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.


Oil prices surge after attacks hit Saudi output

Updated 36 min 7 sec ago

Oil prices surge after attacks hit Saudi output

  • The Houthi attacks hit two Aramco sites and effectively shut down six percent of the global oil supply
  • President Donald Trump said Sunday the US was ‘locked and loaded’ to respond to the attacks

HONG KONG: Oil prices saw a record surge Monday after attacks on two Saudi facilities slashed output in the world’s top producer by half, fueling fresh geopolitical fears as Donald Trump blamed Iran and raised the possibility of a military strike on the country.
Brent futures surged $12 in the first few minutes of business — the most in dollar terms since they were launched in 1988 and representing a jump of nearly 20 percent — while WTI jumped more than $8, or 15 percent.
Both contracts pared the gains but were both still more than 10 percent up.
The attack by Tehran-backed Houthi militia in neighboring Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war, hit two sites owned by state-run giant Aramco and effectively shut down six percent of the global oil supply.
Trump said Sunday the US was “locked and loaded” to respond to the attack, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression.”
Tehran denies the accusations but the news revived fears of a conflict in the tinderbox Middle East after a series of attacks on oil tankers earlier this year that were also blamed on Iran.
“Tensions in the Middle East are rising quickly, meaning this story will continue to reverberate this week even after the knee-jerk panic in oil markets this morning,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.
Trump authorized the release of US supplies from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve, while Aramco said more than half of the five million barrels of production lost will be restored by tomorrow.
But the strikes raise concerns about the security of supplies from the world’s biggest producer.
Oil prices had dropped last week after news that Trump had fired his anti-Iran hawkish national security adviser John Bolton, which was seen as paving the way for an easing of tensions in the region.
“One thing we can say with confidence is that if part of the reason for last week’s fall in oil and improvement in geopolitical risk sentiment was the news of John Bolton’s sacking ... and thoughts this was a precursor to some form of rapprochement between Trump and Iran, then it is no longer valid,” said Ray Attrill at National Australia Bank.