Just another iLaunch, or a new line in the sand?

Apple has fulfilled many promises, but will this translate to tangible gains?

Tags: Apple IncorporatedUSAWearable device
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Just another iLaunch, or a new line in the sand? Stephen McBride, Editor, ITP.net.
By  Stephen McBride Published  September 10, 2014

Cupertino's Apple is seen in many quarters as a fading maestro with precious few tricks left. While smartphone shipments have shown continued growth, the iMaker's market share has dwindled as emerging consumers have gravitated towards cheaper handsets, particularly in China, which is the world's largest market for smart devices.

But the launch of new iPhones always has the potential to whip analysts, pundits and fans into a frenzy of expectation, despite past blunders. Most would argue that this week's product launch was Apple's most important since the iPad. The inveterate innovator had failed to truly dazzle in many years and needed to sort out two main problems.

First, the US giant needed to plug a long-term gap in its product portfolio. It lacked a competing handset for the phablet category, which has several players, but is dominated by Apple's arch-rival Samsung Electronics.

Along with a slightly larger 4.7-inch iPhone 6, Apple also unveiled the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. Check.

Secondly, Apple needed a new category, ideally a wearable device, as Samsung had already released two generations of Gear companion watches and a next-gen standalone smartwatch in the Gear S.

Apple released the Apple Watch. Check.

But in taking genuine steps forward in both handsets and wearables, has Apple really distinguished itself from the rest of the pack? Will the larger phones eat into the market share of others? And will the Watch define a category in which Samsung already has a head start, and where the South Korean firm has gone a step further in bringing to market a standalone device, where the Apple Watch must be twinned with an iPhone?

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