The sixth-generation iPhone may be just a couple of weeks away (Apple, of course, isn't saying), but rival device-makers are set to make sure that the world's top-selling smartphone won't have the spotlight all to itself.
Samsung has already announced that the second version of its Galaxy Note drops just before the IFA Berlin consumer electronics show at the end of the month, rumored to have a slightly larger screen than its already huge 5.2-inch version. The Note is considered a "phablet," half smartphone and half tablet , with an S-Pen stylus for inputting data .
New devices are also expected from Nokia, Motorola, LG and HTC in the coming weeks.
Samsung's South Korean rival, LG, is set to roll out an international version of its Optimus Vu, a device similar to the Galaxy Note, with a 5-inch screen and stylus. Both devices run Google's Android operating system.
According to Taiwan-based publication DigiTimes, which covers the electronics components industry, Nokia has a slate of Windows 8 devices up its sleeve, ready to launch Sept. 5 at Nokia World 2012 in Helsinki.
"I think this season will be especially busy," said Weston Henderek, senior wireless analyst at Current Analysis.
"The iPhone 5 -- or whatever the name will be -- is not just a standard Apple launch," Henderek told us. "It is the first time in a while that the device will get more of a full makeover. The last update -- the iPhone 4S -- was more minor in comparison. As a result, Apple competitors will feel more pressure to come out with newer models."
Henderek said there is no indication that consumers are getting weary of the iPhone, never mind the drop in sales from more than 35 million units in the second financial quarter to 26 million in the third.
"It will be hard to cut into iPhone sales in Q4 as it is possible that many existing iPhone owners and potential future new customers have been have been holding off on purchases in anticipation of the iPhone 5."
From 2007 to 2010 Apple released a new version of the iPhone every summer, but that pattern changed when the hardware giant released a CDMA version for Verizon Wireless in February 2011, followed by the updated 4S in October of that year.
Sky's the Limit for Apple
The coming version is expected to have a larger screen, LTE high-speed data compatibility and near-field communication technology for sharing and mobile payments, and perhaps other surprises kept under wraps until now. Apple has announced a product unveiling event for Sept. 12, with the launch of whatever-it-is a week later.
Anticipation of the new device's profitability sent Apple's stock price to a record high on Monday, reaching $665.74 at midday. It dipped in the afternoon but closed at $665.15. The surge put Apple in sight of breaking the record for capital valuation set by Microsoft in December 1999.