After months of hype, Apple's (AAPL) big reveal takes place on Wednesday.
The world's most valuable tech company will introduce its shiny new smartphone. If history is any kind of indicator, the iPhone 5 will then begin hitting retailers a few days later.
There's plenty riding on the iPhone 5. Apple has had to put up with Android devices gaining serious market share over the past year. Android devices accounted for nearly two-thirds of the world's smartphone purchases this past quarter.
Apple's new handset may not necessarily change that. Android is open-source, giving phone makers the ability to put out cheap wireless devices around the planet. The current iPhone 4S may not seem so expensive with its starting price of $199, but keep in mind that it's a subsidized price. Wireless carriers are paying Apple hundreds of dollars on top of that, knowing that they can make that back by requiring two-year minimum contracts.
Absent these carrier subsidies, the iPhone sells for closer to $600 in many parts of the world.
What will the new iPhone 5 be like? Apple usually does a pretty good job of keeping a few surprises under wraps until the media events, but everyone seems to agree that the new device will finally offer 4G LTE connectivity. The touchscreen display will also probably be bigger -- and better.
Global Apple fans can't wait. Last year's iPhone 4S was originally declared a disappointment by the media, yet it still broke records for the Cupertino-based tech giant.
Wednesday, don't be late.
Other things worth watching
Pier 1 Imports (PIR) is one of the market's biggest winners since the market bottomed out a few years ago. With investors fearing the bankruptcy of the home furnishings retailer, the stock traded for as little as $0.10 in 2009. Well, Pier 1 hit a multiyear high of $19.59 on Friday. Work the math, and we're looking at a nearly 200-bagger for the opportunistic investors who bought in when the chain's prospects seemed hopeless. Pier 1 reports on Thursday. Analysts see a profit of $0.19 a share, nearly twice as much as the stock itself was fetching three years ago at its darkest hour.
K12 (LRN) also reports on Thursday. True to its name, K12 provides proprietary curricula and online education programs for students in kindergarten through high school. The merits of Web-based learning have come under fire lately, but the cost savings can't be easily ignored. Analysts see a small deficit at K12 this time around.
Longtime Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple and K12. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple.