Sept. 10 Can't Come Soon Enough for Apple

The long wait for Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) new iPhone -- and possibly even more -- may finally be over. Sources tell AllThingsD that the consumer-tech giant will host a media event on Sept. 10 to peel back the curtain on its latest smartphone.

It's about time!

Historically speaking, Apple has introduced a new iPhone around every summer. The iPhone 5 was announced on Sept. 12, 2012, and rolled out to retail nine days later. However, given the way Apple's stock has fallen since the last new iOS phone hit the market, the pressure is clearly on Apple to deliver something special.

Apple shares hit $705.07 on Sept. 21, the morning the iPhone 5 was introduced. The stock has fallen more than 35% in that time.

A few things have gone well for Apple. Outside of Google's (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) growing Android reach, companies that were hoping to replace Apple as the silver medalist in this growing industry have fallen short.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) has thrown billions at its updated Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system. Lumia devices are selling well, but the software giant's market share, according to industry tracker IDC, has grown from 3.1% to only 3.7% over the past year. 

Things have only fared worse for BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY  ) . It dusted off an updated operating system in January, but BlackBerry's market share has continued to fall sharply. Reports surfaced on Friday that the smartphone pioneer's board is thinking about going private. If so it's another concession that the turnaround process will take time.

With BlackBerry fading and Windows Phone failing to catch on, Apple should be doing well -- but it's not. The growing popularity of Android and the proliferation of cheaper Android smartphones with slick features and larger screens have forced Apple into carrying older models at lower price points to compete on price and scrambling so as to keep up on specs. Even with average selling prices and margins falling, Apple's global share of the smartphone market, according to IDC, has declined from 17% to 13% over the past year.  

The pie is growing to the point where Apple's thinning slice is still larger in absolute unit numbers, but there's also a problem in that roughly half of the iPhones being sold these days are iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S devices, which came out two and three years ago. Are iPhone buyers strapped for cash to the point that they want to save $100 on a 2011 phone or $200 or a 2010 relic, or is the iPhone 5 just not enough of an upgrade to make the premium worthwhile?

Next month's new iPhone will have to change that. It will have to be cool. It will have to raise the bar in a greater way than last September's incarnation. It will have to be the model worth buying, pushing average selling prices and margins higher again to the delight of frustrated stakeholders.

The next few weeks will be loaded with speculation about what we'll get out of Cupertino. It is crucial for Apple to get it right. 

The last thing Apple wants is to look in the mirror in a couple of years and see BlackBerry staring back.

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Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2013, at 9:46 PM, Oril wrote:

    Apple stock has dropped 35 percent since the iPhone 5 was introduced last September. How can you possibly say that a few things have gone well since that disaster occurred? Be careful what you wish for, the iPhone 6 if it ever occurs may well be an even bigger disaster for stockholders.

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2013, at 9:56 PM, webguy76 wrote:

    The wait is finally over? For what? An iPhone that grossly under-delivers what people want? A phone that is second to most Android phones out there now? An OS that only boasts a redesign? Give me a break. The new iPhone will have specs comparative to phones from 2 years ago. The software will be more like Android and will leave consumers waiting for the iPhone 6S or whatever it will be called. Apple has continually released lackluster phones since the 3G and people are catching on fast. Consumers that really weigh the differences in what they are getting and dismiss the Apple fad will buy something other that Apple.

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2013, at 9:58 PM, Oril wrote:

    How much is apple paying you to make excuses for them while bashing blackberry? Your bias is really becoming monotonous. You must have really lost your shirt betting on the iPhone5. Careful what you wish for.

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2013, at 10:19 PM, Oril wrote:

    Wife's three year contract on her iphone3 is paid off this fall and one thing she is sure of. She will not be replacing it with another apple product. She actually sees no reason to replace it at all as long as it continues to function.

    She does like BB10 and would likely be more than happy to eventually replace her aging iPhone with one that is compatible. One thing for sure is that she will never sign another contract.

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2013, at 11:06 PM, goog2013 wrote:

    LOL,

    bbry longs are mad on apple again.

    Too bad Bb10 phone only sold 2.7M units vs. 32M old iphones.

    number does not lie.

    This quarter bb10 phone could very well be sold less than 1M units. Watch out.

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