After a dramatic week for what is now the world’s biggest brand, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will realize that it must make some big, and correct, decisions in the next few months regarding its strategy for 2014. The sales figures that the company released in the last couple of days were not a hammer blow for the company, but they were nevertheless not exactly a piece of welcome news either.

iPhone 6

Thus, the upper echelons at Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) that are in charge of moving the company forward will recognize that more than ever the company cannot rest on its laurels during the next twelve months. While moving into new markets will be an important factor for the success of the calendar year for Apple, of equal if not more importance will be how its big hitters fare.

Pressure on Apple

With that in mind, the performance of the iPhone 6 will be a particularly important barometer of how Apple’s 2014 has gone. Although the iPad has been a success story for Apple, the iPhone probably remains their flagship device in the contemporary electronics landscape. With Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) announcing very ambitious plans for the Galaxy range, Apple is going to be under great pressure to produce something really outstanding this year.

A couple of pieces of recent news have intensified this pressure further. Firstly, some of the leaked specs for the forthcoming Galaxy S5 look extremely impressive. And, secondly, the recent decision of Lenovo to purchase the Motorola division of Google’s business could indicate a new major player in the smartphone market has just been ordained.

Thus, the J. P. Morgan market analyst Mark Moskowitz has already predicted that Apple will act decisively to respond to the growing threats to its market share. According to Moskowitz’s prognosis, Apple will move the release date of the iPhone 6 forward, and also lower the price of the unit in comparison to previous models.

While the fact that the new Galaxy looks to have excellent potential, it is more the Lenovo deal which will concern Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). The Galaxy S5 handset is not exactly a game changer; Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) is already Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s most obvious rival. What will be of concern is the fact that the Anrdoid operating system and the devices that use it is now set to be significantly consolidated. This is a serious rival to Apple and its iOS operating system, and if Apple wants to cement its position then it needs the iPhone 6 to be a massive success with consumers.

This can only be good news for the man or woman in the street who is looking to pick up a top of the range smartphone this year. One could see the most powerful iPhone yet at an incredibly cheap price by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s usual standards, and the Galaxy S5 already looks incredibly impressive. With Lenovo Group Limited (OTCMKTS:LNVGY) also a potential factor as well, the consumer could certainly be king in this market for the foreseeable future.

The deal for Motorola may have an impact on Apple’s ability to crack the Chinese market in the way that it hopes in the coming years. Lenovo Group Limited (OTCMKTS:LNVGY) already has a pretty sturdy grip on the Chinese market, and the deal it has struck with Google will only strengthen its position in the world’s most populace nation. So the pressure on Apple to innovate, rather than stick to its existing business model, and produce the best quality iPhone that it possibly can may be greater than ever, certainly if it wants to establish a bigger market share in East Asia.

Previously there had been a resistance within Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to the concept of a low-cost iPhone, due to the fact that it was seen as essential that the product retains its branding as a premium product, but this perception may need to change to some degree with iPhone 6.

iPhone 6 solar paneling and new spec rumors

Already some rumors are surfacing regarding interesting spec that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could include in this forthcoming device. An analyst at Seeking Alpha has suggested that Apple will include solar paneling in the new iPhone which will give the device the ability to recharge the iPhone’s batteries via sunlight, or even simply a strong light source. Unquestionably, this would be a very welcome innovation, and it could be premiered in a version of the iPod touch this year, before being perfected in the iPhone 6.

It is looking an increasing certainty as well that the iPhone 6 will feature the biggest screen ever seen in an iPhone. Initial rumors indicated that a 5-inch screen was likely for the Apple handset, but now the consensus is that Apple could go even bigger than that. This will set challenges for the company to deliver the devices legendary sleekness, yet leaks suggest the iPhone 6 could be the slimmest ever smartphone, possibly as thin as 3mm.

iPhone 6 Camera
Concept

Additionally, a new patent application made by Apple suggests that the iPhone 6 may feature interchangeable camera lenses. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has recently approved an application made by Apple, namely U.S. Patents No. 8,638,369 and 8,639,106  which call respectively for a “back panel for a portable electronic device with different camera lens options” and “magnetic add-on lenses with alignment ridge”.

Clearly Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has already signaled its intention to innovate and impress with the iPhone 6 which may be increasingly important in the ever evolving smartphone environment.