Apple introduced a new Pro tier to its flagship iPhone range and announced a price cut for its base model, meant to make the device more affordable for the masses.
The 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Pro and 6.5-inch 11 Pro Max feature Apple’s first triple rear camera system, upgraded OLED displays and the company’s new A13 processor, with 20 per cent faster CPU and GPU performance than the A12.
Apple claimed the A13’s CPU and GPU are the fastest ever offered in a smartphone.
The camera system consists of 12MP wide, ultra-wide and telephoto lenses, a brighter flash and 4K video capability. Updated software offers a new Night Mode tool to improve low-light picture quality, with an effect similar to that of the Night Sight feature offered on Google’s Pixel smartphones.
A new camera shortcut will allow iPhone users to record video without having to toggle the camera settings by pressing and holding the shutter button.
Apple also gave the 12MP front camera a boost, adding support for wide-angle shots and slow-motion video.
The company’s entry level iPhone 11 loses the telephoto lens in the rear camera system, but features the same A13 chip and front camera as its premium siblings and a 6.1-inch display.
All three models will be offered with the option of 64GB, 256GB or 512GB of storage. Like the higher-end handsets of 2018, pricing of the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max will start at $999 and $1099, respectively. However, Apple dropped its entry-level iPhone price by $50, to a starting cost of $699.
Kantar’s director of global consumer insight Dominic Sunnebo said the cost cut “shows an understanding of consumer pushback against the steep price rises over the last few years, but also an acceptance that without 5G capability there is very limited scope to push prices up further”.
Peter Jarich, head of GSMA Intelligence, agreed: “While Apple has never cultivated a bargain basement brand, it’s clearly worked to make its products accessible. Doing so brings more people into the ecosystem and drives more people to its services.”
Geoff Blaber, VP of research for the Americas at CCS Insight, told Mobile World Live the lack of 5G was not a surprise given Apple’s approach to 3G and 4G, where it waited “for networks to be established so it can deliver 5G at scale”.
“The new iPhones are an evolutionary step that fulfill the brief for an update to processor and camera technology”, he added
Consumers in more than 30 countries can begin ordering the devices from 13 September: in-store availability will follow on 20 September.
The company also debuted its seventh-generation iPad, featuring a larger 10.2-inch screen, A10 fusion chip and smart connector to attach compatible keyboards. It will run Apple’s new iPadOS, and support updated Apple Pencil gesture controls and tools.
Prices for a 32GB model start at $329 for Wi-Fi only and $459 with wireless. It will be available in more than 26 countries beginning 30 September.
Apple’s new Watch Series 5 features an always-on display, 18 hour battery life, built-in compass, more colour options and enhanced safety features. Emphasing a broader push around healthcare, Apple noted mobile-enabled versions will allow users to call emergency services in more than 150 countries, even without an iPhone nearby.
The Series 5 GPS model will cost $399 with the mobile equipped edition $499. Both will be available in stores in close to 40 countries on 20 September.
Apple also pitched itself into the television sector, setting 1 November as the launch date for its TV Plus service. Offering original content, the service will initially be available in more than 100 countries priced $4.99 per month for a family plan.
The company offered a free annual subscription to the service to customers who purchase a new iPhone, iPad, Mac or Apple TV set-top box.
More imminent is the Apple Arcade gaming service, due to launch on 19 September in 150 countries, also for $4.99 per month.