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Apple seeks more market share with 'entry-level' iPhone

Business

Apple has unveiled a new entry-level iPhone that keeps some of the features from its flagship iPhone 13 range but at a much lower price, a move experts say “sustains Apple’s grip on the market”.

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The new iPhone SE comes with 5G connectivity and the same A15 Bionic chip the tech giant put in the iPhone 13 when it announced it last year.

But in contrast with Apple’s flagship phone, which started at $US799 when announced last September, the new iPhone SE starts at $US429. The base model is expected to cost a little more than $700 in Australia.

The iPhone SE is the only iPhone to still come with a home button and Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

“This is important for our existing users who want a smaller iPhone at a great value,” chief executive Tim Cook said.

Although the latest iPhone SE will feature a faster processor, more durable 4.7-inch screen and longer-lasting battery than the last model, its biggest selling points will likely be its compatibility with still-emerging 5G wireless networks and its relatively low price.

CCS Insight chief analyst Ben Wood said it was “perfect for consumers who are not interested in the bells and whistles on more expensive iPhones but love Apple’s user experience and apps”.

“This sustains Apple’s grip on the market as users hold on to their devices for longer or trade them in with a healthy residual value to upgrade to a new iPhone,” Wood said.

Even though 5G networks still are not widely available, the allure of faster connections turned out to be a major draw that helped spur more iPhone fans to upgrade from older models.

The iPhone 13 proved to be such a hot commodity that it helped Apple to vault past rival Samsung to be the world’s top seller of smartphones during the final three months of last year, according to the research group International Data Corp.

Elsewhere at Tuesday’s event in California, Apple announced a new desktop computer, the Mac Studio and a companion screen – the 27-inch Studio Display – as a new flagship device for power users.

The computer will be the first to house the company’s latest own computer chip – the M1 Ultra – which the firm says is the most powerful ever built for a personal computer.

With the new M1 Ultra in place, Apple says the Mac Studio is nearly four times faster than its fastest iMac desktop computer.

Starting at $US1999, it comes with different ports to enable connection with a broad range of other devices, including the new Studio Display monitor, which has a 27-inch screen and can support 5K resolution.

The new monitor costs $US1599.

The virtual event also saw Apple update the iPad Air tablet, placing its M1 chip into the device for a 60 per cent performance increase on the previous generation, adding 5G connectivity, as well as an improved camera that includes Apple’s Centre Stage feature for video calls, which uses AI to automatically pan and keep those talking on the call in view.

All new products go on sale on March 18.

-PA

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