Apple unveils outdoor iPhone 14 with satellite SOS and Ultra Watch

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Sept 7 (Reuters) – Apple Inc (AAPL.O) unveiled new iPhone 14 models capable of using satellites to send emergency messages, as well as an adventure-focused Ultra Watch for diving and triathlons and so on.

Outdoor-focused products will test whether Apple’s relatively affluent customer base will continue to spend amid rising inflation.

The high-end iPhone 14s is priced the same as last year’s iPhone 13 models. But Apple dropped its cheapest iPhone mini, which means the cheapest model is now $100 more expensive than it was last year.

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The iPhone 14 starts at $799 and the iPhone Plus starts at $899, and pre-orders begin on September 9. The iPhone Pro costs $999 and the iPhone Pro Max costs $1,099 and will be available on September 16.read more

“It’s interesting that they decided to basically maintain pricing despite inflationary pressures,” said DA Davidson analyst Tom Forte. “The decision or strategy is that Apple believes it can maintain profit margins by discontinuing lower-priced devices in its lineup.”

Apple said its satellite SOS will work with emergency responders. It also said that in some cases, users will be able to share their location via satellite using its FindMy app without other connections.

The service will be free on the iPhone 14 for two years. Apple didn’t say what will happen after that.

Shares of Globalstar Inc (GSAT.A) rose 20 percent on Wednesday after the satellite services company announced it would be the satellite operator for Apple’s emergency SOS service.

Apple will pay 95% of the approved capital expenditures for the new satellites needed to support the service, but Globalstar said it still needs to raise additional debt to build and deploy the satellites.read more

The stock rose nearly 70% from mid-June to Tuesday’s close following speculation of a partnership with Apple.

Other companies are developing similar features. SpaceX founder Elon Musk said last month that it was working with T-Mobile (TMUS.O) to use its Starlink satellites to connect phones directly to the internet.

Apple’s iPhone 14 Plus models will have larger screens like Apple’s iPhone Pro models, but an A15 processor chip like the previous iPhone 13.

The Cupertino, California-based company also showed off three new Apple Watches, including a new Watch Ultra aimed at extreme sports and diving, designed to challenge sports watch experts like Garmin (GRMN.BN) and Polar. .

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

The Ultra has a larger battery for continuous use in events like triathlons, better water and temperature resistance for outdoor operation, and better GPS sports tracking.

The new watches include an upgraded budget model called the SE and an 8-series watch with collision detection and a low-power mode, and a 36-hour battery life.

The Series 8 with cellular starts at $499, and the SE with cellular starts at $299. The base model of the Ultra, which includes cellular, starts at $799 and will be available on September 23rd.

Apple says the new Series 8 Watch has a temperature sensor that can be used in conjunction with a previously released cycle-tracking app to detect ovulation retrospectively. The company emphasizes its privacy approach to cycle tracking. Privacy and reproductive health data have come into the spotlight for tech companies after the U.S. Supreme Court decided to end the U.S. Constitution’s right to abortion.

Apple says it doesn’t have the keys to decrypt health data, such as loop tracking.

Apple also touts that its second-generation AirPods Pro will have double the amount of noise cancellation compared to the original.

But while accessories like the Apple Watch drive sales to Apple’s existing user base, the iPhone remains the cornerstone of its business, accounting for 52.4% of sales in its most recent fiscal year.

After the presentation, Apple shares rose 0.8%, lagging the S&P 500’s 1.8% gain on the day.

Apple didn’t give any hints or preview its mixed reality headset on Wednesday. The device is expected to feature cameras that transmit a view of the outside world to the wearer, while overlaying digital objects over the physical world. Analysts don’t expect the device to go on sale until next year at the earliest.

Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) is developing a rival headset called Project Cambria, on which the company has spent billions of dollars.

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Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Henderson and Lisa Shumaker

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