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欧博手机版网址:Apple counts on upscale shoppers to turn latest iPhone into hit

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Customers shop at an Apple Store on the first day of sale for the Apple iPhone 14 in Beijing, China, Friday, Sept. 16, 2022. — AP

The latest iPhone hits global stores on Sept 16 (Sept 23 in Malaysia), and Apple Inc is counting on well-heeled shoppers to make the device a hit during a year of roaring inflation and shaky technology spending.

The iPhone 14 lineup reserves the best features for the high-end Pro models costing at least US$1,000 (from RM5,299 in Malaysia). And based on preorder data, the strategy is already working with consumers, who have turned the most expensive new iPhone into the most popular version.

ALSO READ: Apple’s iPhone 14 offers camera upgrades, satellite feature; priced from RM4,199

Though overall spending on mobile devices and computers is slowing this year, there’s still an appetite for top-tier smartphones – Apple’s strength. That’s allowed the company to hold production steady at a time when much of the industry is scaling back plans.

“The data continues to point to robust demand for the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, which could have a materially positive impact for both mix and margins,” Amit Daryanani, an analyst at Evercore ISI, said in a report this week.

ALSO READ: Apple lovers in some Asian countries to pay more for iPhone 14

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The iPhone 14 line was unveiled earlier this month alongside new Apple Watches and AirPods. The company didn’t raise prices in the US, a surprise to analysts who thought inflationary pressure would force the move. But Apple is still attempting to upsell consumers more than ever before.

The standard iPhone, which starts at US$799 (from RM4,199), doesn’t even run Apple’s latest processor, the A16. Instead, it uses the same A15 chip as last year, with the A16 going into the Pro models.

The Pro phones also get significant camera improvements and a new interface called the Dynamic Island. That’s left users with less reason to upgrade to a basic iPhone 14, but plenty of incentive to pay a little more for the Pro. A flurry of carrier promotions and trade-in offers also may coax US consumers into buying a glitzier model.

Apple reshuffled its display configurations this year as well. Gone is the mini version of the iPhone. Instead, the company is betting that consumers want more screen real estate.

The non-Pro iPhone 14 will come in a 6.1in model and a 6.7in Plus version that won’t be available until Oct 7. The preorder data suggests the iPhone 14 Pro Max is more in demand than the same model was last year, part of the shift upscale, according to a report by KGI Securities.

The question now is whether that momentum is strong enough for Apple to overcome a broader slump. Worldwide the smartphone market is expected to decline 3.5% to 1.31 billion units this year, according to market research firm IDC.

In China, both a manufacturing hub for Apple and a key market, smartphone sales have tumbled this year. But Apple shipments are up 5% compared with an overall decline of 23%, according to Evercore ISI’s Daryanani. “Apple continues to gain significant share in China and we expect the share gains to continue,” he said.

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