Oct 12, 2020
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Who's ready for a new iPhone?
Tuesday, Apple will unveil four new editions of one of the best-selling U.S. consumer devices in a virtual presentation on Apple's website and YouTube channel.
Instead of mid-September, when Apple traditionally introduces new iPhones, the company was forced to delay the event because of manufacturing delays in China caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The big news this year: connectivity to the new, emerging speedy 5G wireless networks, hence Apple's title for the event: "Hi, Speed."
Apple enthusiast websites peg the four models as starting from $699 to $1,099, similar to the current lineup.
Apple is set to unveil four new editions of its iPhone.
According to MacRumors, the models will be named the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max and a newer, smaller model, the iPhone 12 Mini.
The Mini would have the smallest screen size in the bunch, at 5.4 inches, bigger than the current entry-level model, the SE, which has a 4.7-inch screen. The iPhone 12 will have the same screen size as the 11, at 6.1 inches, according to MacRumors. The top-of-the-line iPhone 12 Pro Max will, at 6.7 inches, be the largest iPhone to date.
Andrew Murphy, an analyst with Loup Ventures, says the Mini is directed at consumers who want a smaller iPhone "without sacrificing the extra power and speed" from the newer 12 phones. The SE is still more competitively priced, at $399.
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A new Apple smart speaker?
Beyond the new iPhones, Apple looks to finally get competitive with Amazon and Google with a consumer-priced smart speaker, according to analyst Angelo Zino of CFRA Research.
The original HomePod was introduced in early 2018 with a $349 price tag. The new, small HomePod will be "more affordable to consumers," Zino says. The speaker is expected to sell for $99.
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Google just introduced a new version of its Google Home speaker (now called Nest Audio) for $99, and Amazon will ship a new, redesigned edition of the Echo speaker with what the company says is improved audio on Oct. 22.
The new phone season began in earnest in early October with the release of Samsung's S20 FE, a $699 budget version of its flagship S20 Ultra phone with cheaper material and less camera features and follows Wednesday with the release of Google's updated Pixel phones, the 5 ($699) and 4A (with 5G) ($499 and $599), which both connect to 5G networks.
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But it's the new iPhone that most U.S. consumers lust after. Apple sold just under 200 million iPhones in 2019 and shocked Wall Street in its most recent earnings when it announced that even in a pandemic, phone sales (along with iPad and Macintosh computers) had increased substantially.
Zino believes that trend is going to continue. He says the COVID-19 era has created a real hunger among consumers to get a new iPhone this year and predicts the new round of phones will be Apple's best-selling since the iPhone 6 was released in 2014.
"Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we think iPhone replacement cycles have now exceeded four years, as many consumers have held off on discretionary purchases like iPhones."
MacRumors expects the the iPhone 12, 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max to be available Oct. 23, with the Mini hitting stores on Nov. 13.
Apple's presentation Tuesday begins at 1 p.m. ET.