SAN FRANCISCO (REUTERS) - Apple is set to launch three new iPhones named XS Max, XS and Xr, according to coding on the company's website spotted by tech news blog ATH, confirming expectations that the company is making only minor changes to its lineup based on the iPhone X unveiled a year ago.
Details of the new phones were found in publicly viewable code contained in the so-called sitemap of Apple's website, which was subsequently removed.
Reuters could not independently verify the content of the sitemap and Apple declined comment.
The coding did not give details or prices of the new phones, but Apple will likely blast further past the US$1,000 (S$1,300) mark set by the 10th anniversary iPhone X last year.
The first publicly traded US company to achieve a market value of more than US$1 trillion, Apple needs to hike prices to sustain revenue growth from its signature product, even as global demand for smartphones levels off.
"There's no real game-changer on the table," said Hal Eddins, chief economist at Apple shareholder Capital Investment Counsel. "It's a matter of getting people to keep moving up."
The new top model, XS Max, is expected to have a 6.5-inch (16.5cm) screen with an edge-to-edge display and an OLED display with richer colors, and Wall Street is targeting a price of US$1,049 or US$1,099 versus the current US$999 base price for the iPhone X.
A second phone, the XS, with a 5.8-inch OLED display, would be similar to the iPhone X but with an improved processor.
The third expected model, the Xr, with a 6.1-inch display, is expected to use lower-cost LCD technology, but look more like last year's iPhone X than the iPhone 8, which itself looked similar to phones going back to 2014's iPhone 6.
That fresher profile could help lure price-conscious Apple customers with three- and four-year-old phones into an upgrade, said Eddins. Expectations for Apple's lineup have been fuelled by reports from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is based in Taiwan, where many of the contract manufactures that also make Apple products are based.
Rival Samsung Electronics has a few models that cost nearly as much as Apple models, but the bulk of its line-up, like that of other phone makers, consists of cheaper models.
"Apple has never competed on price," said Josh Blechman, director of capital markets at Exponential ETFs, which holds Apple shares in its exchange traded fund.
According to code on the sitemap seen by ATH, the company is also planning to release bigger watches, with its Apple Watch 4 coming in 40mm and 44mm sizes. The previous Apple Watch was available in 38mm and 42mm sizes.
In addition to new models, Apple is also expected to unveil a gold-colour option for the two new OLED-screened phones and a new version of its wireless AirPods earbuds with wireless charging. It also is expected to release a wireless charging mat that will be able to charge several devices at once.
Apple shares were down 0.8 per cent at US$222.11 in early trading on Nasdaq.