iPhone 5 Debut: Apple Needs a Hit on September 21


Earlier this week, we confirmed speculation that Apple (AAPL) will roll out its latest iPhone on September 21, a mere four weeks away.

An iPhone debut is always an event, but things should be particularly interesting this time around. Now that AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) have fleshed out their 4G networks, it's widely believed that the next iPhone will be Apple's first smartphone with true 4G connectivity.

The design chatter is everywhere. Some sources claim that a radical new design is coming, complete with a larger screen. Apple isn't leaving any prototypes behind in California bars, so the market will probably have to wait for the company's own unveiling process next month.

Apple Needs a Hit

No one's feeling sorry about the class act of Cupertino. Apple shares kicked off the week by closing at an all-time high on Monday. However, Apple can't afford to slip.

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Android continues to gobble up market share. Industry tracker Gartner's latest report shows that Android's global market share has grown from 43% to 64% over the past year. Apple, on the other hand, has merely gone from 18% to 19%.

The attraction to Android is clear. The open-source nature of Google's (GOOG) industry-leading mobile operating system results in many different handset manufacturers putting out a wide variety of (typically cheaper) models.

However, Apple's the company that's making the lion's share of the profitability in this booming niche. If it can continue to introduce new features that will leave the competition scrambling -- the way that it did with the Siri voice-activated digital assistant in last year's Apple 4S -- iPhone rollouts will keep drawing big crowds and even bigger media coverage.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not owns shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google and Apple and creating a bull call spread position in Apple.

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