Apple’s shares continue to rise, hitting new all-time highs in anticipation of the launch of its 10th anniversary iPhone later this year.
The new handset is expected to include new features such as high-resolution displays based on OLED technology, wireless charging of the battery and 3-D sensors which could be used for 3-D mapping for facial recognition.
The problem for Apple is how to sell more given that much of the market is saturated. Global smartphone sales rose by just 2.3 percent last year at 1.47 billion units.
There is pent-up demand for a new iPhone. Smartphone customers have been holding onto their handsets longer. Timothy Arcuri, an analyst at Cowen & Co, believes upwards of 40 percent of those out there are more than two years old, a historical high.
The development and roll-out of the anniversary iPhone suggest Apple’s product strategy is driven less by technological innovation than by consumer upgrade cycles and Apple’s own business and marketing needs.
“When a market gets saturated, the growth is all about refresh,” said Bob O’Donnell of Technalysis Research. “This is exactly what happened to PCs. It’s exactly what happened to tablets. It’s starting to happen to smartphones.”