iPhone 5. Source: Apple.
Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL ) new iPhone lineup is rumored to be unveiled at a Sept. 10 Apple media event. With the stock still trading more than $200 below its 52-week high of $700, the Street will be watching the company closely when it unveils its next generation of smartphones. With negative year-over-year comparisons in EPS for the past three quarters in a row, the iPhone 5 failed to help the company boost its bottom line. For this year's iPhone lineup to potentially have a positive impact on the company's bottom line, Apple's going to need features that introduce an element of surprise and differentiation. Particularly, these three announcements at the Sept. 10 event would help.
A lower-cost iPhone
If there's one aspect to the event that could probably make the biggest difference for Apple, it's the iPhone 5C, or Apple's rumored low-cost iPhone. Why? It could help Apple not only boost the bottom line, but also improve the its overall gross profit margin.
How? Apple's iPhone business is the company's most profitable segment. So even if a lower-cost iPhone had lower profit margins, they will probably be higher than the company's overall average gross profit margin. As Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty suggests, the outsized gain in revenue from increased sales in emerging markets could more than offset the phone's lower gross profit margins, boosting the company's overall gross profit margin, too.
Rumors are also suggesting that Apple may introduce a fingerprint sensor on the new version of its premium phone, the iPhone 5S.
For Apple to generate the usual hype for the phone, it's going to need to go beyond the typical internal upgrades (e.g., a faster processor or a higher-resolution camera). A fingerprint sensor would be an excellent differentiator. In fact, given that the phone is rumored to have a nearly identical form factor, the fingerprint sensor is basically a necessity.
Groundbreaking battery life
For many consumers, a smartphone goes wherever they go -- without exception. That's why battery life is more important than ever. On this front, the iPhone 5 is currently behind several Android competitors. Launching a phone with groundbreaking battery life could be a selling point in and of itself.
According to Apple's specs for the iPhone 5, the phone gets up to eight hours of talk time on 3G and up to eight hours of Internet use on 3G and LTE. That's a far cry from Google's Moto X, which gets 24 hours of battery life on mixed usage.
Apple must improve its battery life on its premium iPhones for it to have a value proposition that can meaningfully move the bottom line.
What features are you looking for?
What new features would persuade you to buy the iPhone 5S? Do you think Apple needs an iPhone 5C to meaningfully boost the boom line in 2013?
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