(CNN Business) — Apple unveiled four new iPhones during a press event on Wednesday, along with three new smartwatches, updated AirPods Pro and a feature that could save lives when cell service is unavailable.
At an event held from its headquarters in Cupertino, California, Apple showed off four new smartphones, including a larger 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Plus model and an updated iPhone 14 Pro that redesigns the much-criticized notch o notch. In typical Apple fashion, the devices also offer better battery life and camera features than the year before.
The biggest surprise, though, might be the price: The iPhone 14 and 14 Plus will start at $799 and $899, respectively, the same starting price as last year’s model. The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max start at $999 and $1,099, respectively, also unchanged from the previous year. Analysts widely predicted that Apple would raise the price of premium models by $100.
“It’s impressive that Apple has maintained price parity year over year on new iPhone 14 devices in the US,” said Leo Gebbie, principal analyst for connected devices at CCS Insight. “We anticipate that inflation, rising production and component costs, and other expenses, such as higher shipping costs, would have led Apple to increase its retail prices.”
For Apple, the stakes are always high to convince customers to upgrade devices, and especially the iPhone, which remains its core product. That task is made potentially more difficult this year by economic jitters, including fears of an impending recession.
Throughout the event, Apple seemed to alternate between presenting its suite of products as tools to live our best lives and also to prevent a host of ills that can plague customers in an uncertain world, ranging from car accidents to being stranded in nature.
Here is a review of all the innovations that Apple, the company led by Tim Cook, presented at its most important event of the year:
iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus
Apple fans can now buy a larger iPhone without paying the Pro price.
The new iPhone 14 (6.1-inch) and iPhone 14 Plus (6.7-inch) feature a longer battery life, the same chip as last year’s iPhone 13 Pro model (the A15), and a new charging system. camera, which includes a 12 MP main camera with higher pixels, a faster aperture and improved sensors.
For the first time, the new front camera has autofocus and a new action mode that allows users to keep video steady while moving.
For the premium line, the iPhone 14 Pro, Apple redesigned the criticized notch that is now shaped like a pill. Inside is the TrueDepth camera and includes an entirely new feature Apple calls “Dynamic Island,” which brings up interactive widgets on the lock screen and access to controls for music, timer and other features. The models will come in four colors: space black, silver, gold and deep purple.
In a notable change, the iPhone 14 lineup also removes the need for a physical SIM card, using a digital “e-SIM” card instead. Users can now store multiple e-SIMs on the same device and have multiple cell plans and phone numbers on the same phone. It also prevents others from removing the physical SIM card if your iPhone is lost or stolen. Apple said that all US iPhone models will no longer have the SIM tray.
AirPods Pro 2
Apple showed off its latest generation of AirPods Pro, one of its biggest products in recent years. The new AirPods Pro will have six hours of listening time on a single charge, better than the original version. Each earbud and the case itself are now equipped to make a noise so users can easily find it. In addition, with a slight slide up and down on the headphones you can increase or decrease the volume.
AirPods Pro now include improved dynamic noise cancellation technology and can cancel twice as much noise compared to the original version. Meanwhile, a new adaptive transparency mode aims to reduce harsh ambient noise.
The AirPods Pro 2 are priced at $249 and will hit stores on Friday.
Three new Apple Watches
Apple introduced three new smartwatches at the event: the Series 8, the SE and the Ultra.
At the high end, the new Apple Watch Ultra ($799) is designed to help users track endurance training, diving adventures and triathlons. The device lasts about 36 hours on a single charge, is more waterproof, and has an improved compass that can work at night, in the ocean, and in other conditions.
On the low end, Apple updated the SE to be up to 20% faster than the previous version. starts at $249 for GPS models and $299 for cellular.
And in the middle is the Series 8 model, at US$399 for the GPS model and US$499 for the cellular model. Its main novelty is that it focuses on women’s health by having renewed tools to monitor menstrual cycles and can predict ovulation. Also, with this watch you can detect when a user has been in a car accident.
Apple emphasized the watch’s features for women’s health, with revamped menstrual cycle tracking tools that can predict ovulation. Tracking data is saved on each device and can only be accessed through a passcode or facial ID, according to the company. Apple does not have the key to the encrypted data, so it cannot be accessed without your permission.
The announcement comes as the security of women’s data has become a critical issue following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
While Apple didn’t introduce any innovative new hardware products, at least one new feature could be a game changer for customers, albeit in rare situations.
The new Emergency SOS via Satellite feature, which Apple says has been in the works for years, was designed and built specifically for iPhone 14 devices to connect to satellites when not near a ground tower. By allowing users to point their device at a satellite, which the phone will help locate, users will be able to send and receive information to get emergency help.
The company said it created a short text compression mechanism to condense messages that take about 15 seconds to send if the user has a clear view of the sky. (It may take a few more minutes if there is foliage in the way.)
Apple said local vendors will be alerted to come in for help.