iPhone 5 Release Date: Will New Apple CEO Tim Cook Rise to the Challenge?

Apple Inc is likely to unveil its new iPhone5 today and industry experts are wondering how new Apple CEO Tim Cook will meet the challenge of the having the iPhone maintain its distinctiveness and desirability, without the celebrity status of former Apple leader Steve Jobs.

"The issue is always whether they're going to be able to do something exciting," said Roger L. Kay, an analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates Inc as reported by the LA Times. "They have a risk of not being able to excite their audience enough with the changes they're doing this time."

Cook faces the pressure to reach Apple consumers who are accustomed to seeing Steve Jobs in his black turtleneck and blue jeans. Without Job’s iconic face launching a new product, experts are wondering how Apple manages to outdo itself with the latest iPhone.

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Apple wants "to reassure investors and customers that, despite Steve Jobs taking a much less hands-on role, Apple will still be the marketing superstar," said Alex Spektor, an analyst at research firm Strategy Analytics. "Yes, they're great at hardware and software design, but what's really made them succeed is the ability of their CEO to sell their product to the consumer and the media."

iPhone competition includes Samsung Electronics Co., HTC Corp. and Microsoft Corp – three companies with up to date smart phones that feature special things like larger screens and voice-activated controls – many of which are less expensive than the iPhone.

So how will Cook compete?

Technology journalists are speculating that a cheaper iPhone version is in the works. They anticipate a potential tweaked version of the current square shaped iPhone 4, just with a lower price tag.

Word on the tech scene says Apple may announce new partnerships with wireless carriers in the U.S. and abroad, enabling tens of millions more consumers have access to the famed iPhone.

However, mobile industry analysts are saying the majority of the company’s growth will come from overseas where mass quantities of untapped consumers are just starting to embrace mobile technology.

According to Kay, the demand for Apple in China is strong. He says, “By adding carriers in China, they’re multiplying their effect over there a lot more than adding Sprint, which has 52 million customers. And India, Brazil and the Philippines will probably be next.”

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