Apple said to ready refresh of iPhones to iPads for holidays

Apple Inc. is preparing for a busy close to the year with the debut of a new iPhone and iPad models, seeking to retain its position in the increasingly crowded smartphone and tablet markets.

After having minimal product introductions since last year, Apple will unveil a new iPhone at a Sept. 10 event, according to a person familiar with the plans. New iPad models, including an iPad with a thinner body design and an iPad mini with a high- resolution screen will be unveiled later, two people said. Software for the devices, as well as for Mac computers, will also be revamped, Apple said in June.

The updates will enable Apple to present a refreshed lineup of its top-selling products to consumers ahead of the year-end holiday shopping season. The iPhone and iPad accounted for almost 70% of the company’s sales last quarter. The releases come at a critical time for Apple, whose stock has slumped by a third from a record in September amid slowing profit growth and a dearth of new product debuts.

“To drive growth you need to have that next iPhone and iPad refreshed,” said Brian Marshall, an analyst at ISI Group in San Francisco. He said Apple will probably introduce a less expensive iPhone next month to appeal to budget-conscious customers, especially those in developing markets outside of the U.S. and Europe.

Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has said the company will introduce new products starting in the fall and “across 2014.” Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California- based Apple, declined to comment.

iPad Upgrades

After popularizing the use of touch-screen smartphones and tablets, the company is battling rivals such as Samsung Electronics Co., Google Inc. and Asustek Computer Inc.

The planned new full-size iPad, with a 9.7-inch screen, will have a body that more closely resembles the current iPad mini, with a thinner bezel than the current version, said the people. It will be the first redesign since March 2012, when Apple introduced a high-resolution iPad with the current shape. The iPad mini being sold now, with a 7.9-inch screen, doesn’t have the same high-definition display featured on the iPhone and larger iPad.

Apple’s share of the tablet market slid to 32% in the second quarter, from 60% a year earlier, according to market-research firm IDC. Tablet shipments are slowing in anticipation of new models from the company, IDC said last week.

Software Revamp

Apple rose less than 1% to $471.18 at 10:01 a.m. in New York. The stock had dropped 12% this year through yesterday, compared with an 18% gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

The Wall Street Journal previously reported about the iPad design changes. AllThingsD said Apple would debut an iPhone on Sept. 10.

The new iPhones and iPads will also feature an overhaul of the company’s mobile operating system, iOS 7, which includes changes to e-mail, calendar and other applications, as well as new color schemes and icon designs.

Carl Howe, an analyst at Yankee Group, predicts Apple will garner record sales of the products during the holiday quarter. Other companies tend to move their releases to avoid being overshadowed by Apple, he said.

“This makes it so all eyes are on Apple, and that’s exactly what Apple loves,” said Ramon Llamas, an analyst at IDC. He said Apple will see a big spike in sales after the products debut, during a boom lasting about six months.

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