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Apple expected to launch bigger and better iPhones tonight

Apple is all set to announce iPhone X, XS Max and XR.

As the Apple season kicks off today, this year’s bounty could be plentiful. It is expected that Apple will launch three new iPhones, including a new iPhone X, a supersized version called the iPhone XS Max and a less expensive variant possibly called the iPhone XR. Apple’s trio will take center stage in an event that’s also expected to show off a new, bigger Apple Watch Series 4New iPad Prosnew Macs and Apple’s AirPower wireless charging accessory — originally announced a year ago and never shipped — might also be launched.

It all started when a last-minute leak on Apple’s website confirmed the arrival of three new iPhones. The names, first spotted by ATH, are found in a product sitemap XML file hosted on Apple.com, and are associated with items that will be available to purchase, including Apple Care support, phone cases, and Watch bands.

The XML file mentions the Apple Watch Series 4 by name, and new watch bands in wider 40mm and 44mm sizes (existing Apple Watches are either 38mm or 42mm) and a variety of colours. The file also reveals a number of new Apple cases for the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max devices. The silicone cases will come in midnight blue, white, black, stone, and Product RED, while the leather cases will be available in saddle brown, taupe, black, and Product RED. Leather folio cases are also listed in black, Product RED, green, Cape Cod blue, and peony pink. No Apple cases are listed for the iPhone XR.

According to Mark Gurman, who has a good track record on anticipating the smartphone market, the next generation flagship will be called the iPhone XS and will come in gold, gray and silver. A plus-sized version, the iPhone XS Max, will have a 6.5-inch display — by far the largest screen Apple has used for a phone till now. And the company will introduce a (relatively) less expensive third version, which may be called the “iPhone XR,” with a 6.1-inch LCD screen.

Apple’s launch comes with the global smartphone market largely saturated, without a major catalyst for sales ahead of a likely roll out of 5G, or fifth generation wireless networks, expected in 2019. Research firm IDC expects worldwide smartphone shipments to decline 0.7% in 2018 to 1.455 billion units, with growth likely to resume as 5G devices become available. “We still believe the smartphone market has some healthy growth in the years to come, although finding and competing in those markets and segments is increasingly more challenging,” said IDC analyst Ryan Reith.

Apple has been working to diversify its revenue streams with software, services and other devices including its smartwatch. The event may see the Apple Watch getting its first significant redesign since its launch three years ago. Apple chief executive Tim Cook has touted fitness and health features of the company’s smartwatch, which dominates that market.

The culture-changing company behind the iPod, iPhone and iPad hit a historic milestone in August, becoming the first private-sector company to surpass $1 trillion in market value.

The landmark was the latest victory for Tim Cook, who faced skepticism when he took over as chief executive in 2011 from Jobs just before his death.

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