Adrian Weckler: New Apple iPhone but what’s in store for the consumer?
THIS evening, Apple will reveal its latest iPhones to the world but new features will they have?
While the company likes to keep us guessing, an unending series of industry revelations and leaked photos in recent months has provided a solid idea of what to expect. Here are seven things to look for.
1. A budget-oriented iPhone 5
The big news will most likely be around a new 'affordable' (Apple dislikes the word 'cheap') iPhone 5. Widely expected to be called the iPhone 5C, the device is tipped to arrive in a plastic casing with the choice of several colours. The handset is expected to have the four-inch screen of its sister iPhone 5 devices. There is no guidance as to how much it will cost, but the cheapest existing model, the iPhone 4, costs €400 sim-free (the cheapest iPhone 5 costs €680 sim-free). Any new 'budget' iPhone 5 is unlikely to be cheaper than €400, if indeed it is even that cheap.
2. An updated, high end iPhone
While no-one is expecting an iPhone 6, an updated version of Apple's existing top-line device, the iPhone 5, is on the cards. Widely tipped to be called the iPhone 5S, the handset is expected to come with a faster processor, a better camera and beefier graphics. Other than the choice of another colour (gold), there is some speculation that the device may also incorporate new fingerprint recognition technology.
3. Upgraded operating system
Both of the new iPhones are expected to run Apple's updated interface, iOS7. Apple will be keen to avoid the embarrassment that accompanied the launch of iOS6, particularly around mapping software. In addition to a new look for icons, this version incorporates several new features of particular interest to corporate IT departments and business users. This is a key market to be won, as BlackBerry has collapsed and Windows Phone has not yet reached critical mass among business smartphones users.
4. Possible updates to Apple TV
Movie-streaming services such as Netflix are booming in Ireland and across the world, thanks to television series such as Breaking Bad. One of the main devices to access this kind of content is through the Apple TV streaming box. It has been a while since this has been updated and there is a strong possibility that an announcement will be made regarding an upgraded version.
5. Corporate distribution deals
Whereas Steve Jobs was an ideas man, current CEO Tim Cook is a sales and distribution expert. Tonight's launch is expected to be accompanied by an announcement that Apple has penned a deal with one of China's largest mobile operators to get better traction in the all-important Chinese market. To give some context, there are 750m Chinese phone subscribers, over twice the number in the EU. Apple is desperate to do this deal, as it doing badly in China with sales of its products having fallen 14pc year-on-year there.
6. iPad mini? Unlikely
While most attention has been given over to the launch of a cheap iPhone, there is a fading possibility of upgrades to Apple's iPad mini line of tablets being announced. This would see the gadget gain a higher-resolution screen and potentially more power under the hood. These are definitely due before Christmas, but Apple may wait to get separate publicity for the gadgets next month or in November.
7. Availability in Ireland
Apple usually makes its phones and tablets available to pre-order on the day of an announcement. Full sales availability in Ireland usually commences within a month.