AAPL: Apple sets iPhone 5 announcement

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Apple Inc. (AAPL) is preparing to introduce the next version of the iPhone on Sept. 12 in what will be a design overhaul of its top-selling product, according to two people with knowledge of the companys plans.

The people asked not to be named because an official announcement hasnt been made. The new iPhone will have a larger screen and thinner body, and is expected to work with faster long-term evolution wireless networks being introduced by carriers such as Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. (T), according to analysts such as Piper Jaffray Cos. Gene Munster.

The design change will be Apples first for the best- selling smartphone since 2010, when it unveiled the iPhone 4. Last years update, the 4S, had the same look as the prior version. Anticipation for the new model has led to a drop in sales for the current devices, causing Apple to miss analysts sales and profit targets for three months that ended in June. The iPhone accounted for 46 percent of the companys revenue in the quarter.

Apple is battling Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) for supremacy in the $219.1 billion smartphone market. While Apples strategy has been to release a single smartphone each year, Samsung has become the worlds leading handset maker by putting out several devices a year in a range of sizes and prices.

The planned September debut was reported earlier by iMore, a technology news website. Natalie Harrison, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment.

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Higher Prepayments
Signs that Apple is preparing to introduce a new product were evident in its quarterly financial results. The company increased the prepayments it is making for components by $1.15 billion -- a jump that may indicate a new product is going to be introduced, according to a report yesterday from Maynard Um, an analyst at Wells Fargo Securities.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs had worked closely on the redesigned phone before his death in October, one person familiar with the matter said in May.

The stock rose 0.2 percent to the equivalent of $598.87 in German trading as of 9:08 a.m. in Frankfurt. Apple, the worlds largest company by market value, climbed 1.7 percent to $595.03 at yesterdays close in New York. The shares have risen 47 percent this year.

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