Apple CEO Tim Cook poses at a special event at Apple Park in Cupertino, California, USA, in a photo released September 7, 2022. Brooks Kraft/Apple Inc./Handout via REUTERS
CALIFORNIA: Apple Inc. has announced a range of new iPhone 14 models that can send calls for help via satellite in an emergency, collision detection features, and an adventure-focused Ultra Watch.
The iPhone 14 model will test Apple’s ability to extract dollars from its relatively wealthy customer base, which has continued to spend in the face of rising inflation but has been unaffected by a weakening economy.
The iPhone 14 starts at $799 and the iPhone Plus starts at $899, both available for pre-order starting September 9th.
Apple says it has put together a system to coordinate with emergency responders during remote emergencies. It also says that in some situations, users can share their location via satellite using her FindMy app, even if there is no other connection.
Globalstar said in its filing that it will become a satellite operator for Apple’s Emergency SOS service. Globalstar shares halted trading ahead of announcing a deal with Apple after falling about 16% on Wednesday. The stock is up about 50% to date.
Other companies are working on similar features. SpaceX founder Elon Musk said last month that in collaboration with T-Mobile he would use Starlink satellites to connect phones directly to the internet.
Apple’s iPhone 14 Plus model, like Apple’s iPhone Pro model, has a larger screen, but like its predecessor the iPhone 13, it’s powered by the A15 processor chip.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company also showcased a trio of new Apple Watches, including a new Watch Ultra model aimed at extreme sports and diving.
The Ultra has a high-capacity battery that lasts for events like triathlons, great waterproof and temperature resistance to work in outdoor environments, and great GPS tracking for sports.
New watches include an upgraded budget model called SE and a Series 8 watch with a low power mode with crash detection and 36 hours of battery life.
The Series 8 starts at $499 with cellular and the SE starts at $299 with cellular. The Ultra, which includes cellular in its base model, starts at $799 and goes on sale September 23rd.
According to Apple, the new Series 8 watches feature a temperature sensor that works with the previously released cycle tracking app to retroactively detect ovulation. The company emphasized Cycle Tracking’s privacy approach. Privacy and reproductive health data are a focus of tech companies following the US Supreme Court’s decision to end the constitutional right to abortion in the US.
Apple says it doesn’t have the keys to decrypt health data such as cycle tracking.
But while accessories like the Apple Watch are driving sales from Apple’s existing user base, the iPhone remains the cornerstone of the company’s business, accounting for 52.4% of sales in the most recent fiscal year.
Apple’s stock rose 0.6% more than an hour before its presentation to coincide with the start of the event, lagging the S&P 500’s 1.5% gain in the session.
Some analysts believe Apple could announce a preview of its mixed reality headset on Wednesday. The device is expected to feature a camera that passes a view of the outside world to the wearer while overlaying digital objects on top of the physical world. Analysts don’t believe the device will go on sale until next year at the earliest.
Early previews are rare for Apple, which keeps its product plans secret until just before the device hits the market. A rival headset called Project Cambria is in development from Meta Platforms Inc, which has spent billions on the project.
But in order to have compelling apps for the new headsets, Apple may need to give developers time to get used to them. “Developing a new and radically different type of platform will take much longer,” O’Donnell said.