Apple (Shutterstock photo)
The moment Apple (AAPL) fans have been waiting for has finally arrived. On Tuesday the Cupertino-based tech giant is expected to unveil its tenth-anniversary iPhone, which, according to the New York Post, will be called the iPhone X.
The price of Apple’s latest device, which will feature an OLED (organic light-emitting diode) curved screen, is expected to reach four digits, which — at minimum — would be about $250 more than Apple’s current top-shelf version: iPhone 7 Plus. Will consumers pay that amount? Among other features, the New York Post claims the iPhone X will come with facial recognition software. The biometric security feature, called FaceID, will replace the fingerprint-reading sensor of TouchID.
This is because leaked designs of the iPhone X shows a full-glass pane that runs from each corner of the phone, which eliminates the long-standing bezel that occupies space at the top and bottom of current devices. In other words, the iPhone X will display a much larger screen size even though the phone, when compared to its predecessor, sports a smaller, more compact physical size.
Despite the complete facelift the iPhone X will reportedly get, some Wall Street analysts worry that consumers won’t pony up the $1,000-plus the phone is rumored to cost. While other features such as wireless charging capability, 3D sensing and VR/AR technology may entice current iPhone users to upgrade, analysts don’t see those features as game-changing enough to the extent that will attract switchers from Google’s (GOOG, GOOGL) Android.
Meanwhile, in terms of Apple’s competitive positioning in China, where it faces rivals such as Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi, a $1,000-plus device, according to Reuters, is double the average Chinese monthly salary. This will make it a hard sell for Apple, which has seen sales in Greater China fall 10% in the third quarter. Once a highly-coveted market for Apple, Apple’s China market shares has fallen to fifth place below the aforementioned Chinese competitors.
“Apple really needs to launch a very innovative product this time around,” said Mo Jia, Shanghai-based analyst at Canalys, according to Reuters. “It has its work cut out.”
Despite the added pressure, investors are showing confidence they believe the iPhone X will be everything it has advertised to be and more. Apple shares, which have been the Dow’s top performer all year, rose as much as 2.15% Monday to $162.05. The shares have returned 40% year to date besting the 10% rise in the S&P 500 index.
Monday’s gains are likely the result of the fact that Apple is also expected to unveil an iPhone 8 and an iPhone 8 Plus unveiled on Tuesday, per the Post. And this would be a solid move, offering an alternative for those who aren’t yet enamored with the expected bells and whistles of the iPhone X. In addition, Apple is also expected to debut its updated Apple Watch, which, according to reports will have feature that make it independent of the iPhone.
All told, what is being billed as Apple’s “supercycle” is carrying the fanfare reminiscent of a Super Bowl. And its fitting that, as with the Super Bowl, the iPhone X is the first device iteration with a Roman numeral.