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Apple, Samsung under pressure to wow fans

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SAN FRANCISCO: As Apple and Samsung gear up to launch new flagship smartphones, the market leaders are seeking a wow factor that can help them fend off challenges from rising Chinese-based manufacturers.

Apple is under particular pressure to dazzle as the culture-changing iPhone-maker looks for a way to maintain its image as an innovation leader in a global market showing signs of slowing.

"Clearly, Apple wants to do something different for the 10th anniversary (of the iPhone)," analyst Stephen Baker of market research company NPD Group told AFP.

Mr Baker said this is a challenge for Apple because "it is still going to be a flat piece of glass and the other things we talk about around a phone".

Apple is widely expected to unveil the latest iteration of the iPhone next month, while Samsung is holding a Wednesday unveiling in New York to presumably launch its Galaxy Note 8.

The two market leaders are seeing rivals, mainly from China, chip away at market share, creating pressure to showcase innovation, said analysts.

Some reports have said the new iPhone will include a high-quality, edge-to-edge screen with a notch in the top for an extra camera supporting 3D facial recognition.

In the second quarter of the year, Samsung stayed at the top with a 23.3 per cent market share. Apple held on to second place with 12 per cent, said market intelligence firm IDC.

Huawei was the third-largest vendor, with an 11.3 per cent market share. The Chinese electronics giant closed the gap with Apple, adding two percentage points to market share from a year earlier.

China-based Oppo and Xiaomi rounded out the top five. - AFP

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