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Saturday, September 18, 2021
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Apple’s new iPhone 13 touts faster 5G, sharper cameras to spur trade-ins

Apple unveiled the iPhone 13 and a new iPad Mini on Tuesday (September 14), expanding 5G connectivity and showing off faster chips and sharper cameras without raising the phone’s price.

The Cupertino, California-based company did not announce any blockbuster features or products, but analysts expect customers hanging onto older models like the iPhone X will be eager to upgrade. To encourage trade-ins, participating wireless carriers are offering incentives ahead of the year-end holiday season that to make the new phones free to some customers.

The iPhone 13 will have a new chip called the A15 Bionic that enables features like automatically translating text. The phone also has a better display, longer battery life and a Cinematic mode for automatically changing focus while taking videos. Apple said the iPhone 13 will have custom 5G antennas and radio components for faster speeds and will come in five colors.

The phone will start at $699, and participating wireless carriers will offer up to $700 off for qualifying trade-ins. The iPhone 13 Pro starts at $999 and the Pro Max starts at $1,099, with trade-in offers of up to $1,000. All three models will be available Sept. 24.

The prices are unchanged from last year, but some carriers such as AT&T Inc will offer the devices for no additional if customers trade in a previous model and sign up for an installment plan.

Ben Bajarin, head of consumer technologies at Creative Strategies, said he expects those aggressive subsides and trade-in policies will increase as a way for Apple and carriers to hold on to customers.

“I think the carriers, knowing that they want to move more toward these annual programs, these leasing plans, Apple is their best product to really push and incentivize because they do get such good residual value on those devices when they’re traded. And you just don’t get that with the family of Android products that’s out there,” Bajarin said.

The company also updated its iPad Mini with 5G connectivity and a reworked design that makes it look like the higher-end iPad Air and Pro models. Bob O’Donnell, head of TECHnalysis Research, said the small tablet was Apple’s most surprising announcement of the day and could lure in customers who want a device with 5G that can handle more powerful apps than a phone.

“I don’t think it replaces any other device, like we’ve seen Apple try to position some of the bigger iPads as PC replacements,” O’Donnell said.

Apple also updated its base-model iPad with a new camera for working and learning from home. The base model iPad starts at $329, and the Mini starts at $499. Both will be available next week.

Apple shares were down 1.2%, a sharper fall than a slight downturn in broader markets.

(Production: Nathan Frandino)

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