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Apple unveiled four new iPhone models and two updated watches in Cupertino on Tuesday as it tries to entice consumers to hold on to their devices longer if they can afford to do so.
The new iPhone 15 Pro Max starts at $1,199, up $100 from a year ago, reflecting Apple’s strategy of making up for stagnant sales by raising average selling prices.
The Pro and Pro Max models are the first smartphones to use TSMC-made 3nm chips, a “groundbreaking” new GPU that Apple claims enables faster graphics processing. They have three cameras that shoot “spatial video” – a proprietary format designed to be viewed through the Vision Pro headset, which will be available next year.
Following EU regulatory requirements, all four models now use a universal USB-C charging port.
The company’s iPhone lineup currently ranges from the entry-level iPhone SE, which starts at $429, to the Pro Max model, which starts at $1,199. Although the annual replacement rate has increased compared with a decade ago, Apple’s focus on high-end models has pushed the average selling price from $627 in 2015 to $890 this year, according to Counterpoint Research.
“With the support of numerous trade-in and recycling programs, everyone can have an iPhone to suit different habits,” said PP Foresight analyst Paolo Pescatore. “Significant enhancements in camera optical zoom will help Apple compete with the likes of Samsung Rivals compete head-on to attract users to switch to the iPhone.”
The standard iPhone 15 and the larger iPhone 15 Plus have improved cameras, with a 48-megapixel main camera. Both start at the same prices as a year ago, at $799 and $899 respectively.
The new Apple Watch Series 9 features a new gesture recognition feature called “double tap,” which allows users to answer calls and pause music with just a tap of their index finger and thumb. The watch, which starts at $399, is Apple’s “first carbon-neutral product,” the company said. The Ultra 2 is a second-generation watch designed specifically for athletes, starting at $799.
Throughout the event, Apple touted its environmental credentials, saying it would no longer use leather in any of its accessories. The company has launched “FineWoven,” a custom material for watch bands and iPhone cases that it says has a “significantly lower” carbon footprint.
The event comes at a challenging time for Apple. It’s the world’s most valuable company, but its revenue has declined over the past three quarters. The global market share of its most important product, the iPhone, is slowly growing, but smartphones overall are in the doldrums.
The upcoming quarter will be the most important of the year, including the critical holiday shopping season. Meanwhile, the company’s biggest rival in China, Huawei, just released a new flagship phone that threatens to chip away at Apple’s market share. The company is also responding to reports that Beijing has told state employees not to use Apple phones.
Apple shares fell more than 5% in the five days leading up to the event as investors worried that problems in China could hurt demand and production. The stock fell 2% after Tuesday’s event, reflecting the incremental nature of the upgrade and lack of surprises.
Globally, Apple has been slowly but continuously gaining market share from Android and is expected to account for 20% of all smartphone shipments this year, a record high compared with a decade ago, according to Counterpoint Research. is 15%.
Jay Goldberg, a chip consultant and founder of D2D Advisors, said Apple’s “story of the year” is how to build market share in India and emerging markets, where iPhone penetration is in the single digits but has the potential to climb.