By Stephen Nellis and Sonam Rai
(Reuters) - Apple Inc is set to unveil three new iPhones on Wednesday, named XS Max, XS and Xr, according to coding on the company's website spotted by tech news blog ATH, confirming expectations that the company is making only minor changes to its lineup based on last year's iPhone X.
Details of the new phones were found in publicly viewable code contained in the so-called sitemap of Apple's website, which was subsequently removed. Reuters could not independently verify the content of the sitemap. Apple declined comment.
The coding did not give prices of the new phones, but Apple will likely blast further past the $1,000 mark set by the 10th anniversary iPhone X last year, when it announces new phones at its Silicon Valley headquarters.
Apple wants users to upgrade to newer, more expensive devices as a way to boost revenue as global demand for smartphones levels off. The strategy is working, helping Apple become the first publicly traded U.S. company to hit a market value of more than $1 trillion earlier this year.
"There's no real game-changer on the table," said Hal Eddins, chief economist at Apple shareholder Capital Investment Counsel. "It's a matter of getting people to keep moving up."
XS OR TENNIS?
Apple uses the S suffix when it upgrades components but leaves the exterior of a phone the same. Last year's iPhone X - pronounced "ten" - represented a major redesign. Following that, industry watchers say the new phones could be spoken as "Tennis Max," "Tennis" and "Tenner."
The new top model, XS Max, is expected to have a 6.5-inch (16.5-cm) screen with an edge-to-edge display and an OLED display, according to the sitemap code. Wall Street is targeting a price of $1,049 or $1,099 versus the current $999 base price for the iPhone X.
A second phone, the XS, with a 5.8-inch OLED display, would be similar to the iPhone X but with an improved processor. The third expected model, the Xr, with a 6.1-inch display, is expected to use lower-cost LCD technology, but look more like last year's iPhone X than the iPhone 8, which itself was a similar design to phones going back to 2014's iPhone 6.
That fresher profile could help lure price-conscious Apple customers with three- and four-year-old phones into an upgrade, said Eddins.
Rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has a few models that cost nearly as much as Apple models, but the bulk of its line-up, like that of other phone makers, consists of cheaper models.
"Apple has never competed on price," said Josh Blechman, director of capital markets at Exponential ETFs, which holds Apple shares in its exchange traded fund.
According to code on the sitemap seen by ATH, the company is also planning to release bigger watches, with its Apple Watch 4 coming in 40 mm and 44 mm sizes. The previous Apple Watch was available in 38 mm and 42 mm sizes.
It is also expected to unveil a new version of its wireless AirPods earbuds with wireless charging and a wireless mat that will be able to charge several devices at once.
Apple's event starts at 10 a.m (1700 GMT) at the Steve Jobs Theater at its new circular headquarters building in Cupertino, California, named after the company's co-founder who wowed the world with the first iPhone in 2007.
Apple shares were down 0.9 percent at $221.75 in midday trading.
(Reporting by Sonam Rai in Bengaluru and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Aditional reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru and Nadine Schimroszik in Berlin; Writing by Bill Rigby; Editing by Bernard Orr and Nick Zieminski)
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)