SAN RAMON, Calif. – On Tuesday, Apple unveiled a new version of its budget iPhone capable of connecting to ultrafast 5G wireless networks, an upgrade that’s been available on the company’s high-end models for more than a year.
The latest iPhone SE marks the first upgrade to a bare version of Apple’s most popular product in nearly two years. In the latest sign of inflationary pressures affecting the economy, the new iPhone SE will sell for $429 – an 8% increase from the $399 price tag for the last version that rolled out almost two years ago. years ago in the early stages of the epidemic. The new iPhone SE will hit stores on March 18.
As a precaution against the pandemic, Apple still limited the media and other guests invited to the live events it usually organizes to introduce its latest products. Instead, Apple streamed the event live from co-founder Steve Jobs’ theater at its headquarters in Cupertino, California.
While the latest iPhone SE will have a faster processor, more durable display, and longer battery life than the last model, its biggest selling point will likely be its compatibility with 5G wireless networks. still growing and the price is relatively low.
That’s a steep discount from the popular iPhone 13 series released last fall. Consisting of four different models, the price of the iPhone 13 ranges from $700 to $1,100. All of them, like the iPhone 12 released in the fall of 2020, can connect to 5G phones.
While 5G networks are not yet widely available, the allure of faster connections turned out to be a major draw that helped drive many iPhone fans to upgrade from older models. According to research group International Data Corp.
During Tuesday’s presentation, Apple CEO Tim Cook boasted that the company has attracted more new iPhone users than ever since last fall, without providing specific numbers. “We’re excited that the new iPhone SE will build on this momentum,” Cook said.
Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives expects Apple to sell about 30 million new iPhone SE models next year, catering to the needs of less affluent consumers who own one of the estimated 225 million iPhones available. age at least 3 and a half years. .
While Apple doesn’t make as much money from selling the iPhone SE as more expensive models, it will still give the company more opportunities to sell subscriptions to music, video, games, and other streaming services. Other services have become huge money-makers, said Tuong Nguyen, a smartphone analyst at Gartner.
Nguyen said: “It is all about expanding the ecosystem. “It’s great that Apple can help you buy a new phone. But it’s even better when they can get you to sign up for everything they can because that turns into recurring revenue.”
Apple’s services division has become a booming business with $68 billion in revenue last fiscal year, up from $24 billion in 2016 – the first year after the company’s music streaming service. debut. The company’s success in the services sector has also become a regulatory minefield, sparking antitrust lawsuits and proposed legislation to loosen Apple’s monopoly control of the app store. use their iPhone, which collects lucrative commissions from digital transactions processed on the device.
The iPhone itself remains Apple’s biggest goldmine, with sales of $192 billion last fiscal year, despite a supply shortage that has cut production. In January, Apple said those problems were easing as the pandemic broke out and suppliers began to process backlogs.
Alongside the new iPhone SE, Apple also used Tuesday’s rollout to announce that it had reached an agreement with Major League Baseball to begin showing two Friday night games each week on its video subscription. after the sport settled a labor dispute that delayed the start time. Season. The deal marks a major tech company’s latest foray into a field of sports programming that has traditionally been dominated by established television networks.
Apple also has a new desktop version of its personal computer called the Mac Studio that will cost between $2,000 and $4,000 for the processor. A high-end display designed for Mac Studio will cost another $1,600. The company also launched the latest version of its lightweight tablet, the iPad Air, for $600. All of those computing devices will be powered by Apple’s internal chips.