AFP: A decade after then-CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone, Apple Inc yesterday is set to introduce a completely redesigned top-of-the-line iPhone along with two other new phones, as well as a big upgrade to the Apple Watch and a higher-definition Apple TV.
The splashy launch event will take place at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple’s new Apple Park ‘spaceship’ campus - widely considered to be the final product designed by Jobs, who died in 2011.
The new products and the holiday shopping season that follows are the most important for Apple in years. The company has sold more than 1.2 billion iPhones over the past decade and ushered in the era of mobile computing, but last year suffered a substantial decline in revenue as many consumers rejected the iPhone 7 as being too similar to the iPhone 6.
Apple hopes the new high-end phone, expected to be called the iPhone X, will silence critics who say the company has lost its innovation edge. It features an edge-to-edge display with richer colors and facial recognition to unlock the phone without the need for a fingerprint reader or physical home button.
The two other models, expected to be called the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, are intended to update the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. They could also include some new features, such as a glass back similar to the iPhone 4 that would help facilitate wireless charging.
The phones are expected to come with a steep price tag. Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi predicts the top-end model will cost US $899, though other analysts expect it to cross the US$1,000 threshold. That compares to a top base price of US $769 for the iPhone 7 Plus prior.
Much of that added costs is driven by more expensive parts, like a higher-resolution display, 3D sensors and more memory capacity. “Some of these components are just darned expensive. There’s just no doubt about that,” said Brian Blau, an Apple analyst at Gartner.
Blau expects Apple to keep several lower priced models in its lineup.