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Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) new iPhone, with a larger screen and 4G wireless technology, begins pre-orders on Friday, two days after being presented at a highly-publicized press event in California.
Don’t Miss: INTRODUCING: The iPhone 5.
But while the iPhone 5 fulfilled many of the expectations laid out by technology analysts and the media’s seemingly infinite array of inside sources, it offered few surprises. With Apple shares already near record highs, investors were looking for something extra — perhaps even the much-rumored iPad Mini.
However, despite all the secrecy shrouding these new releases, it seems again Apple was able to keep nothing hidden, which made for a fairly underwhelming launch. Still, the iPhone 5 is sure to be a massive success, even if it fails to revolutionize smartphone technology.
Analysts are expecting sales of 10 million to 12 million this month alone, and the iPhone 5 should give Apple that edge over Samsung and rivals using Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system. That alone was enough to give shares a boost after the announcement on Wednesday.
The iPhone 4S, launched in October 2011, exceeded sales expectations, despite being a more modest upgrade than had been hoped. Analysts’ projections for the iPhone 5 are conservative, and there’s a fair chance that sales will again beat expectations, especially given high demand for 4G LTE phones, of which this is the first for Apple.
Shares may also gain from expectations of further catalysts down the line. Apple is thought to have already begun production of an iPad Mini — some speculated that it, too, would debut on Wednesday. A smaller tablet with an accordingly lower price point would help Apple compete on new plane, and a fall launch could not be better timed, as Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) last week announced a new higher-end tablet with 4G technology that will compete in the space currently dominated by the iPad. Amazon plans to begin selling the device in November, just as the holiday shopping season kicks off.
At $199 or even $299, a 7-inch iPad Mini would make a great stocking stuffer, and appeal to a demographic that Apple has to this point largely ignored. Analysts would like to see Apple release the new tablet in time for the holiday shopping season, and just as Amazon is trying to take a bite out of iPad sales.
And industry watchers are still waiting for Apple’s first TV — not a set-top box like the current Apple TV, but an actual television set. Rumors have the company only in the preliminary stages of designing such a device, but if it has the sort of impact on the industry that did the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, it could be a major catalyst for Apple’s stock in the future.
But in the near-term, analysts and investors will have to be satisfied with watching the first sales figures for the iPhone 5 roll in. And if Apple holds true to form, they won’t be disappointed.
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