Apple offers an Adventure Watch, an iPhone SOS satellite – and stable prices

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Sep 7 (Reuters) – Apple Inc (AAPL.O) on Wednesday avoided price hikes on its best-selling iPhones in its biggest product launch of the year, focusing on security upgrades instead only on flashy new tech specs except for a new adventure-focused watch.

The iPhone maker has leaned into safety technologies like the ability to detect a car accident and call for rescue from a remote mountaintop to add some allure to its devices. Apple has positioned itself as the brand that allows users to pursue excitement and adventure – with a safety net.

These intangible features “are the things that make you want the products not just for yourself, but also 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 super compelling as a value proposition.”

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The iPhone lineup that generates half of Apple’s sales has been tweaked in cameras and battery life, though only the iPhone Pro lineup has been upgraded to an all-new processor chip.

Prices for the high-end iPhone 14s are the same as last year’s iPhone 13 models. But Apple has discontinued its cheapest option, the iPhone Mini, meaning its cheapest model is now $100 more than it was last year.

The iPhone 14 will start at $799 and the iPhone 14 Plus at $899 and will be available for pre-order starting September 9. The iPhone Pro will cost $999 and the iPhone Pro Max $1,099 and will be available on September 16.

“They decided to basically hold prices despite inflationary pressure,” said DA Davidson analyst Tom Forte.

Nintendo (7974.T) and T-Mobile (TMUS.O) also said they would delay price increases.

Apple said its satellite SOS feature will work with emergency responders. It also said users will be able to use its FindMy app to share their satellite location when they have no other connectivity.

The service will be free for two years with the iPhone 14. Apple did not say what would happen after that period.

Shares of Globalstar Inc (GSAT.A) jumped 20% on Wednesday after the satellite services company announced it would be the satellite operator for Apple’s Emergency SOS service. Read more

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company also showed off 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 (GRMN.BN ) and Polar.

“Apple is competing for a consumer segment that is already very loyal to its existing products and suppliers, and it will have to prove itself over time,” said Canalys analyst Runar Bjorhovde.

On the watch front, the $799 Ultra has a bigger battery to last through events like triathlons and better water resistance and temperature resistance to perform in outdoor environments, as well as better GPS tracking. for Sport.

All Watches – which include a Series 8 at the same price as last year and an updated, cheaper SE model – and new iPhones will have the ability to detect when a user has been in a serious car accident and call the emergency services.

The new Series 8 watch has a temperature sensor that will retroactively detect ovulation. The company has emphasized the privacy approach of its cycle tracking. Privacy and reproductive health data has become a priority for tech companies following a US Supreme Court ruling that ended the constitutional right to abortion in the United States.

But while accessories like the Apple Watch have driven additional sales from Apple’s existing user base, the iPhone remains the foundation of its business with 52.4% of sales in its last fiscal year, and investors continue to wonder what, if anything, will be the company’s next big product category.

Analysts expect this category to be a mixed reality headset that could hit the market as soon as next year, but Apple gave no indication of these potential products on Wednesday.

Apple stock closed 0.9% higher, lagging the S&P 500’s 1.8% gain for the session.

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Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Nivedita Balu, Vansh Agarwal, Shivansh Tiwary, Karina Dsouza, Richard Rohan Francis, Kanika Sikka and Aditya Soni in Bengaluru and Noel Randewich in Oakland, California; Editing by Peter Henderson and Lisa Shumaker

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