By Scott Martin and Jon Swartz, USA TODAY
(USA TODAY SAN FRANCISCO)Apple is widely expected to unveil its next-generation iPhone on Sept. 10, during what is an annual product refresh intended to juice its all-important holiday sales.
But this year, rival Samsung Electronics is poised to deliver some buzzkill to the iPhone's launch with an event timed a week before Apple's, according to sources familiar with Samsung's plans. The Korean electronics giant is expected to unveil a new Galaxy smartphone on Sept. 4 in Berlin.
Samsung had no comment.
Since its first iPhone made its debut in 2007, Apple has faced an endless parade of smartphones running Google's Android software intended for consumers. Wall Street and Apple enthusiasts have been waiting for the company to wow them with a completely new gizmo such as a rumored iWatch smartwatch or iPhones in different sizes and colors.
All Things D first reported on the Apple event. USA TODAY confirmed the report.
"We don't comment on rumors," Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said.
Apple's next iPhone release is expected to touch off a wave of buying that could serve as a catalyst for the stock ahead of the holiday season. That's something Apple could use to improve its stature after store sales came in flat in Apple's most recent earnings period.
"With a new iPhone and revamped iOS coming out later this year, Apple is well-positioned to recapture market share," IDC analyst Ramon Llamas says.
Still, Samsung's attack of smartphones in varying sizes and features is hard to keep pace with, and Samsung is expected to steal Apple's iPhone thunder by beating it to the punch with a new Galaxy smartphone in early September, said a source familiar with its plans.
Samsung took 30.4% of the worldwide smartphone market compared with Apple's 13.1% position in the second quarter, according to researcher IDC. Apple held 16.6% of the market a year ago.
At the same time, smartphones from LG, Lenovo and ZTE have made market inroads, especially in the Asia Pacific region, where Apple is seen as less price competitive. Apple CEO Tim Cook has made repeated visits to China Mobile's headquarters in a bid for that market.
Google, meanwhile, stepped up its smartphone attack with the Moto X this month.
Apple will likely come out with processor and camera advances for its next iPhone. Numerous unconfirmed press reports say it may come up with a fingerprint sensor. That latter move would put to work its acquisition of biometric specialist AuthenTec and allow a one-touch log-in by way of fingerprint-scanning technology.
What remains to be seen is whether Apple will move to a larger screen size and offer a cheaper version of the iPhone.
The radical changes underscore what lengths Apple will go to in order to head off a pack of competitors.
Brett Molina contributed to this report.