Apple counts down to launch of smartwatch, bigger iPhone
By Supantha Mukherjee
(Reuters) - Apple Inc (AAPL.O: Quote) is expected to unveil its first new device in four years, the iWatch, in a gala event on Tuesday that may also mark its long-awaited entry into mobile payments and deliver a larger iPhone.
The company's shares rose nearly 2 percent to $100.22 in heavy trading.
Analysts say the new iPhone is likely to help Apple gain market share against mobiles running Google Inc's (GOOGL.O: Quote) Android platform by offering something Apple previously lacked — larger screens.
The iPhone 6 is expected to be available with a 5.5-inch or 4.7-inch screen, a step up from the current models' 4 inches. It may also boast extra-tough screens made from scratch-resistant sapphire material.
Fans of the iPhone are already lining up outside the Apple store on New York's Fifth Avenue to be among the first to get their hands on the new device, even though the phones typically arrive in stores around 10 days after their launch.
Cowen & Co analysts said they expected Apple to price its top-end iPhone at $499 and to reduce the price of its existing models.
Apple has struck deals with credit card providers such as Visa Inc (V.N: Quote) and MasterCard Inc (MA.N: Quote), the Wall Street Journal reported last week, allowing consumers to use the mobile payment feature of their gadgets for shopping. (on.wsj.com/1Bf9Vn3)
It might also finally be showtime for Apple's smartwatch, or iWatch — the company's first new device since the iPad in 2010 and the first to be launched by Tim Cook since he became chief executive in 2011. [ID:nL1N0R62SW] Continued...