San Francisco: Apple unveiled the iPhone 13 and a new iPad mini on Tuesday, 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.
The iPhone 13 will have a new 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 colours.
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 from September 24.
The prices are unchanged from last year, but some carriers such as AT&T Inc will offer the devices for no additional if customers trade in a previous model and sign up for an instalment plan.
Ben Bajarin, head of consumer technologies at Creative Strategies, said he expects those aggressive subsides and trade-in policies will increase as a way for Apple and carriers to hold on to customers.
“You don’t have to put a down payment down and you keep paying what you were paying,” Bajarin said. “That offer is unique to Apple, and it’s a strength they have to keep these sales cycles going for them and for the carriers.”
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.