The new phone, to be introduced tomorrow by Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, will probably have a new hardware design, including a bigger screen and thinner body, as well as new mapping software and compatibility with speedier next-generation data networks. Analysts predict the iPhone may be among the biggest consumer-electronics releases in history. Still, Apple’s reliance on the device leaves Cook little margin for error.
“The iPhone is the make-or-break product for Apple,” said Sarah Rotman Epps, a mobile-phone industry analyst at Forrester Research. “Apple has the undeniable lead, but to stay on top they need to keep innovating.”
Apple could sell as many as 10 million iPhones by the end of September alone, according to Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos. By contrast, it took Samsung Electronics Co. about 50 days to sell 10 million of its flagship Galaxy S III smartphone.
“Until they do something really unimpressive, which I don’t see happening this time around, Apple has a serious hit on its hands,” said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst at IDC.
Almost one year removed from the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, the newest iPhone faces a growing army of competitors looking to grab a piece of a smartphone market that Bloomberg Industries estimates was worth $219.1 billion last year. Samsung, Google Inc.’s Motorola Mobility, Nokia Oyj and HTC Corp. are among those taking aim at Apple by introducing dozens of new devices each year
Read more: SF Gate