Apple shows off costliest iPhone yet
September 14, 2018 at 5:08 am

NEW MODEL Kaiann Drance, Apple’s senior marketing director, explains the dramatically designed iPhone XS during an event to announce new Apple products on Wednesday at Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California. —AP

CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA — Apple unveiled three new iPhones on Wednesday, including its biggest and most expensive model yet, as the company sought to widen the product’s appeal amid slowing sales.

CEO Tim Cook showed off the iPhone XS Max, which has a bigger screen than the one on last year’s dramatically designed model, the iPhone X.

The iPhone XS Max will cost about $1,100, topping the iPhone X, which at $1,000 seemed jaw-dropping at the time. An updated iPhone X, now called the XS, stays at $1,000.

As with the iPhone X, both new phones have screens that run from edge to edge, an effort to maximize the display without making the phone too awkward to hold.

Increasingly larger screens

The screen needs no backlight, so black would appear as truly black rather than simply dark. The Max model looks to be about the size of the iPhone 8 Plus, though the screen size is much larger.

The iPhone XS Max, which will be available on Sept. 21— with orders open the week before—represents Apple’s attempt to feed consumers’ appetite for increasingly larger screens as they rely on smartphones to watch and record video and to take photos wherever they are.

By making more expensive iPhones, Apple has been able to boost its profits despite waning demand as people upgrade phones less frequently.

IPhones fetched an average price of $724 during the April-June period, a nearly 20-percent increase from a year earlier.

Apple also showed off a cheaper iPhone, called the iPhone XR. It has a traditional, lower-quality screen and an aluminum body; it’s physically smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus but has a bigger screen. It’ll cost roughly $750 and come out on Oct. 26.

All three new models join the iPhone X in getting rid of the home button to make room for more screen. They will have facial-recognition technology to unlock the device.

Target: affluent households

Although it didn’t sell quite as analysts anticipated, the iPhone X still emerged as the most popular in Apple’s lineup, according to Cook.

That emboldened the company to aim an even more expensive device at the affluent households that tend to gravitate to its products, especially in the United States and Europe.

For everyone else, many of whom are still using iPhones they purchased several years ago, there’s the XR.

“I am going to go out on a limb and say the XR is going to become Apple’s top-selling iPhone,” said analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights.

“It is a smart strategy to keep more people in the Apple ecosystem and get even more people to come into it,” Moorhead added. — AP

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