Amid speculation Apple Inc. will unveil a bigger screen iPhone 6 on Sept. 9, rival Samsung Group has scheduled a media event a few days earlier that may showcase the next installment of its Galaxy Note phablet line.
Korea-based Samsung sent out press invitations Wednesday to its “Unpacked” launch planned simultaneously for Beijing, Berlin and New York with the caption “Ready? Note the date.”
That suggests a pending Note 4, a device that will retain a 5.7-inch screen but add features including a waterproof case and fingerprint scanner, according to online reports.
Apple, meanwhile, declined comment on technology news site Re/code’s forecast of a pending iPhone 6 launch planned for San Francisco but daily Apple news site 9to5Mac had tipped mid –September, timing that would be consistent with Apple upgrade cycles.
Analysts from research firm ISI believe the event will offer a “mother lode” of product refreshes, with details on the iOS 8 operating system to be preloaded into the new phones and on revamped iPad models.
The iPhone 6 may also offer near-field communication to turn the handset into a sales terminal for iTunes and App Stores account holders. And it could include a barometer to gauge altitude and air pressure.
Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple may also be planning a wearable band at another rumored fall launch event, this one in October, with the so-called iWatch to track health and fitness data linked into the new iOS 8 health app.
And Samsung could also be planning an upgrade to the smart watches and fitness bands unveiled at the previous Unpacked event in February.
Analysts say “large screen envy” drove Apple to relent on its commitment to 4 inch devices as Samsung’s Note and other hardware have demonstrated pent up demand for more display space.
According to SinoPac analyst Frank Kuothe, iPhone 6 will “boost handset replacement” among existing customers and help Apple win back market share from Android.
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White called it “imperative” for Apple to launch the larger phones this year to meet its customer’s desire and to better compete in China, which accounts for about 15 per cent of revenue.
“With the growing popularity of these mega-sized smartphones, we noticed a loss of momentum with the iPhone franchise in China,” White said in a note to investors.