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Investors eager for word from Apple

Ads for the iPhone 5 at the Apple store in central Tokyo last week.

AFP/Getty Images

Ads for the iPhone 5 at the Apple store in central Tokyo last week.

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple is expected to unveil its latest take on the iPhone Tuesday during an annual ritual that will probably cast a spotlight on the gadget maker’s drive to regain market share and its sluggish pace of innovation.

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.

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But this is the time of year that Apple typically shows off the latest generation of its iPhone.

Apple’s timetable for rolling out products has vexed many investors who have watched the company’s growth slow and profit margins decrease. Meanwhile, a bevy of smartphone makers, most of whom rely on Google Inc.’s free Android software, release wave after wave of devices cheapers than the iPhone.

Even though Apple’s market value of roughly $460 billion is more than any other company in the world, the deterioration in its stock price is escalating the pressure on CEO Tim Cook to prove he’s the right leader to carry on the legacy of cofounder Steve Jobs.

This year’s refresh of the iPhone line may address the growing popularity of cheaper Android phones. Based on leaks from suppliers, it appears Apple is poised to release a less elaborate and cheaper version of the iPhone in an attempt to appeal to consumers too frugal or too poor to pay for the high-end model that sells for more than $600 without a wireless contract.

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