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Bigger, better, but no big deal

Checking out Apple’s newest versions of its old devices

Jack Nicas, Brian X. Chen And Kellen Browning   |   Published 04.10.21, 12:11 AM

Recently, Apple held its annual fall event in which it unveiled the newest versions of its old devices. Apple is betting that by adding new features and making slight design improvements, customers will keep shelling out more money. It is a strategy that has worked for years. Here are the highlights of Apple’s announcements.

iPhone 13 display


Apple said its new iPhone 13 models have a brighter screen, slightly longer battery life, and more powerful cameras and computer processors. Having already pushed the iPhone’s display nearly to the edge of the device, Apple slightly increased its size by reducing the small notch at the top of the screen.

Apple unveiled two versions of this: the entry-level iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini and the more expensive and advanced iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.

The price of the iPhone 13 will begin at $800 and the iPhone 13 Mini will start at $700, the same as the entry-level iPhones last year. The iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max will start at $1,000 and $1,100, the same as last year’s.

Apple spent much of its advertisement showing off the iPhone’s new “cinematic mode” that can automatically follow and focus on a subject, resulting in videos that more closely resemble the movies.

The iPhone remains one of the world’s bestselling products and the centrepiece of Apple’s business. Over the first half of the year, iPhone sales rose 58 per cent to $87.5 billion from a year earlier. That success is partly because Apple has built a loyal customer base, and also because it has designed its products in a way that makes it difficult for customers to switch to competitors like Samsung or Google.

Apple Watch screen

The new Apple Watch Series 7 is roughly the same size as last year’s model, but its screen has been stretched to the edges of the glass to make the display area 20 per cent larger. The watch, which comes in two sizes, has a new design to make it more durable. The company left the prices of the devices unchanged from last year’s models.

While the Apple Watch is one of the company’s smallest product segments, it would be an enormous standalone business for other companies. Apple’s wearables business, which includes its AirPods wireless headphones, grew 28 per cent in the year ending June 30 over the same period a year earlier.

The Apple Watch is the world’s No. 1 smartwatch, with 36 per cent of the worldwide market, according to Canalys, a research firm. Apple has consistently emphasised the device’s health benefits, including the ability to measure your blood’s oxygen saturation.

This year, Apple announced new features of its Fitness Plus subscription. The company said it was introducing five-minute workouts, winter sports, Pilates workouts and a group option that allows up to 32 people to exercise and interact.

It also created a “time to walk” mode that gets people outdoors while listening to Camila Cabello, Dolly Parton, etc. Apple said it would roll out Fitness Plus to 15 more countries this fall.

iPad Mini

Apple also introduced new versions of its entry-level iPad, with a 10.2 inch screen, and its iPad Mini, with a 8.3-inch display. It made the biggest improvements to the iPad Mini, giving it a new design and a larger, brighter screen. It now includes flat edges, matching the aesthetic of newer iPhones, and the home button was removed to make more room for the display.

The new, larger iPad includes improved cameras and software to make video calls easier by detecting people and automatically following their movements.

The new iPad Mini starts at $500, up from $400 for the most recent iPad Mini from 2019. The entry-level iPad starts at $330, the same as last fall’s version. The company now offers five models of the iPad in various screen sizes.

The iPad has been Apple’s fastest-growing product segment over the past year, as more people bought the device while having to work, learn and socialise from home during the pandemic. Apple earned $30.4 billion from iPad sales in the 12 months ending June 30, up 41 per cent over the same period a year earlier.


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