While Apple may unveil larger phones, its biggest iPad and a move into wearables at an event in California next week, rival Samsung is first up to bat this week with what will likely be the latest of its big screen devices — the Galaxy Note 4.
Press invitations to simultaneous launches on Wednesday in New York, Berlin and Beijing say “note the date,” hinting that Samsung will display the fourth generation of the smartphone, which could include a 5.6 inch display, a new-look metallic back, improved screen resolution and a 16-megapixel camera.
A second version with a curved screen may also appear along with a 3G smartwatch equipped with a SIM-card slot to make it more of a standalone device.
Samsung, Apple’s biggest competitor, has seen its stock decline 8.6 per cent this year. Earnings at the world’s largest maker of mobile phones have fallen for three consecutive quarters, pinched between competition with Apple for customers of high-end smartphones and Chinese manufacturers such as Xiaomi Corp. and Lenovo Group Ltd. for less-expensive models.
All of that could help Samsung capitalize on its lead in a wearables arena that CSS Insight researcher Ben Wood calls “increasingly chaotic.”
Samsung has offered no confirmation of what to expect and Apple has said only that it has booked the cavernous Flint Center for the Performing Arts in it home base of Cupertino, Calif., for an announcement on Sept. 9.
Long-standing rumours suggest Apple will unveil bigger 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhones alongside a wristband in two or three sizes which the tech press has dubbed the iWatch.
Apple’s planned product introduction on the second Tuesday in September is in keeping with a strategy of releasing new iPhone models in that month, kicking off a broader reboot of its lineup in time for the holiday shopping season. Last year’s iPhone 5s and 5c also debuted on the second Tuesday of September.
Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, under scrutiny to show the company can produce groundbreaking products without Jobs at the helm, fueled consumers’ and investors’ anticipation by hinting throughout the year that there are new products in store. Eddy Cue, Apple’s executive in charge of iTunes and the App Store, has said the company has its best product pipeline in 25 years.
Apple aficionado websites said the device will feature several health and fitness biometric sensors including a heart monitor along with basic notification and access features linked with Apple’s mobile operating system.
Some models with a durable sapphire crystal display will be priced at more than $1,000 (U.S.), KGI securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a research note to investors. He said the display will be flexible and could be curved to fit around the user’s wrist.
“I expect Apple to launch multiple smart watches that come with different designs as watches are fashion accessories. One design doesn’t fill all,” he wrote. Kuo said the watch may include wireless charging and near-field communications.
A wearable device from Apple would face competition from companies including Nike, Sony, LG and Samsung that are all pushing heart rate and fitness watches.
A number of the devices offer sophisticated biometric features with optical and electrical sensors that collect data on blood flow, Co2/ozygen levels and temperature collated by access apps and displayed on a small mobile screen.
Forecast since 2012, the iWatch speculation picked up this spring after Apple trademarked the iWatch name and reportedly hired a design team and booked a late summer production window.
But some Apple watchers aren’t convinced an Apple wearable is ready for release.
“Expectations for a watch product may prove to be frothy for an item that has not been announced and has no pricing attached,” BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis wrote in a note to investors.
Chinese website G 4 Games cites unnamed sources as saying only the 4.7-inch version of the iPhone 6 will be unveiled on Sept. 9, with the 5.5-inch version destined for a later release and the iWatch not likely to ship before 2015.