San Francisco: Apple on Wednesday was expected to unveil new iPhones, playing up eye-grabbing edge-to-edge screens in a bid to strengthen its position in a largely saturated global smartphone market.
Apple has remained mum about revelations planned for the event at its spaceship campus in Silicon Valley, but the timing fits its pattern of annually introducing iPhone updates.
In a first for Apple, the event will be streamed live on Twitter. Speculation includes talk that Apple will introduce three new iPhone models infused with features from a premium iPhone X that debuted last year with a $1,000 price tag.
Top among those features will likely be edge-to-edge screens that promise to provide about 30 percent more viewing space without increasing the size of overall handsets.
While the iPhone has made Apple the world’s most valuable company, worth more than $1 trillion, it has slipped to third place among smartphone makers as Chinese-based Huawei has grabbed the number two spot.
Still, analysts say Apple has a formula that works with a loyal customer base and steady sales.
Two of the iPhone models predicted to debut on Wednesday was expected to have prices higher than the iPhone X, which has been a hot seller. While iPhone sales have slowed, Apple profits have risen along with the average purchase price of its handsets.
Samsung, the world’s biggest smartphone maker, last month unveiled its latest flagship handset, the Galaxy Note 9, and next month Apple rival Google will hold an event at which it is likely to showcase new Android-powered top-end Pixel phones.
Google took to making its own smartphones to showcase the capabilities of the Android operating system that it makes available free of charge to handset makers. Android smartphones have come to dominate the market.
Apple’s event comes with the global smartphone market largely saturated, without a major catalyst for sales ahead of a likely rollout of 5G, or fifth generation wireless networks, expected in 2019.
Research firm IDC expects worldwide smartphone shipments to decline 0.7% in 2018 to 1.455 billion units, with growth likely to resume as 5G devices become available.
Apple has sold more than a billion iPhones since the first model was unveiled by late co-founder Steve Jobs in 2007.
The company is in the unique situation of controlling the hardware and software in its mobile devices, with content for users required to go through its App Store that takes a percentage of revenue.
With the smartphone market showing little room for growth, Apple has been working to diversify its revenue streams with software, services and other devices including its smartwatch.
The event may see the Apple Watch getting its first significant redesign since its launch three years ago.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook has touted fitness and health features of the company’s smartwatch, which dominates that market.