Apple's newest iPhone could have big screen, big price


FILE PHOTO: Customers walk past an Apple logo inside of an Apple store at Grand Central Station in New York, U.S., August 1, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

Apple Inc is expected to blast further past the $1,000 price barrier when it launches new iPhones but Wall Street is most intrigued by how deep into its larger-than-ever lineup prices hikes may go.

Apple's market capitalisation has passed US$1tril (RM4tril) and the company needs to sustain revenue growth from its signature product even as global demand for smart phones plateaus. One way to do that is to get people to buy more expensive phones.

"There’s no real game changer on the table," said Hal Eddins, chief economist at Apple shareholder Capital Investment Counsel. "It’s a matter of getting people to keep moving up."

The new top model is expected to have a 6.5in screen with an edge-to-edge display and be called the iPhone X Plus or Max. It would have an OLED display with richer colors, and Wall Street is targeting a price of US$1,049 (RM4,350) or US$1,099 (RM4,560) versus the current US$999 (RM4,100) base price for the iPhone X.

A second phone with a 5.8in OLED display, likely called the iPhone Xs, would be similar to the iPhone X but with an improved processor.

But it is a third expected model with 6.1in display, potentially called the iPhone 9, that has intrigued analysts most. The big display is expected to use lower-cost LCD technology but look more like last year's iPhone X than the iPhone 8, which itself looked similar to phones going back to 2014's iPhone 6.

Apple declined to comment.

That fresher profile could help lure price-conscious Apple customers with three- and four-year-old phones into an upgrade, said Eddins. Expectations for Apple's lineup have been fueled by reports from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is based in Taiwan, where many of the contract manufactures that also make Apple products are based.

While some expect a US$699 (RM2,900) price for the iPhone 9, Goldman Sachs analyst Rod Hall sees as much as US$849 (RM3,520), a significant bump for a mid-range device.

"Given the better-than-expected iPhone X demand this summer we doubt Apple is inclined to go for lower price points," Hall wrote in a note to clients.

"Apple has never competed on price," said Josh Blechman, director of capital markets at Exponential ETFs, which holds Apple shares in its exchange traded fund.

In addition to new models, Apple is also expected to unveil a gold-color option for the two new OLED-screened phones, a new version of its wireless Airpods earbuds with wireless charging and a new version of its Apple Watch with a bigger display. It also is expected to release a wireless charging mat that will be able to charge several devices at once. – Reuters

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