SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 12 — Apple Inc is expected to launch three new iPhones today and leaks from Apple website have so far suggested that they will be named XS Max for the top variant, XS for the next level model and Xr for the entry version.
The names were first spotted on Apple’s products sitemap page by technology website ATH confirmed-in-apple-products-sitemap and was later confirmed by media outlet Verge.
Reuters could not independently verify the content of the sitemap as it was no longer available.
Apple for years was known for being very secretive about new product launches, but in the last few years iPhone specifications have routinely found its way into public domain before the launch.
A small German ecommerce site specialising in electronics, Arktis, has already put up pictures of the new models on its website.
“Apple has sent us some dummies/samples,” an Arktis spokeswoman said. “But we do not know how Apple will call their newest devices. It was just a guess that we named them Apple Xr.”
Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Apple’s market capitalisation has passed US$1 trillion and the company needs to sustain revenue growth from its signature product even as global demand for smart phones plateau. One way to do that is to get people to buy more expensive phones.
Apple will likely blast further past the US$1,000 price barrier when it launches new iPhones, but Wall Street is most intrigued by how deep into its larger-than-ever lineup price hikes may go.
“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 6.5-inch (16.5-cm) screen with an edge-to-edge display and an OLED display with richer colours, and Wall Street is targeting a price of US$1,049 or US$1,099 versus the current US$999 base price for the iPhone X.
A second phone with a 5.8-inch OLED display, would be similar to the iPhone X but with an improved processor, and according to the sitemap will be called iPhone XS.
The third expected model with a 6.1-inch display 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.
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 fuelled 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 price for the iPhone 9, Goldman Sachs analyst Rod Hall sees as much as US$849, 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.
Rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has a few models that cost nearly as much as Apple models, but the bulk of its lineup, like that of other phone makers, consists of cheaper models.
“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-colour 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.
Apple shares were down 1.3 per cent at US$221.20 in early trading on the Nasdaq. — Reuters