Apple (AAPL) has scheduled a special media event for Thursday Sept. 10 to unveil the next version of the iPhone — presumably called the iPhone ‘5S’ — according to technology website AllThingsD. The report cited unnamed sources as saying that the expected launch could see two products take centre stage. The first would be the next iPhone, which is expected to have a similar design to the current model, but add a fingerprint reader as a major security enhancement, longer battery life, faster processor and an improved camera. Apple is also expected to introduce a lower cost iPhone for lower-end customers, dubbed ‘5C’, supposedly intended as a cheaper version of the traditional iPhone, with a plastic case and possibly available in a range of colours.
The introduction of a budget model would be a in a way, a forced strategy shift for Apple. The company continues to lose ground in the smartphone market to Google‘s (GOOG) mobile operating system. A report from IDC last week found that Cupertino’s global smartphone market continues to decrease with Android now within touching distance of a whooping 80 percent. Apple is a distant second with 13.2% of the market, compared to 17% in the same period last year. Meanwhile, Android expanded its share of the market to 79% from 69% in the same period.
If AllThingsD repport is correct, the launch date would come almost a year to the day since Apple announced the iPhone 5 on Sept. 12, 2012. Apple’s share reached an intraday high of $705 nine days later, when the iPhone 5 went on sale. Currently AAPL is trading in the mid $450s. The ticker has a market cap of $413 billion, down from more than $660 nearly a year ago.