Apple's big event Tuesday comes at a crucial time for the world's most successful and highly valued computer company. A new iPhone 6 is expected to be announced along with a larger phone to compete with the popular big-screen Samsung Galaxy. Both devices are likely to be offered with durable sapphire glass screens.
The product with the most far-reaching impact could be a new iWatch that comes embedded with a range of health and fitness monitors. The Mayo Clinic and Kaiser Permanente are among the health care institutions that plan to offer apps for the new device. Data collected by the watch would be fed back to the user's smartphone or stored on the cloud. The information could be accessed by doctors or hospitals, if needed.
Expectations for the announcement are high. Apple has sold nearly 500 million iPhones so far and its stock price has doubled in the past year. "I am looking forward to seeing the iHealth features, the NFC hardware and software to facilitate mobile payments and much more," tech industry analyst Jeff Kagan says. "I would like to see some new features and improvements to the basic iPhone design. Improvements like waterproof and shock-proof."
Apple still faces questions about the security of the iCloud, especially after the furor over the hacking of celebrity photos. CEO Tim Cook may have more to say about security upgrades as consumer concerns grow about privacy, the safety of personal financial information and the potential for identity theft.
Technology breakthroughs are playing a much bigger role in new cars. General Motors says in two years it will offer autos that talk to each other and can almost drive themselves at freeway speeds. CEO Mary Barra's announcement of "intelligent and connected" technology made a splash at an auto conference in Detroit. She says the system would allow you to drive long distances with the car doing much of the work.
The 2017 Cadillac will come with Super Cruise technology that controls steering, braking and acceleration at highway speeds and also works in congested traffic. The system will keep a car in its lane and will slow it down if the car ahead reduces speed and you aren't paying attention. "Barra also said GM in two years will become the first automaker to equip a model with so-called vehicle-to-vehicle technology that enables the car to communicate with other autos with similar abilities to warn of traffic hazards and improve road safety," Bloomberg News reports.
Electrolux is buying General Electric's appliances business for $3.3 billion, boosting its presence in North America. The Swedish company says the buyout needs regulatory approval and is expected to be completed next year. The purchase "takes our company to a new level in terms of global reach and market coverage," Electrolux CEO Keith McLoughlin says.
Netflix may be beefing up its short game. The streaming video service is testing out a new section of its mobile app called "Have Five Minutes?" It will feature two- to five-minute long clips of content aimed at the on-the-go audience that doesn't have time to watch a whole movie on their phone. Experts say initial tests have shown positive results and they could roll out the app to all users in the coming month.
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow