While the iPhone drives Apple's revenues, the company will announce details about other devices such as the Apple Watch 3 that investors hope will ultimately make a meaningful contribution to its top line.
The third iteration of the Apple Watch will reportedly include a connection to LTE wireless networks, eliminating the device's reliance on a nearby iPhone with a Bluetooth connection or a compatible Wi-Fi network.
"Is there LTE, yes or no?" said IDC analyst Ramon Llamas, who expects Apple to ship 14.5 million watches this year, up from 11.3 million last year. "And what are the suite of apps that are going to go along with the LTE connection?"
Fitness and healthcare are shaping up to be potential killer apps for smart phones, but Llamas said he would like to see applications for business as well. Improved battery life would also help. "You're asking a lot considering that it has a cellular antenna now," Llamas said.
Apple has begun to reach deals with insurers such as Aetna Inc. (AET) that could open the healthcare market to smart watches.
Apple could develop a new business model for smart watches, JPMorgan Securities LLC analyst Gokul Hariharan suggested in a report, with insurers playing a role akin to the wireless carriers that helped make the iPhone a success.
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"[W]e believe there could be more potential for growth if Apple launches partnerships with insurance companies and health management vendors to subsidize the Apple Watch - much as telecom carriers subsidize handsets," Hariharan wrote.
Partnerships with large insurers would certainly help as the market for smart watches becomes more crowded. Fitbit is launching its first smart watch that can run third-party apps, and Samsung (SSNLF) is preparing the new Gear S4. Movado Group Inc. (MOV) released three watches that use Alphabet Inc.'s (GOOGL) Android operating system in August, and Fossil Group Inc. (FOSL) and Michael Kors Holdings LTD (KORS) have Android models on the way.
Apple can set itself apart by appealing to industries beyond healthcare, JPMorgan analyst Rod Hall suggested in a note. "The Watch certainly increases the stickiness of the platform and adds value to many users including baseball players," Hall wrote, alluding to the recent dust up in Major League Baseball when the Boston Red Sox allegedly used an Apple Watch to steal signals from the New York Yankees.
Don't be surprised if Apple leaves that app to a third-party developer.