While most the tech world is excited about the iPhone 6 release date later this 2014, some analysts are sounding the alarm bells - convinced that a new growth era for Apple will only be ignited if the next iPhone will deliver on two important things.
For investment firm Barclays Capital, the iPhone 5S replacement needs to relive the first iPhone launch moments - when the late Steve Jobs pulled the smartphone from his pocket and revealed a device that he called then as the iPod and mobile phone fused together.
That time, the industry hailed the first iPhone as the mobile phone reinvented. Awes and jaw-drops were easy to come by during that time, which according to Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes is likely not the case come the iPhone 6 launch time.
Reitzes told Apple Insider that while the next iPhone and the rumoured new product categories from Apple seem to inspire excitement among consumers, prodding the market to believe that double-digit growth is sustainable in the next few years is another story.
Reading on speculations about the iPhone 6, the iWatch and even the Apple TV, it is quite hard to be convinced that "these products could move the needle like new categories did in the old days," the analyst said.
Must be a game-changer
As a result, according to Business Insider, Barclays is downgrading Apple's market prospects, advising on investors that "we believe it is time to step aside, given a maturing smart phone market."
There's got to be something revolutionary or game-changer from the upcoming iPhone model for Barclays to review its current assessment, Reitzes stressed.
And research firm NPD Group appears to agree, pointing too to what analysts have been harping about in the past few months - the global smartphone market saturation, the ill-effects of which are more prominent on the high-end segment. Now that is Apple's turf.
Wanted: Mass appeal
According to NDP, while the iPhone remains the muscle-car smartphone of choice in the United States by the end of 2013, the handset remains the preferred gadget of the affluent. The rest of the market, which is the biggest slice not only in the U.S. but also in other parts of the world, gravitates toward the competition - mostly on Android devices and specifically made by Samsung.
Numerous reports from research firms have indicated that for 2013, some one billion smartphones were shipped out and 30 per cent of which came from Samsung. That would over 300 million units that dwarf over the South Korean tech giant's rivals, Apple including.
As the projected saturation becomes more prevalent in 2014, the challenge for Samsung is to maintain the hold on the budget-sensitive market it controls while Apple must deal with two things on the horizon, according to NPD
The tech giant needs to ensure that the next iPhone will also appeal to the masses while at the same time must keep the upscale customers interested to the same device, said the same NPD report published by Apple Insider.
So on release date, analysts would want to see an iPhone 6 that is both a game-changer and accessible to more buyers in order to counter the prevailing market forces, aside of course from the killer features that the device will come packed with.