Apple battles competitors, unveils new products

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Apple has unveiled two new smartphones – the iPhone 6 and a larger model, the iPhone 6 Plus-, Apple Watch and Apple Pay, a secure mobile payment system.

Both phones are bigger than its previous handsets – with their screens measuring 4.7in (11.9cm) and 5.5in (14.0cm) respectively. They are also about half a millimetre thinner. The phones will be open to pre-order on September.

The company has also upgraded the resolutions to what it described as “retina HD”.

Apple saw its global share of smartphone shipments slip from 13% to 11.7% between the second quarters of 2013 and 2014, according to research firm IDC.

By contrast, Android’s share grew from 79.6% to 84.7% over the same April-to-June period, with Samsung the biggest brand and Chinese firms Huawei and Lenovo two of the fastest risers.

“The main benefit for Apple in going to a larger size of screen is not so much to woo people over to its devices, but to prevent its customers defecting, particularly to devices such as Samsung’s Galaxy Note,” said John Delaney, head of IDC’s European mobility team.

“There is a clear preference among a segment of Apple’s traditional market for a big phone.

“But one should bear in mind that Apple’s decline is relative – the smartphone market has expanded, and most of the expansion has taken place in the lower price bracket that Apple doesn’t address.”

Apple had previously justified the 3.5in and 4in screen sizes of its existing iPhones as being suited to one-handed use. In 2010, the company’s co-founder Steve Jobs went so far as to say “no-one’s going to buy” a phone that they could not get a single hand around.

But one expert said a market had developed for so-called phablets.

“It’s not all consumers, but there are some people who want the larger screen real estate,” said Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

“Watching video is definitely something that appeals on a bigger display, as well as gaming. And for business customers, having more space to do emails properly and look at and edit presentations helps.”

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