Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) took the wraps off its iPhone and there were few surprises. As expected, a thinner unibody construction resulted in a phone that's lighter and 18% thinner. In addition, the newest iPhone sports a 4-inch screen and LTE. In a nod to the importance of Apple among the tech industry, news of the inclusion of LTE alone helped send supplier Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM ) up today and made Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) , which has built out the best U.S. LTE network, the top-performing Dow stock on the day.
Yet there are plenty of continuing storylines to follow in the weeks ahead, many of which you won't find in typical reports wrapping up the iPhone. As part of our premium Apple report, we offer not only a comprehensive report on Apple, but also continuing updates on the company. Here's a sneak peak at today's exclusive update on the iPhone for members of our Apple report, which includes some overlooked storylines as the iPhone prepares for a huge Sept. 21 launch.
Three iPhone storylines to watch
- Faster rollout: The iPhone 4S had barely rolled out into Brazil before the end of 2011 and didn't launch in China until 2012. Apple's condensing the iPhone 5 launch in a much tighter timeframe, claiming launches on 240 of its 250 carriers by the end of the year! That's a huge rollout and once again demonstrates the importance of smartphones as a growing force around the globe. In addition, that puts the iPhone out well ahead of the start of the Chinese New Year on Feb. 10. The Chinese New Year accounted for $64 billion in retail sales during 2011, compared with $44 billion in U.S. sales the week before Christmas. It's an important shopping season in Apple's second largest market, and the iPhone 5 will be ready for it.
- Pricing indecision: Apple held firm with its price points across phones and also introduced a new iPod Touch starting at $299, with a 64 GB model at $399. The interesting wrinkle here is that an iPad Mini is widely expected to be unveiled at either a $249 or $299 price point. Will Apple's (presumed) 7.85-inch tablet actually cost less than a much smaller iPod Touch? We'll have to see when Apple unveils the pint-sized iPad, which is widely expected to take place in mid-October.
- Product launches as marketing: Apple has long been an expert on getting outsized media attention with a sliver of the advertising budget of competitors. Today's event served as a big marketing event at an important time. A narrative has been forming across the media that Apple is falling behind because competitors have caught up with the iPhone and it looks outdated. Commenters point to Apple's inferior screen size or lack of certain key technologies. However, Apple has never been a company that competes on "specs." It's going for user experience. From that standpoint, Apple was able to use the event today to explain why it thinks a 4-inch screen is superior to Android models -- why bigger isn't better. While other companies fight for ad space in magazines or television to promote their products, launch events like today's give Apple a platform to not just get more attention for its products, but also to reset the narrative on certain issues, such as why its screen size is superior to larger Android models. That's a very subtle yet important point.
Guidance for the road ahead
That's just a sample of the exclusive updates offered to members of our Apple ticker report. The report also comes with a bonus iPhone 5 report on how investors can profit on the new device. Sign up today to get it all, and it comes with free updates for a year.