Apple unveils iPhone 14 with SOS satellite and Ultra Watch for outdoors

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Sept 7 (Reuters) – Apple Inc (AAPL.O) Introduced the new iPhone 14 models capable of using satellites to send emergency messages and the adventure-focused Ultra Watch for sports such as diving and triathlon.

Outdoor-focused products will test whether Apple’s relatively wealthy customer base will keep spending in the face of rising inflation.

Prices for the high-end iPhone 14s are the same as last year’s iPhone 13 models. But Apple has dropped its cheapest option, the iPhone mini, which means the cheapest model now costs $100 more than last year.

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The iPhone 14 will start at $799 and the iPhone Plus will start at $899 and will be available for pre-order starting September 9.

“It’s interesting that they decided to basically maintain prices despite inflationary pressures,” said Tom Forte, analyst at DA Davidson. “The decision or strategy is that Apple believes it can maintain profit margins by discontinuing the lowest priced device in the group.”

Apple said its SOS satellite will work with emergency responders. It also said that in some situations, users will be able to use its FindMy app to share their location via satellite when they have no other connection.

Stocks in Globalstar Inc (GSAT.A) It jumped 20% Wednesday after the satellite services company announced it would be Apple’s emergency SOS satellite operator.

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

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

Other companies work on similar jobs. SpaceX founder Elon Musk said last month that he’s working with T-Mobile (TMUS.O) To use its Starlink satellites to connect phones directly to the Internet.

Apple’s iPhone 14 Plus model will have a larger screen like Apple’s iPhone Pro models but with an A15 processor chip like the previous iPhone 13.

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

“Apple is competing for a segment of consumers that already has high loyalty towards its existing products and vendors, and will need to establish itself over time,” said Runar Bjorhovde, Analyst at Canalys.

The Ultra has a larger battery to last through events like triathlons and better water and temperature resistance for working in outdoor environments, as well as better GPS tracking for sports.

The new watches include an upgraded budget model called the SE and Series 8 Watch with fault detection and a low power mode for 36 hours of battery life.

The Series 8 with cell phone will start at $499 and the SE will start at $299 for cell. The Ultra, which includes the cell phone in its base model, will start at $799 and be available September 23rd.

Apple said the new Series 8 watch has a temperature sensor that will work in tandem with a previously released cycle tracking app to retroactively detect ovulation. The company emphasized a privacy policy for cycle tracking. Privacy and reproductive health data have become the focus of tech companies in the wake of the US Supreme Court ruling that ended a constitutional right to abortion in the United States.

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Apple said it does not have the key to decrypting health data such as cycle tracking.

Apple also indicated that the second generation AirPods Pro will double the amount of noise cancellation over the original version.

But while accessories like the Apple Watch have boosted sales from Apple’s existing user base, the iPhone remains a cornerstone of its business with 52.4% of sales in its most recent fiscal year.

Apple stock rose 0.8% after the show, lagging the S&P 500’s 1.8% gain during the session.

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

Meta Platforms Inc is working on a competing headset called Project Cambria (META.O)who spends billions of dollars on the project.

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

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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