Apple Inc. launched the most-anticipated flagship smartphone, iPhone 8, at an annual event in Cupertino, California on Tuesday. The tech giant is expected to bring in major changes in form factor in the smartphone.
The event was also marked by ‘another first’ for the company, as it was the first time a launch event was held at its new headquarters. The venue embraces the Steve Jobs Theater—a 1,000-seat capacity, 20-foot-gigantic glass auditorium with leather seats, a hidden demonstration area, and a revolving elevator.
In the first week of this month, Apple saw its share price dipping sharply from its recent record highs, leaving questions in the minds of several investors about its future earnings potential. However, if the Tuesday’s event is perceived as a disappointment, the company’s image can be tarnished further.
The iPhone 8, with its improved form factors like a bezel-less display and powerful A11 processor, could transform the equations of the industry. Nevertheless, this launch will be marked by the characteristic long queues and customary hype as seen during the other biggest releases in the past.
Meanwhile, Benjamin Schachter, Macquarie analyst in New York, said, “We expect the next iPhone to include innovations that will be clearly visible, marketable, and useful for the mass-market globally.” “The days of pure spec increases driving demand are long over,” He added.
He has been confident about the forthcoming launch by the pent-up demand for iPhones. In 2014, the launch of iPhone 6 brought in the largest upgrade revolution for the company with screen size proving to be the biggest contributing factor. Though this device had relatively limited innovation and visual changes, Apple could sell more than 215 million units last year.
Schachter said, “With the enhancements we expect for the next iPhone, we have full confidence that demand will be as strong (as) or even stronger than when the iPhone 6 and its larger screen came”.
The company’s co-founder, Steve Jobs, surprised event attendees during his keynotes with new developments and features in the phone like ability to purchase/download movies through iTunes and introduction of FaceTime app.
Amit Daryanani, RBC Capital Markets analyst, said, “Although expectations remain high, we think the event still has potential to surprise investors on the upside, particularly as some of the new iPhone features are demonstrated live”.
He hinted uncertainties related to the pricing of a new product, known as the iPhone X. He however said that Apple intends to target the issue of low price elasticity in the luxury market with this launch.
Apple also plans to unveil a new TV that supports 4K streaming as well as release software updates for all its devices. However, iPhone 8 remains the focal point for investors.
Rod Hall, an analyst at J.P. Morgan, said “The most important thing that Apple is likely to say about the Apple TV financially relates to the content available on the device. He added, “Amazon Prime Video should finally be made available.”
Investors expect to see TV providers, such as Hulu, being integrated into Apple’s content aggregation app in future.