption from a number of U.S. government agencies as well as companies such as Cisco (CSCO - Analyst Report) and General Electric (GE - Analyst Report).
However, the company is in dire need to unveil a new device as it continues to lose market share against Asian hardware makers Samsung, HTC, LG, Huawei, Lenovo and ZTE, which use Google’s (GOOG - Analyst Report) Android operating system.
According to IDC, in second quarter of 2013, approximately 79.3% of smartphones shipped were Android devices, much higher than 69.1% in the year-ago period. Samsung shipped 39.1% of these devices in the quarter. On the other hand, Apple’s market share declined to 13.2% from 16.6% reported in the year-ago quarter.
Although a new iPhone is expected to strengthen Apple’s position in the smartphone market, we believe that it will be difficult for the company to regain market share, particularly from Samsung in the near term.
This is particularly due to Samsung’s frequent updates (compared to Apple’s yearly update), vast product portfolio that caters to every segment of buyers (both high income and low income level) and growing dominance in China (Apple ranks 7th in terms of market share) and rest of Asia.
It is also highly unlikely that the new iPhone will feature something randomly innovative that will significantly challenge Samsung devices in the near term. Also Apple’s dilly-dallying over a cheaper iPhone will not help its growth worries and stock price going forward.
Currently, Apple has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).