Apple is back. In stock market terms, it has returned to the levels of its historic highs. Last week, the tech giant’s share price surged back to a €450bn market capitalisation – the loftiest valuation it has had since its 2012 high point.
Is this over-exuberance? Or is it based on something solid? On the face of it, it’s because of the iPhone 6. It has all but been confirmed that Apple will announce at least one new large-screen iPhone in September.
The move, which is long overdue, has buoyed analysts’ sentiments about Apple. For once, everyone is happy. For once, there will be very little to whinge about.
The analysts and market speculators are right to be boosting the company at this time: the iPhone 6 is going to be a smash hit. This correspondent has often been lukewarm about some iPhone upgrades, with (arguably) very incremental updates implemented over the last three years. But everything we know about the iPhone 6 indicates it is set to be a juggernaut, putting Apple back in control of the high-end phone market.
To recap what the iPhone 6 is likely to offer, most of it revolves around that larger screen. Two variants have been reported, a 4.7-inch model and a ‘phablet’ sized 5.5-inch model. According to reputable sources (such as the Wall Street Journal) with a track record of accurately predicting iPhone upgrades, the phone will also have tougher, anti-shatter glass, a better camera and way more storage capacity. All of these features will please most business and consumer users.
But it is the bigger screen that will bring Apple ahead in leaps and bounds compared to its existing offerings. Why? Because most people want bigger phones, whether they know it or not.
For three years, Apple strongly resisted this. The late, great Steve Jobs suggested that phones above the then iPhone’s size wouldn’t be accepted by ordinary people. Apple has stuck to this position every since, despite a slight bump up between the iPhone 4 and 5.
But that stance now looks outdated. And a 4.7-inch phone is far, far larger than a 3.5-inch iPhone 4 or 4-inch iPhone 5.
In Ireland, the bulk of the phone market is conservative. It takes a few years to fully react to modern trends. Irish corporate users, for example, stuck with BlackBerrys for three years after the ecosystem ran out of ideas. Now, the Irish business community has largely migrated to iPhones, which have also become the default mobile device for older people.
These core Apple demographics have become notoriously cranky at dealing with changes in form factor and features. (“Why can’t they just leave them the way they were?”)
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SOURCE: The Independent