© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: CEO Tim Cook unveils the iPhone 11 at an Apple event at its headquarters in Cupertino, California, U.S., September 10, 2019. REUTERS/Steven Lam/File Photo
(Reuters) – Apple Inc on Wednesday avoided raising the prices of its best-selling iPhones at its biggest product launch this year, focusing on security enhancements rather than flashy new specs, with the exception of a new adventure-focused watch.
The iPhone maker has relied on safety technologies, such as the ability to detect a car crash and call rescuers from a distant mountaintop, to add appeal to its devices. Apple (NASDAQ: ) has positioned itself as a brand that allows users to seek excitement and adventure — with a safety net.
Those intangibles “are what make you want products not just for yourself, but for your loved ones,” said Ben Bajarin, head of consumer technology at Creative Strategies. “Ultimately, the increased focus on security – security as a service – is very interesting as a value proposition.”
The iPhone line, which accounts for half of Apple’s sales, received changes to cameras and battery life, though only the iPhone Pro line was updated with an all-new processor.
Prices for the high-end iPhone 14s are the same as last year’s iPhone 13 models. But Apple has dropped its cheapest option, the iPhone Mini, which means its lowest price now costs $100 more than last year.
The iPhone 14 will start at $799 and the iPhone 14 Plus will start at $899 and will be available for pre-order starting September 9. The iPhone Pro will cost $999 and the iPhone Pro Max will cost $1,099 and will be available on September 16.
“They decided to basically keep prices flat despite inflationary pressures,” DA Davidson analyst Tom Forte said.
Nintendo and T-Mobile also said they would not raise prices.
Apple said its satellite SOS feature will work with emergency services. It also says that users will be able to use the FindMy app to share their location via satellite when they have no other connection.
The service will be free for two years with the iPhone 14. Apple has not said what will happen after that period.
Shares of Globalstar (NYSE: ) Inc jumped 20% on Wednesday after the satellite services firm announced it will become the satellite operator for Apple’s SOS emergency service.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company also revealed a trio of new Apple Watches, including a new Watch Ultra model aimed at extreme sports and diving and designed to challenge sports watch specialists such as Garmin (NYSE: ) and Polar.
“Apple is fighting for a consumer segment that already has a strong loyalty to existing products and suppliers, and it will have to prove itself over time,” said Canalys analyst Runar Bjorhøwde.
As for the watch, the $799 Ultra has a bigger battery that lasts through events like triathlons, better waterproofing and temperature resistance for outdoor use, and better GPS tracking for sports.
All watches – including the Series 8, which is priced the same as last year, and the updated, cheaper SE model – and the new iPhones will be able to detect when the user has been in a serious car accident and call emergency services.
The new Series 8 watch has a temperature sensor that retroactively detects ovulation. The company emphasized the confidentiality of its cycle tracking. In the wake of the US Supreme Court ruling that ended the constitutional right to abortion in the United States, data privacy and reproductive health have become a focus for technology companies.
But while accessories like the Apple Watch have boosted sales to Apple’s existing user base, the iPhone remains the backbone of its business, accounting for 52.4% of sales in the last fiscal year, and investors continue to wonder what, if anything, will come next. a major product category company.
Analysts expect the category to be a mixed-reality headset that could hit the market as early as next year, but Apple didn’t hint at those potential products on Wednesday.
Apple shares rose 0.9%, lagging behind a 1.8% gain for the session.