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APPLE PREPARES FOR HOLIDAY REFRESH OF IPHONES TO IPADS

APPLE PREPARES FOR HOLIDAY REFRESH OF IPHONES TO IPADS
Apple Inc. is preparing for a busy close to the year with the debut of a new iPhone and iPad models, seeking to retain its position in the increasingly crowded smartphone and tablet markets. After having minimal product introductions since last year, Apple will unveil a new iPhone at a Sept. 10 event, according to a person familiar with the plans. New iPad models, including an iPad with a thinner body design and an iPad mini with a high-resolution screen will be unveiled later, two people said. Software for the devices, as well as for Mac computers, will also be revamped, Apple said in June. The updates will enable Apple to present a refreshed lineup of its top-selling products to consumers ahead of the year-end holiday shopping season. The iPhone and iPad accounted for almost 70 percent of the company’s sales last quarter. The releases come at a critical time for Apple, whose stock has slumped by a third from a record in September amid slowing profit growth and a dearth of new product debuts. “To drive growth you need to have that next iPhone and iPad refreshed,” said Brian Marshall, an analyst at ISI Group in San Francisco. He said Apple will probably introduce a less expensive iPhone next month to appeal to budget-conscious customers, especially those in developing markets outside of the U.S. and Europe. Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has said the company will introduce new products starting in the fall and “across 2014.” Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, declined to comment.