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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Apple to unveil new iPhones, revamped iPads and more

Consumers could start buying the new products by first week of October

The much-anticipated 2018 Apple line-up will include a range of smartphones, a new mini Mac and accessories. AFP
The much-anticipated 2018 Apple line-up will include a range of smartphones, a new mini Mac and accessories. AFP

- Follow our live updates on the Apple launch here

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Apple, which posted $53.3 billion (Dh195.7) in revenue in its third quarter ending June 30, will unveil an array of eagerly awaited new products on Wednesday.

The United States tech major, one of the world’s most valuable public companies, will reveal three new iPhones, Apple Watches with bigger screens, overhauled iPad Pros, a laptop with a sharper screen, a Mac mini desktop aimed at professionals, and some new accessories such as the AirPower wireless charger, at Steve Jobs Theatre at the company’s headquarters in California.

“Apple’s annual launch event is almost upon us and there are quite a few things to get excited about. First is the update to the iPhone line-up and we are expecting three new phones,” Abbas Ali, managing editor of TechRadar Middle East, told The National.

In the third quarter of 2018, Apple posted an increase in revenue of 17 per cent from the quarter year earlier. Global sales accounted for 60 per cent of the quarter’s revenue. It was Apple’s best June quarter ever, and the fourth-consecutive quarter of double-digit revenue growth.

Chief executive Tim Cook said the third-quarter results were driven by continued strong sales of iPhones, services and wearables.

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Read more:

Apple to release new low-cost laptop similar to MacBook Air

Samsung, Huawei to launch new wearables in the Middle East

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The new iPhone variants are likely to be called iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max and iPhone XC, or iPhone Xr. While Xs will be an advanced version of the iPhone X, iPhone XC will be its low-cost version.

“Finally, we could see new iPad Pros that will come with face recognition ID instead of the home button and fingerprint sensor,” said Mr Ali.

It is expected that consumers could start buying new Apple products much closer to the unveiling date this year, probably by the first week of October. Last year, Apple started selling the iPhone X in November, almost two months after its official launch.

Top smartphone vendors by global market share. The National
Big hitters

In its guidance for its fiscal 2018 fourth quarter (ending September 30), Apple is expecting a revenue between $60bn to 62bn, while gross margin is predicted between 38 to 38.5 per cent.

Apple sold 41.3 million iPhones in the third-quarter, up slightly on the 41m sold in the same period a year ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Apple’s other products category, including HomePod, AirPods, Apple TV, Apple Watch, Beats speakers, headphones and accessories, generated sales worth $3.74bn in the third quarter, a jump from $2.74bn a year ago.

With the new launches, Apple is hoping to expand its market share in the increasingly competitive smartphone space.

Korean technology company Samsung, whose second quarter shipments nosedived by 10.4 per cent, led the market with a 20.9 per cent share in the second quarter 2018, according to International Data Corporation. The company was followed by China's Huawei and Apple with 15.8 and 12.1 per cent market share, respectively.

It is that time of the year again when excitement peaks around smartphones, with most of the brands presenting new launches and upgrades.

The National evaluates what to expect of Apple's new line-up:

iPhone Xs

With a 5.8-inch screen, it will be an advance version of the iPhone X, which was launched in September 2017. It will come with a faster processor and better camera. A new gold colour will be available in addition to last year’s grey and silver.

iPhone Xs Max

It is expected to be a grander version of the iPhone X with a 6.5-inch screen; an inch bigger than the screen of the iPhone 8 Plus.

iPhone XC or iPhone Xr

A low-cost version of the iPhone X with a 6.1-inch screen, it is expected to attract mass attention. According to industry experts, it is likely to have aluminium edges instead of stainless steel.

AirPower Wireless Charger

A charging pad that can charge an iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods simultaneously without the having to plug them in.

New MacBook:

Succeeding MacBook Air, it will be a cheaper laptop with a 13-inch display.

On sale by:

Analysts predict that Apple products will be available to buy in the first week of October. Early excitement could help Apple boost its sales during the US Thanksgiving and holiday shopping season because it will have enough time to roll-out its products by then.

In 2017, Apple started selling the iPhone X in November, two months after its launch.

Prices:

Industry analysts expect the price of new iPhones to start from Dh3,200 and it could go beyond Dh4,500. Apple X, which was launched in September 2017, starts at Dh4,304. In comparison Samsung Galaxy Note 9 starts from Dh3,699 and the Huawei P20 Pro series starts at Dh2,350.

Threat to competitors:

Apple’s new iPhone range could compete with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9, which was launched last month and is considered to be the best Android phone ever. Apple's offerings may also impact Huawei's P20 Pro.

However, analysts say new Apple products will come with minor upgrades and they are not expecting revolutionary new features.