Apple expected to unveil iPhones echoing last year’s models

Apple on Tuesday, Sept. 10, is expected to unveil three new iPhone models that are so similar to last year’s lineup. (AP)
Updated 10 September 2019

Apple expected to unveil iPhones echoing last year’s models

  • The company will show off its latest iPhones Tuesday at an annual hardware showcase
  • IPhone shipments are down 25% so far this year, according to a research firm

SAN FRANCISCO: Apple is expected to unveil three new iPhone models that are so similar to last year’s lineup, they may be upstaged by details about the company’s upcoming video service.
The company will show off its latest iPhones Tuesday at an annual hardware showcase. But the buzz surrounding its best-selling products has waned, as have sales, in the absence of compelling new features.
IPhone shipments are down 25% so far this year, according to the research firm IDC, putting more pressure on Apple to generate revenue from services such as music streaming, product repairs, revenue sharing from apps and ad commissions from making Google the default search engine. Revenue from services rose 14% to nearly $23 billion during the first half of this year.
And now Apple is getting ready to roll out a Netflix-like video service that will feature a slate of original programs featuring stars such as Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Jason Momoa. Apple provided a peek in March, but hasn’t specified when it will debut this fall or how much it will cost. Those details are expected to be revealed Tuesday, along with more information about a video gaming service called Arcade.
The company’s new phone models will likely mirror last year’s iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max. Prices are likely to stay at $750 to $1,100, before add-ons such as more storage. And they will likely have the same design — with more display space, less bezel and no home button — that Apple switched to with the iPhone X in 2017.
With little change, many customers who bought models in the past two years may hold off upgrading this year, analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights said.
The biggest difference is likely to be in the phone’s camera, an area that Apple and its rivals have all been trying to improve as consumers snap more pictures on their devices. Even there, improvements from year to year have been small.
This year, Apple is expected to add an extra camera lens to each model. The two pricier models already have a telephoto lens for better zoom. Now, they are expected to sport a wide-angle lens to capture more of a scene than regular shots. The cheapest model is expected to get one of those features, but it’s not clear which.
Even with those additions, the new iPhones may still be catching up with the improvements that rivals such as Samsung, Huawei, Lenovo and Google have been making to their latest phones.
Unlike some of the other devices coming out this year, the new iPhones aren’t expected to support upcoming ultrafast cellular networks known as 5G. Apple paid billions of dollars to settle a royalty dispute with chipmaker Qualcomm in April to gain the technology it needs for 5G iPhones, but those models aren’t expected to be ready until next year.
Besides iPhones, Apple is also expected to provide looks at the next versions of its Internet-connected watch and its video-streaming device, Apple TV. New iPads could also be in the mix.


Oman said to mull new regional airline

Updated 9 min 41 sec ago

Oman said to mull new regional airline

DUBAI: Oman is considering setting up a new regional airline that could take over domestic operations from state carrier Oman Air, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

A request for proposal was issued this month by state entity Oman Aviation Group for a feasibility study into operating the new airline, “Oman Link,” the sources said.

Setting up a new airline for domestic flights would allow Oman Air to focus on its international network where it competes with large Gulf carriers Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Etihad Airways.

The new airline could partner with Oman Air with both carriers connecting passengers to each other but would have its own independent management, the sources said on the condition of anonymity because the details are private.

Proposals are to be submitted by Nov. 11, one of the sources said.

The new airline would use regional jets for domestic flights and potentially later to other cities in the region where there is not enough demand to fill the larger single aisle jets used by other airlines in Oman.

FASTFACT

Oman Air operates flights to four airports in the country, including the main Muscat International.

Oman Aviation Group and its unit Oman Air did not respond to separate emailed requests for comment.

Oman Air operates flights to four airports in the country, including the main Muscat International, according to its website.

The airline uses 166-seat Boeing 737 jets and 71-seat Embraer E175 aircraft on domestic and regional flights.

Both aircraft types are too costly to consistently operate domestic routes at a profit, according to industry sources.

Oman has been restructuring its aviation sector in recent years. Oman Aviation Group was formed in 2018 and includes Oman Air, Oman Airports and Oman Aviation Services.

A budget, second airline, Salam Air, was launched in 2017. It is owned by Omani government pension funds and the Muscat municipality.

Last week, Eithad and Air Arabia said they were jointly setting up a low cost carrier in Abu Dhabi.