CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) — Apple’s latest line-up of iPhones will boast better cameras, faster processors, and a longer lasting battery at the same prices as last year’s model, despite the inflationary pressure that has driven up the cost of many other everyday items.
That decision, revealed Wednesday during Apple’s first in-person product event in three years, came as a mild surprise. Many analysts predicted Apple would ask its devout fans to pay as much as 15% more to help offset rising costs for many components.
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.
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, the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max 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 will include a motion senor 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% decline 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.
Consumers have still been snapping up iPhones this year, even though Apple already charges among the industry’s highest prices. Apple sold an estimated 106 million iPhones through the first half of this year, an 8% increase from the same time last year, according to Canalys, another research firm.
AP Business Write Matt Ott contributed to this story from New York.