Apple has launched the iPhone 13 and a new iPad mini, expanding 5G connectivity and showing off faster chips and sharper cameras without raising the phone’s price.
The Cupertino, California-based company did not announce any blockbuster features or products, but analysts expect customers hanging onto older models like the iPhone X will be eager to upgrade. To encourage trade-ins, participating wireless carriers are offering incentives ahead of the year-end holiday season that to make the new phones free to some customers.
“Apple’s new iPhone 13 will be a boost for 5G adoption. Unlike Android, iOS users lack a strong selection of 5G devices. The iPhone 13 family is a welcome addition for consumers looking to upgrade. Rival Samsung has a robust selection of 5G phones across price tiers and is top of mind at operators that are aggressively pushing 5G services – especially in the US,” Anisha Bhatia, Senior Technology Analyst at GlobalData, said.
At $799, the price for the base iPhone 13 model is the same as the older iPhone 12 but adds double the storage memory.
Apple’s iPhones are its biggest revenue generators, accounting for 40 percent to 50 percent of the its returns, and Apple has a substantial installed base waiting to upgrade. With massive promotions offering the phones for $0 to $100, the iPhone 13 will continue the 5G supercycle that started with the iPhone 12.
The iPhone 13 will have a chip called the A15 Bionic that enables features like automatically translating text. The phone also has a better display, longer battery life and a Cinematic mode for automatically changing focus while taking videos. Apple said the iPhone 13 will have custom 5G antennas and radio components for faster speeds and will come in five colors.
The phone will start at $699, and participating wireless carriers will offer up to $700 off for qualifying trade-ins. The iPhone 13 Pro starts at $999 and the Pro Max starts at $1,099, with trade-in offers of up to $1,000. All three models will be available Sept. 24.
The prices are unchanged from last year, but some carriers such as AT&T will offer the devices for no additional if customers trade in a previous model and sign up for an installment plan.
The iPhone is Apple’s most important product, but Apple has rolled out a web of service and other products that are seen as locking customers into a system they enjoy — and would find expensive to leave.
The Series 7 smart watch will feature a larger display and faster charging. It will start at $399 and be available later this autumn.
The company also updated its iPad Mini with 5G connectivity and a reworked design that makes it look like the higher-end iPad Air and Pro models. Bob O’Donnell, head of TECHnalysis Research, said the small tablet was Apple’s most surprising announcement of the day and could lure in customers who want a device with 5G that can handle more powerful apps than a phone.
“I don’t think it replaces any other device, like we’ve seen Apple try to position some of the bigger iPads as PC replacements,” O’Donnell said.
Apple also updated its base-model iPad with a new camera for working and learning from home. The base model iPad starts at $329, and the Mini starts at $499. Both will be available next week.
“It seems like there’s nothing really revolutionary announced, but of course, as usual, they announced enough improvements to at least generate some enthusiasm among consumers,” said Rick Meckler, partner at family investment office Cherry Lane Investments.
Kim Forrest, founder and chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital, said she was not concerned by the lack of splashy, unexpected products, since Apple’s upgrades would keep customers. “I think the consumer, once it gets the Apple chip in its head, it’s very hard to dislodge,” she said.
The Apple Watch has become a cornerstone of its $30.6 billion accessories segment, which was up 25 percent in Apple’s most recent fiscal year even as its iPhone revenue declined slightly. Analysts widely believe that Apple users who buy more than one product – such as an Apple Watch and iPhone – are more likely to stick with the brand and spend on the company’s apps and services.
Apple last year introduced its iPhone 12, which featured a new look and its first devices with 5G connectivity. This year, analyst expect modest hardware upgrades and a deeper focus on 5G.
In particular, carriers such as AT&T, Verizon Communications and T-Mobile that have significantly built out their networks since the start of this year are likely to offer new incentives around the devices that can take advantage of the faster speeds those networks can offer, said Ben Bajarin, head of consumer technologies at Creative Strategies.
Apple Watch, which has become a cornerstone of its $30.6 billion accessories segment, which was up 25 percent in Apple’s most recent fiscal year even as its iPhone revenue declined slightly.