The latest line-up of iPhones will boast better cameras, faster processors, and a longer-lasting battery — all at the same prices as last year's models, despite inflationary pressure that has driven up the cost of many other everyday items.
The hoopla surrounding Apple's new iPhone 14 models is part of a post-Labor Day ritual the company has staged annually for more than a decade. Wednesday's event was held on the company's Cupertino, California, campus at a theater named after company co-founder Steve Jobs. After Apple CEO Tim Cook strolled out on stage, most of the event consisted of pre-recorded video presentations that the company honed during previous events staged during the pandemic.
For several years, Apple's new iPhones have mostly featured incremental upgrades to cameras and battery life, and this year's models were no exception. Pricing for the standard iPhone 14 will start at $799; the deluxe iPhone 14 Pro Max will start at $1099.
Among the latest improvements is a 48-megapixel camera in the Pro and Pro Max models that the company said will produce especially crisp pictures. The iPhone 13 versions of the Pro and Pro Max have 12-megapixel cameras. This year's high-end models will also have always-on displays that stay lit even when the device is locked, a feature that has long been available on many smartphones powered by Google's Android software.
Beginning in November, all the iPhone 14 models will be able to send SOS messages via a new satellite feature — a safety measure intended to let users request help when in remote areas without a wireless connection. All the iPhone 14 models also will include a motion sensor capable of detecting serious car crashes and automatically connecting to emergency services.
With inflation still hovering at its highest level in 40 years, consumers have curbed their spending on many discretionary items. That's likely contributing to a recent decline in smartphone sales, although the iPhone has fared far better than competing Android devices.
The dimming sales outlook prompted the research firm International Data Corp. To predict a worldwide decline in 2022 smartphone shipments of 6.5%, almost double the 3.5?cline it had estimated a few months ago. Despite that anticipated drop in sales, the average price for new smartphones is expected to finish this year about 6% higher than last year, IDC estimated.
By keeping iPhones prices the same, Apple faces the potential risk of undermining its profits if inflation drives up its own costs. It's a hit that the company could easily afford, given it has reaped $44 billion in profits through the first half of this year.