Wednesday 7 December 2016

Apple bucks big phone trend with smaller iPhone

Alex Webb

Published 21/03/2016 | 02:30

Apple iPhone 5C
Apple iPhone 5C

Since Apple introduced the first iPhone model back in 2007, mobile handsets have only gotten bigger.

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Chief executive officer Tim Cook will buck that trend today when he presents a smaller iPhone, seeking to entice holdouts to upgrade to a new smartphone even if they don't want a larger device.

Unlike previous new iterations of the device, the 4-inch iPhone won't be packed full of technological innovations intended to send hordes of Apple fans queuing around the block ahead of today's launch.

Instead, it's meant to woo those still clinging to the more than two-year-old 5S or 5C, the last models with the more compact screen. The company is introducing the new, smaller iPhone at a time when customers are holding onto their handsets longer.

Apple sold more than 231 million iPhones in 2015, with sales dipping between April and September, as has been the case in previous years.

Mr Cook will wield a new iPad at today's event as well, details about which are scant. The tablet has endured its own revenue drop - unit sales fell by a quarter in the three months through December - as users have been happy to retain older models as their phones perform more of the same functions.

Releasing the new 4-inch iPhone - which will be manufactured in smaller volumes - now also provides an opportunity for Apple to try out new component suppliers ahead of the next generation of the larger, flagship phone that will be revealed later this year.

Although the event is focused on the new products, Apple followers may pay more attention to anything Cook says about the company's legal fight with the US government over an order that it help the FBI unlock a terrorist's iPhone.

After more than a month of sparring, in court filings, Congressional hearings and on national television, the two sides will present their cases tomorrow, before a magistrate judge in Riverside, California.

Cook may use the stage today at the company's headquarters in Cupertino, California, to reiterate Apple's argument that creating software to degrade the phone's security features would inevitably endanger the privacy of hundreds of millions of users.

Elsewhere this week, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble will speak tomorrow on the future of Europe's financial architecture at the Centre for Financial Studies in Frankfurt.

He will also address a panel discussion following a book presentation.

(Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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