Apple's coming new iPhones will need more wow

Two new models are said to be on the way, but the early word is they're not packing anything extraordinary that will get fans frenzied.

By Jonathan Berr Apr 3, 2013 2:08PM
Apple iPhoneApple (AAPL) has two new iPhones set to debut this year as it tries to win back lost ground from Google's (GOOG) Android operating system.

According to The Wall Street Journal, production on one of the iPhones is set to start in the second quarter, leaving open the possibility of a summer launch. It's being described as a "refreshed" iPhone similar in size and shape to existing models. Apple also is trying to build a cheaper, smaller iPhone that may be launched in the second half, according to the newspaper.

For Apple investors, who have seen their shares tumble almost 19% this year, these devices don't sound like anything to get excited about. If they have some feature that would knock the socks off the Apple fan base, someone at the Cupertino, Calif., company would have made sure The Journal knew about it. Odd as it sounds, these days Apple needs all the positive publicity it can get.

According to the latest data from Kantar, Android is taking the lead over Apple's iOS. As of February, the Google operating system accounted for 51.2% of all smartphone sales, up 5.8% from a year ago. Apple was in second place with 43.5%, down 3.5% from last year.

The other big problem facing Apple is that many consumers (including me) who buy iPhones shy away from the most expensive models, figuring that the cheaper versions are good enough for their needs. Plus, rivals such as Samsung are gaining market share by introducing new devices more quickly than Apple.

But Apple's biggest problem may be that it's a victim of its own success. Consumers are so used to getting awesome products from Apple that when the company tries to market something that doesn't meet their lofty expectations, they stay on the sidelines waiting for something better to come along. If that's the case again, watch out.

Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.

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Apr 3, 2013 2:42PM
Interesting that only Apple is expected to create "wow." Then everyone else recreates the "wow" and are somehow seen as more innovative. 
Apr 3, 2013 2:35PM
They did leak out a positive note that i07 has been delayed because it will be completely different.  I like the size of the iPhone 5.  GS3 is too big, blackberry Z10 is worth a look.  The only hardware to change should be Battery and a completely new interface with NFC and fingerprint recognition.
Apr 3, 2013 5:59PM
Keep on bashing Apple all you want.  They're a thriving American company with a huge following.  It's amazing that our media can only find negative things about that.
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