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Tech world waits for iPhone news and hopes for magic

The tech world on Wednesday will have its eyes on Apple, expecting new versions of the company’s coveted iPhone but hoping for magic in the form of unexpected innovation.

Apple remained mum even as rumors ran rampant about what is in store at an upcoming San Francisco media event.

Analysts and industry insiders predict that Apple will unveil updated iPhones along with an Apple TV revamp that may signal a push into the online television streaming sector, dominated by Netflix.

In trademark enigmatic style, Apple has provided little more than the time and place of the event.

An update to the iPhone lineup is considered a sure thing, since the company has a pattern of doing just that every September.

Improvements are expected to include faster processing and better cameras.

New iPhone models might also feature the “force touch” technology used in the Apple Watch, which allows a user to control a device based on how hard the screen is pressed.

The iPhone remains a hot seller, accounting for the bulk of Apple’s revenue, but upgrades are needed to keep iPhone “at the top of the heap” in the competitive smartphone market, according to Gartner analyst Van Baker.

Apple consistently entices the market with tricked-out new iPhones in time for the crucial year-end holiday shopping season.

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Apple TV tuned 

Another expected star at the event could be Apple TV, which may get an App Store open to outside developers and perhaps focus on game-play, in a challenge to video game consoles.

The third-generation Apple TV was introduced slightly more than three years ago. The California-based company long downplayed Apple TV as a “hobby” after the original version was released in 2007.

“They are finally revisiting their hobby, the Apple TV,” said Forrester analyst Frank Gillett.

Apple is dabbling with the idea of making online television programming, a move that would challenge established players such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, according to a recent report in show-business magazine Variety.

“Original programing is the only solution to Apple’s biggest problem in the video world — that is, that nobody wants to sell Apple content rights,” said Forrester analyst James McQuivey.

“After watching what happened to the music business when Apple was given the keys to the kingdom, video producers and programmers are more than gun shy about handing the same power to Apple in the world of TV shows.”

Apple became a power to be reckoned with in digital music sales due to the popularity of its mobile devices and iTunes online shop.

While Apple was at the forefront of the shift to digital music, the world of Internet-streamed television already has powerful players such as Netflix and Amazon.

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Watching for magic 

There is weaker speculation that Apple could introduce a new, bigger iPad in what would be a break from the company’s tradition of unveiling tablet news at a separate event in October.

Tablet sales have cooled overall, and Apple faces the challenge of coming up with an innovation that re-ignites interest in iPads, according to analysts.

One way could be by tying iPads to more cloud services that better anticipate what users do using Apple products.

“I think they can make more magic happen,” Gillett said of App. “That is what I am going to look for.”

by Glenn Chapman
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