BY MICHAEL LIEDTKE
CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) — Apple on Tuesday unveiled its next generation of iPhones — a line-up that will boast better cameras, faster processors, a new charging system and a price hike for the fanciest model.
The showcase at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, comes as the company tries to reverse a mild slump that has seen its sales drop from last year in three consecutive quarters. The malaise is a key reason Apple’s stock price has dipped by about 10% since mid-July, dropping the company’s market value below the $3 trillion threshold it reached for the first time earlier this summer.
Investors apparently weren’t impressed with what Apple rolled out Tuesday. The company’s shares fell nearly 2% Tuesday, a steeper decline than the major market indexes.
As has been case with Apple and other smartphone makers, the four types of iPhone 15 models aren’t making any major leaps in technology. But Apple added enough new bells and whistles to the top-of-the line model — the iPhone 15 Pro Max — to boost its starting price by $100, or 9%, from last year’s version to $1,200. As part of the higher base price, the cheapest iPhone 15 Pro Max will provide 256 megabytes of storage, up from 128 megabytes for the least expensive version of the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Apple is holding the line on prices for rest of the line-up, with the basic iPhone 15 selling for $800, the iPhone 15 Plus for $900 and the iPhone 15 Pro for $1,000.
And the price hike for the iPhone 15 Pro Max could help Apple boost sales if consumers continue to gravitate toward the company’s premium models. Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives expects the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max to account for about 75% of the device’s total sales in the upcoming year.
All the new models will be available in stores on September 22, with pre-orders beginning this Friday.
One of the biggest changes that Apple announced is a new way to charge the iPhone 15 models and future generations. The company is switching to the USB-C standard that is already widely used on many devices, including its Mac computers and many of its iPads.
Apple is being forced to phase out the Lightning port cables it rolled out in 2012 because of a mandate that European regulators plan to impose in 2024.
Although consumers often don’t like change, the transition to USB-C ports may not be that inconvenient. That’s because the standard is already widely used on a range of computers, smartphones and other devices people already own. The shift to USB-C may even be a popular move since that standard typically charges devices more quickly and also offers faster data transfer speeds.
The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max also will be equipped with what Apple maintains is the equivalent of seven camera lenses. They will include a periscope-style telephoto lens that will improve the quality of photos taken from far distances.
The telephoto lens boasts a 5x optical zoom, which lags the 10x optical zoom on Samsung’s premium Galaxy S22 Ultra, but represents an upgrade from the 3x optical zoom on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max.
In anticipation of next year’s release of Apple’s mixed reality headset, the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max will also have a spatial video option designed for viewing on that headset.
Apple is encasing the premium models in titanium which the company says is the same alloy used on some spaceships.