Apple Inc. unveiled new iPhone 14 models capable of sending emergency messages via satellite, as well as an adventure-focused Ultra Watch for sports such as diving and triathlons.
The outdoor-focused products will put to the test whether Apple’s relatively affluent customer base will continue to spend despite rising inflation.
The high-end iPhone 14s are priced the same as last year’s iPhone 13 models. However, Apple discontinued its cheapest model, the iPhone mini, so the cheapest model now costs $100 more than last year.
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The iPhone 14 will start at $799, and the iPhone Plus will start at $899, and both will be available for preorder on September 9. The iPhone Pro will cost $999, and the iPhone Pro Max will cost $1,099 when it is released on September 16.
“It’s interesting that they decided to basically keep pricing the same in spite of inflationary pressure,” said D.A. Davidson analyst Tom Forte. “The decision or strategy is that Apple thinks that by discontinuing a lower-priced device in the lineup, it can sustain profits.”
Apple stated that its satellite SOS will collaborate with emergency responders. It also stated that in some cases, users will be able to use its FindMy app to share their location via satellite when no other connectivity is available.
The iPhone 14 provides the service for free for two years. Apple did not specify what would happen after that time frame.
Globalstar Inc. shares rose 20% on Wednesday after the satellite services company announced it will be the satellite operator for Apple’s emergency SOS service.
Similar functions are being developed by other companies. Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, announced last month that the company is collaborating with T-Mobile to use its Starlink satellites to connect phones directly to the internet.
Apple’s iPhone 14 Plus model will have a larger screen than previous iPhone Pro models but will use the same A15 processor chip as the iPhone 13.
The Cupertino, California-based company also unveiled three new Apple Watch models, including a new Watch Ultra model aimed at extreme sports and diving and designed to compete with sports watch specialists like Garmin and Polar.
“Apple is competing for a consumer market that is already loyal to their existing products and buyers, and it will need to prove itself over time,” said Canalys analyst Runar Bjorhovde.
The Ultra has a larger battery to last longer during events like triathlons, as well as improved waterproofing and temperature resistance for use in outdoor environments, as well as improved GPS tracking for sports.
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The new watches include an upgraded budget model known as the SE, as well as a Series 8 watch with crash detection and a low-power mode that provides 36 hours of battery life.
The Series 8 with cellular has a price of $499, while the SE will cost $299 with cellular. The Ultra, which includes cellular in its base model, will be available on September 23 for $799.
Apple stated that the new Series 8 watch includes a temperature sensor that will work together with its previously released cycle tracking app to detect ovulation retroactively. The company emphasized the privacy-focused nature of its cycle tracking.
Apple also claimed that the second-generation AirPods Pro would have multiple times the noise cancellation of the original model.
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However, while accessories such as the Apple Watch have driven incremental sales from Apple’s existing user base, the iPhone remains the company’s mainstay, accounting for 52.4 percent of sales in its most recent fiscal year.
Apple’s stock rose 0.8 percent following the presentation, trailing the S&P 500’s 1.8 percent gain for the session.
Apple did not give any hints of its mixed-reality headset on Wednesday. The device is likely to have cameras that provide the wearer with a view of the outside world while superimposing digital objects on the physical world. Analysts believe the device will not be available until next year.