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The world will not likely see the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPLC) iPhone 8 until fall but already the rumors have been enough to get investors to bet $200 billion the next Apple smartphone will be a hit.

Yes, the company has a lot of cash and its services business is doing quite well but make no mistake about it, attention is on the next iPhone.


Hopes Are High

After the last two iPhone models failed to ignite consumer passions, investors and fans alike expect the next model to get the job done. Apple’s annual developers’ conference in early June is expected to provide some concrete hints about features on the new device. This is typically when Apple previews the next version of its iOS mobile operating system.

Company stock is up 33% this year and has pushed Apple’s market value over $800 billion. Since 2010, Apple stock has averaged an 11% gain between the first of the year and the company’s annual developers’ conference.

Modestly Optimistic Projections

Wall Street analysts have projected Apple will sell 241 million iPhone units in the 2018 fiscal year. Many of those sales would be for the iPhone 8. This represents an 11% bump from the current fiscal year which ends in September. Most experts see this as a reasonable goal given the fact many iPhone users with older versions are anxious to upgrade.

Another factor is the intense loyalty of Apple iPhone users. A recent survey by Morgan Stanley noted that 92% of current iPhone owners plan an upgrade to the next iPhone in the next 12 months. At the same time last year that number was 86%.

Rumors Help Drive Enthusiasm

Perhaps no technology product spawns more rumors ahead of a new release than the Apple iPhone. Such is certainly true for the iPhone 8 despite the fact early leaks can be notoriously inaccurate.

Leading the rumor pack currently with the next gen iPhone, an edge-to-edge display, a glass body, and no visible Touch ID button anywhere on the device. The same rumors have the device similar in size to the iPhone 7.


The Competition Does Not Sleep

Meanwhile, Samsung’s new S8 is out with some interesting features of its own including a 5.8-inch display with a bezel that almost disappears. There’s also Samsung’s version of Apple’s “Force Touch” that provides haptic feedback when you press the virtual home button built into the display.

The phone also features facial recognition, a virtual assistant named Bixby and a desktop experience called DeX that gives users a PC-like mobile desktop on a display.

In other news, Android OS co-founder, Andy Rubin just announced a high-end smartphone designed to take on both Apple and Samsung. It’s called Essential and comes with a 5.7 inch QHD display, a pair of 13MP rear cameras and one 8MP front-facing camera. Additional features make it clear consumers will have multiple choices in smartphones moving forward.

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