Apple's next big thing may be lower-priced iPhone

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Apple's much-anticipated update to its line-up of iPhones may leave the impression that the technology pioneer's focus is shifting to making more affordable products than engineering innovative breakthroughs.

In keeping with its tight-lipped ways, Apple Inc. hasn't disclosed what's on the agenda for the coming-out party scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. PDT at its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. But this is the time of year that Apple typically shows off the latest generation of its iPhone, a device that has reshaped the way people use computers since its debut in 2007.

The company has never waited longer than a year to update the iPhone, which has generated $88-billion in revenue during the past year. Apple's timetable has vexed many investors who have watched the company's growth slow and profit margins decrease.

Meanwhile, a bevy of smart phone makers, most of which rely on Google Inc.'s free Android software, release wave after wave of devices that cost less than the iPhone.

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