Apple Inc is widely expected to launch a budget model iPhone later today in a move to capture newly affluent consumers in emerging markets.
Apple previously announced a special event that would take place at 10am Pacific Time on 10 September. Last week the Cupertino-based company confirmed that the event would focus on the iPhone.
Industry commentators and media are already referring to an iPhone 5C, which may be unveiled alongside the iPhone 5S, the expected premium successor to last year’s iPhone 5.
Apple is losing ground to smartphone rivals Samsung and Huawei in key markets such as India and China. The company’s reluctance to fudge its premium-brand image has allowed vendors with multiple price-bands to tap new consumers.
The volume of revenue (around half) that the iPhone places on Apple’s books has troubled investors in the past year. After the iPhone 5 failed to break new ground, stockholders started to desert the Wall Street darling, leading to a 29% fall in Apple’s share price.
Apple also announced it will hold a press event in Beijing nine hours after its US announcement. This will mark the first time the US vendor has held a China product launch on the same day as the US, leading to speculation that the Cupertino iMaker has reached an agreement with China Mobile Ltd for iPhone distribution – a deal that would represent a major step in challenging rivals in the Chinese market.