As Apple's new CEO Tim Cook takes to stage on Tuesday for his first-ever product launch - iPhone 5 launch is set for Tuesday - questions arise from technology geeks and Apple loyalists as to whether the new, more powerful version of Apple's wildly popular smartphone will end Samsung Galaxy S2's reign on the top.
The Galaxy S2 smartphone from the Samsung stable has been a tremendous success with more than 3 million units sold within a few months. Priced at Rs 32,890, the smartphone runs on latest Android 2.3 OS.
According to data released by the company in July, the Samsung Galaxy S2 had sold 3 million units in just 55 days of being launched.
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The South Korean mobile handset maker Samsung expects the smartphone segment to contribute 15 per cent to the sales volume by the year-end, led by the Samsung Galaxy S2.
Apple, the ever-so secretive company sent out emailed invitations last week for a media event at its headquarters in Cupertino on Tuesday, saying "Let's talk iPhone", hinting at showing off the latest version of the device - more than a year after it launched iPhone 4.
Tuesday's launch will the first for Tim Cook, who took over as the technology giant's CEO in August, following the stepping down of Steve Jobs after being out on an indefinite medical leave since January. The Apple co-founder is now its executive chairman.
Jobs took a break from his medical leave, twice this year, to present Apple's innovations - most recently in June to show off its new mobile software and iCloud content storage service.
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Though not nearly as recognisable as Jobs, Cook, formerly Apple's chief operating officer, has been running Apple since January. For years, he has been in charge of Apple's day-to-day operations, and he has long been seen as the natural successor.
He also served as Apple's leader for two months in 2004 while Jobs battled cancer and again for five-and-a-half months in 2009 when Jobs received a liver transplant.
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The first iPhone came out in 2007
, and the phone's signature slick looks, high-resolution screen and intuitive software has gained millions of fans over the years. There were 39 million iPhones sold just between January and the end of June this year.
iPhone 5 is expected to include Apple's forthcoming iCloud service, which will store content such as music, documents, apps and photos on Apple's servers and let you access them wirelessly on numerous devices.
Reports with foreign news agencies say Apple could, on Tuesday, trot out new iPods and updates to its iTunes music software, which it usually does in the fall. Last September, Apple announced updates to iTunes and a line of revamped iPods, which included a version of the iPod Nano with a touch screen.
Meanwhile, as smartphone followers world over await more details about the gadget, a top Samsung executive last week said the company will take a bolder stance in its patent battle with the smartphone and tablet rival Apple, which it claims has been "free riding" on its patented wireless technologies.
"We'll be pursuing our rights for this in a more aggressive way from now on," Lee Younghee, head of global marketing for mobile communications, told Associated Press on Friday.
Lee, a senior vice president at Samsung, did not say what form the South Korean company's stronger stance would take or if there would be more lawsuits. But her remarks suggest a definite change in tone. She described its previous approach as "passive."
So far, Samsung has mostly spoken about the dispute through press releases and comments by anonymous company officials in South Korean and foreign media. The public nature of the comments appeared to back up recent South Korean media speculation the company was planning to go on the offensive.
The fight began when Apple sued Samsung in April in the United States, alleging the product design, user interface and packaging of Samsung's Galaxy devices "slavishly copy" the iPhone and iPad.
Samsung has responded with its own lawsuits accusing Apple of violating its intellectual property. The fight has spread to 10 countries, according to Samsung, including the US, South Korea, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia.
The battle is all the more complex as Apple and Samsung are not only competitors in the fast-growing global market for smartphones and tablet computers, but also have a close business relationship.
Samsung Electronics Co, the world's biggest manufacturer of memory chips and liquid crystal displays, supplies some of the key components that go into Apple Inc products.
"We've been quite respectful and also passive in a way" in consideration of those links, Lee said during the interview in her office at Samsung's headquarters building in southern Seoul. "However, we shouldn't be ... anymore."- With inputs from agencies