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Apple expected to unveil new iPhone next week

A security guard stands in front of an Apple logo during the inauguration of the company's new store in Nanjing Road, Shanghai
A security guard stands in front of an Apple logo during the inauguration of the company's new store in Nanjing Road, Shanghai

By Poornima Gupta

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc looks set next week to unveil its much-awaited new iPhone, which analysts say will have a bigger screen and work better with remote computing services.

Apple on Tuesday invited media to a "special event" called "Let's talk iPhone" on October 4 at its Cupertino, California headquarters, an unusual location for a company that typically introduces major products at larger venues in San Francisco.

The invitation did not have any other details, and an Apple spokesman would not provide further information.

"This is the iPhone 5," ThinkEquity analyst Mark McKechnie said of the event.

The new iPhone would be the first major product launch under Tim Cook, who took over full-time as chief executive after co-founder Steve Jobs resigned last month.

It was unclear if Jobs, who is now chairman, will take the stage at the event.

Though a good product, the current iPhone 4 could use some improvements, McKechnie said. "We talked about it having a bigger screen, a dual core processor, and probably integrates pretty well with the iCloud."

The iPhone -- introduced in 2007 with the touchscreen template now adopted by its rivals -- remains the gold standard in the booming smartphone market.

The new model, which some have dubbed the iPhone 5, will have a bigger touch screen, better antenna and an 8-megapixel camera, one source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters in August.

Hon Hai Precision Industries Co Ltd and Pegatron Corp of Taiwan will make the new phone, and have been told to gear up capacity for up to 45 million units in total, the source said.

NEW VOICE FEATURES?

Apple launched the iPhone 4 in June 2010 in black 16 gigabyte and 32 gigabyte versions, and added white ones in April. The company typically refreshes its iPhone lineup during its developer event in June, but delayed the new model this year.

Apple sold 20.34 million iPhones in the third quarter ended June 25, which analysts say helped it vault past Nokia and Samsung Electronics to become the world's biggest smartphone maker.

Some analysts are expecting another version of the iPhone 4 to be launched along with the next model.

"The new (iPhone) 4 will tackle the prepaid market and the (iPhone) 5 will have the A5 chip that's in the iPad and be faster, thinner and possibly with a bigger screen," Colin Gillis, analyst with BGC Partners said. He cited possible voice-recognition features as well.

Shares of Apple rose 0.6 percent to $405.66 on Nasdaq early Tuesday afternoon.

(Reporting by Poornima Gupta, Alexei Oreskovic and Alistair Barr; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Richard Chang)

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