Apple Inc showed off a trio of new Apple Watches on Wednesday, including a new Watch Ultra model aimed at extreme sports, testing its user base’s willingness to keep buying new products amid a weakening global economy. . The watches debuted at an event called “Far Out” at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., which analysts expect will add the ability to send emergency messages to from iPhones using satellite connectivity.
Apple said the Ultra Watch model will have its biggest battery yet and a sturdier case and controls designed for use with gloves. The new watches include an upgraded budget model called SE and an 8-series watch with collision detection and low power mode for 36 hours of battery life.
Apple said the new Series 8 watch has a temperature sensor that will work in conjunction with its previously released cycle tracking app to retroactively detect when a person started ovulating. The company has emphasized the privacy approach of its cycle tracking. Privacy and reproductive health data has become a priority for tech companies following a US Supreme Court ruling that ended the constitutional right to abortion in the United States. Apple said it doesn’t have the key to decrypting health data such as cycle tracking.
But while accessories like the Apple Watch have spurred incremental sales from Apple’s existing user base, the iPhone remains the bedrock of its business with 52.4% of sales in its last fiscal year. Analysts expect iPhone 14 model family with incremental upgrades – slightly better cameras, processor chips and, critical to Apple’s bottom line, prices of $100 or more superior to last year’s models.
Granted, the world’s most valuable listed company will likely keep some older or less advanced models at lower prices, and to date Apple’s relatively affluent fan base has shown more willingness to keep spending despite inflation. high. But the new models will be the anchor of Apple’s sales during the holiday shopping seasons in Western markets during a turbulent time. “Apple is not immune to economic weakness,” Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi wrote in a note to clients. This year’s iPhones may have the ability to send emergency messages over a satellite internet connection when WiFi and mobile networks aren’t available. Messaging functions would probably be rudimentary, and other companies are working on similar functions. SpaceX founder Elon Musk said last month that T-Mobile would use its satellites to connect phones directly to the internet.
Bob O’Donnell of TECHnalysis Research said the peace of mind of being able to send emergency messages could entice Apple users to upgrade their phones for satellite functionality. “Even if it’s not something you do every day, it will change your perspective on what you do with your phone,” he said.
Some analysts believe Apple could give a glimpse of that future by showing off a mixed-reality headset on Wednesday. The device is expected to have cameras that transmit the view of the outside world to the wearer while overlaying digital objects onto the physical world. Analysts don’t expect the device to go on sale until next year at the earliest. An early preview would be rare for Apple, which is keeping its product plans under wraps until the devices hit the market. A rival headset called Project Cambria is in the works by Meta Platforms Inc, which is spending billions on the project.
But in order to have compelling apps for a new headset, Apple may need to give developers time to get to grips with it. “Developing a new and radically different type of platform is going to take a lot longer,” O’Donnell said.
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