Apple of my I: Tech company could unveil three new iPhone models in California

Apple looks set to unveil a special edition device believed to be called the "iPhone X" when the technology giant holds a live event at its new California headquarters on Tuesday.

Details of the new model were revealed in an apparent leak after the name of the phone, along with two others called the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, were reported by two news sites given access to an unreleased version of the iOS operating system.

The BBC claims to have confirmed an anonymous source was behind the leak to Apple-focused publications code9to5Mac and MacRumors.

The special edition phone could also reportedly feature a 3D face-scanning camera and remove the traditional home button from the front of the device for the first time.

The firm's event will mark the tenth anniversary of the smartphone, which first went on sale in June 2007.

It will be the first event to take place at the firm's multibillion-dollar Apple Park campus, inside the Steve Jobs Theatre, named after the company's late co-founder and the man who unveiled the first iPhone.

A new Apple Watch and a 4K resolution Apple TV are also reportedly due to be announced at the event.

Industry analyst Ben Wood, from CCS Insight, said despite the range of announcements expected from the tech giant, little will change in the smartphone arena.

"We don't think the new iPhone devices will have a particularly big impact on the smartphone market. Apple already dominates the space in terms of the profits it makes with the iPhone and its share remains strong," he said.

"We don't expect this to change. As is always the case, innovations in the iPhone often get replicated in rival devices, and augmented reality will certainly start to feature more prominently from other players."

There have also been reports the special edition phone could be priced as high as £1,000, but Mr Wood does not believe this would be a barrier for some consumers.

"The media seems to have become obsessed with the idea of a £1,000 or 1,000 dollar iPhone," he said.

"The reality is that if you buy a top of the line iPhone 7 Plus today it will cost you £920. A further £80 is going to make little difference to die-hard Apple fans who always have to have the latest and greatest."

Apple announced a new augmented reality (AR) platform for app developers earlier this year - an area of technology which mixes real and virtual imagery on one screen, and is expected to expand greatly in the coming years.

However, smartphone expert Ernest Doku, from uSwitch.com, said Apple needed to recapture the public's attention in the wake of increased pressure from rivals and changing consumer demands.

"After a somewhat muted critical response to last year's 7 launch, the iPhone's latest iterations will need to upset the apple cart if they are to return the device to the top of the heap in the innovation stakes," he said.

"Despite a commercially rapturous response to last year's hero handset, Apple still faces an uphill struggle to win hearts and minds.

"While the suggested addition of wireless charging and a 3D dual lens camera will undoubtedly please innovation-hungry iPhone fanatics, the tastes of mobile customers are fundamentally changing.

"As we reach a sort of smartphone singularity in terms of design, mobile users have directed their attention away from the annual circus of handset launches and towards other key differentiators.

"The boom in SIM-only contracts - which now command a 30% market share - shows that the concept of flexibility is increasingly taking precedence over the acquisition of contracts that subsidise the purchase of high-end handsets."

AP


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