Apple expected to unveil iPhones echoing last year’s models

Apple on Tuesday, Sept. 10, is expected to unveil three new iPhone models that are so similar to last year’s lineup. (AP)
Updated 10 September 2019

Apple expected to unveil iPhones echoing last year’s models

  • The company will show off its latest iPhones Tuesday at an annual hardware showcase
  • IPhone shipments are down 25% so far this year, according to a research firm

SAN FRANCISCO: Apple is expected to unveil three new iPhone models that are so similar to last year’s lineup, they may be upstaged by details about the company’s upcoming video service.
The company will show off its latest iPhones Tuesday at an annual hardware showcase. But the buzz surrounding its best-selling products has waned, as have sales, in the absence of compelling new features.
IPhone shipments are down 25% so far this year, according to the research firm IDC, putting more pressure on Apple to generate revenue from services such as music streaming, product repairs, revenue sharing from apps and ad commissions from making Google the default search engine. Revenue from services rose 14% to nearly $23 billion during the first half of this year.
And now Apple is getting ready to roll out a Netflix-like video service that will feature a slate of original programs featuring stars such as Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Jason Momoa. Apple provided a peek in March, but hasn’t specified when it will debut this fall or how much it will cost. Those details are expected to be revealed Tuesday, along with more information about a video gaming service called Arcade.
The company’s new phone models will likely mirror last year’s iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max. Prices are likely to stay at $750 to $1,100, before add-ons such as more storage. And they will likely have the same design — with more display space, less bezel and no home button — that Apple switched to with the iPhone X in 2017.
With little change, many customers who bought models in the past two years may hold off upgrading this year, analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights said.
The biggest difference is likely to be in the phone’s camera, an area that Apple and its rivals have all been trying to improve as consumers snap more pictures on their devices. Even there, improvements from year to year have been small.
This year, Apple is expected to add an extra camera lens to each model. The two pricier models already have a telephoto lens for better zoom. Now, they are expected to sport a wide-angle lens to capture more of a scene than regular shots. The cheapest model is expected to get one of those features, but it’s not clear which.
Even with those additions, the new iPhones may still be catching up with the improvements that rivals such as Samsung, Huawei, Lenovo and Google have been making to their latest phones.
Unlike some of the other devices coming out this year, the new iPhones aren’t expected to support upcoming ultrafast cellular networks known as 5G. Apple paid billions of dollars to settle a royalty dispute with chipmaker Qualcomm in April to gain the technology it needs for 5G iPhones, but those models aren’t expected to be ready until next year.
Besides iPhones, Apple is also expected to provide looks at the next versions of its Internet-connected watch and its video-streaming device, Apple TV. New iPads could also be in the mix.


Aramco profits fall in tough quarter, but sees partial recovery from COVID-19 impact

Updated 3 min 45 sec ago

Aramco profits fall in tough quarter, but sees partial recovery from COVID-19 impact

  • Aramco see’s “partial recovery” from pandemic impact
  • Aramco president says company remains resilient

DUBAI: Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, reported a net income of $6.57bn for the second quarter of 2020, the period which witnessed the most volatile oil market conditions for many decades.

The result, announced to the Tadawul stock exchange in Riyadh where the shares are listed, compared with income of $24.7 bn last year.

Amin Nasser, president and chief executive, said: “Despite COVID-19 bringing the world to a standstill, Aramco kept going. We have proven our financial resilience and operational reliability, setting a record in our business operations, while at the same time taking steps to ensure the health and safety of our people.”

Aramco’s dividend - a big attraction for the investors who bought into the world’s biggest initial public offering last year - will remain as pledged, Nasser added. Cash flow in the quarter amounted to $6.106 bn.

““Strong headwinds from reduced demand and lower oil prices are reflected in our second quarter results. Yet we delivered solid earnings because of our low production costs, unique scale, agile workforce, and unrivalled financial and operational strength. This helped us deliver on our plan to maintain a second quarter dividend of $18.75 billion to be paid in the third quarter,” he said.

Aramco said the loss was “mainly reflecting the impact of lower crude oil prices and declining refining and chemicals margins, partly offset by a decrease in production royalties resulting from lower crude oil prices and a decrease in the royalty rate from 20 per cent to 15 per cent, lower income taxes and zakat as a result of lower earnings, and higher other income related to sales for gas products.”

Sales and revenue in the period - which saw oil prices collapse on “Black Monday” in April - fell 57 per cent to $32.861 bn from the comparable period last year. 

Nasser said he was cautiously optimistic that the world economy was slowly recovering from the depths of the pandemic lockdowns.

“We are seeing a partial recovery in the energy market as countries around the world take steps to ease restrictions and reboot their economies. Meanwhile, we continue to place people’s safety first and have adapted to the new normal, implementing wide-ranging precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 wherever we operate.

“We are determined to emerge from the pandemic stronger and will continue making progress on our long-term strategic journey, through ongoing investments in our business – which has one of the lowest upstream carbon footprints in the world,” he added.

Aramco expects capital expenditure to be at the lower end of the $25bn to $30bn range it has already indicated for this year.