September is looming, and although it is notoriously a bad month for stocks in general, it’s a great month for technology stocks. Specifically, it’s the time for companies to show us what they’ve got for the rest of the year—that is, for the critical holiday sales season and beyond.
So, what have they got?
On the record, not a thing. Off the record, the Web is roiling with informed guesses, leaks from insiders, and images dropped accidentally or on purpose.
Here’s what it all adds up to for Apple
(NYSE:NOK), and Samsung
Apple: Cheap Is Relative
At a launch event on Sept. 10, Apple is expected to add at least two new models to its phone lineup. It may also throw something funky and new out there, like the long-rumored Apple iWatch device.
At the top of the line, the iPhone 5S tests at about a third faster than the previous model, sources tell Cnet.com
Apple fans are still trumpeting the expanded selection of iPhone color choices with the new model, though none of them are especially colorful. In addition to the usual black or white, the company is expected to offer the new model in a “subtle” brushed gold as well as—curb your enthusiasm here—a two-toned black and gray exterior.
The new model may also have a higher-quality camera, and a fingerprint scanner for improved security.
The other new phone from Apple is expected to be the lower-priced device that Apple stock watchers have long been pushing the company to introduce. This is shaping up as an iPhone minus a couple of familiar features, wrapped in a plastic case instead of glass.
The price tag is expected to be about $400, which is not so cheap for a smartphone these days.
Expected Announcement Date: Sept. 20
Google Bakes a Pie
The Nexus 5, the latest update to Google’s smartphone line, will be released in October or November. At least, that’s what many analysts and other observers firmly believe, despite the fact that nobody can even say which manufacturer has been chosen to make it. In fact, Google won’t even confirm that it will be released in 2013.
Despite the reticence, images of a sleek aluminum “uni-body” shell labeled Google Nexus 5 are making the rounds of the Internet. The device will be the first to use the next version of Google’s Android software, code-named “Key Lime Pie.”
Best guess is that firm details will start leaking out this week, since many key Google staff members were definitely too busy to talk over the last few days.
It was last Thursday that the influential Consumer Reports organization came out with a recommendation against the new Google Nexus 7 tablet, citing major problems, including a fluky touchscreen and a buggy GPS function.
By Monday, Consumer Reports announced
that Google has released a fix for the glitches. The magazine reversed itself, declaring the Nexus 7 “a clear winner” and recommending the device to its readers, in advance of a more complete analysis due in early September.
So now, Google can get back to pouring Key Lime Pie into a phone.
Expected Announcement Date: End of November at latest.
Nokia Is Sirius About Windows
Nokia is not giving up on Microsoft
(NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows RT, even after most of the industry has written it off. Not to mention the fact that Microsoft has written it down, to the tune of a $900 million loss recorded in its most recent quarter.
The Finnish phone maker is using Windows RT, the lower-priced and lower-powered version of the Windows 8 operating system, in a 10.1-inch tablet code-named Sirius that is expected to be released soon.
Writing for GigaOm.com, Kevin C. Tofel says this Windows RT device might be the one to break through. He notes that it will use a new version
of RT with a much faster processor, a sharper screen, and sleeker hardware.
Nokia is expected to price the device at about $499, close to an Apple iPad, and that could be a problem. Sirius will be
a bit lighter and thinner than an iPad, and will ship with a keyboard accessory, but still…
Once-planned RT devices from other manufacturers are not expected to materialize, but Microsoft is planning its own updated version, to be called the Surface 2.
There also will be a higher-powered Surface 2 Pro, using the grownup version of Windows 8.1. That may be the one to watch, since the Pro got more favorable reviews first time around.
Nokia also is expected to release an updated version of its Windows phone line with an oversized 6-inch screen this year.
Expected Announcement Date: Sept. 26 for the tablet; late 2013 for the phone.
It’s About Time for Samsung
Has anyone ever expressed a desire for a smartwatch? Does anybody need another watch, or for that matter, another device that needs to be carried, worn, started up, shut down, recharged, or checked regularly?
Doesn’t matter. Samsung is so eager to be first among many to market a smartwatch that it reportedly has scheduled a Sept. 4 event to get one step ahead.
Samsung especially wants to get ahead of Apple, just in case it reveals its own smartwatch later in the month.
Early reports suggest that the Galaxy Gear smartwatch will work in tandem with a Samsung phone or tablet, using a Galaxy Gear “watch manager” app.
It will be an Android-powered device with its own itty-bitty phone, speakers, and full-color display. Mercifully, it will have no text-entry capability, but it will accept the usual gestures like touch, swipe, and select.
So, it sounds like the watch may function as an alert receiver, making it easier to get a notification that can then be followed through on the phone.
Just thinking about it is exhausting.
Expected Announcement Date: Sept. 4
Editor's note: This story was updated to include a correction. Apple will be holding its launch event on Sept.10, not Sept. 20, as was previously reported.
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Position in MSFT.
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