TECH TALK

Ap­ple touts new fans with down­sized mod­els

7 Days in Dubai - - TECH TALK -

s it strug­gles to match the suc­cess of its bigscreen iPhones, Ap­ple is now con­tend­ing that small can be beau­ti­ful, too. The tech gi­ant showed off down­sized ver­sions of its sig­na­ture iPhone and iPad Pro tablet ear­lier this week, hop­ing they’ll ap­peal to first- time buy­ers and those who have shied away from the big­ger-screen mod­els Ap­ple has sold in re­cent years.

At a time when over­all smart­phone sales are slow­ing, Ap­ple touted its new four-inch iPhone SE as the “most af­ford­able” new phone the com­pany has of­fered. While it comes with an up­graded cam­era, faster pro­ces­sor and other fea­tures, the SE has a start­ing price of $400 (Dhs1,649), or $50 less than the older iPhone 5S that it’s re­plac­ing.

By con­trast, the iPhone 6S Plus, which had been Ap­ple’s new­est and big­gest phone, starts at $750.

The com­pany also knocked $50 off the price of its Ap­ple Watch, showed off some new bands for the wear­able gad­get, and an­nounced some soft­ware en­hance­ments for its mo­bile devices and the Ap­ple TV sys­tem.

But few of Mon­day’s an­nounce­ments sur­prised in­dus­try ex­perts. An­a­lysts say Ap­ple clearly hopes the new devices will broaden its ap­peal and get more peo­ple to use the lat­est ver­sions of its lu­cra­tive on­line ser­vices - such as Ap­ple Pay, Ap­ple Mu­sic and the mo­bile App Store - at a time when over­all sales of Ap­ple’s sleek iDe­vices are lev­el­ling off.

“We’re at a point, in a ma­ture mar­ket, where it’s about hav­ing niche prod­ucts that sat­isfy dif­fer­ent needs,” said vet­eran tech in­dus­try watcher Bob O’Don­nell of Tech­nal­y­sis Re­search.

Ap­ple is pack­ing some new fea­tures into th­ese smaller pack­ages. The new SE, for ex­am­ple, has the same four-inch screen as the iPhone 5S that Ap­ple be­gan sell­ing in 2013. But the new phone has the com­pany’s lat­est A9 pro­ces­sor, a 12megapixel cam­era and a se­cure chip that al­lows the use of Ap­ple Pay, the com­pany’s dig­i­tal pay­ment ser­vice. Ap­ple Pay was pre­vi­ously only avail­able with iPhone 6 and 6S mod­els.

But most an­a­lysts ex­pect the new phone to sell only mod­estly. And while they may give Ap­ple a boost dur­ing the slow spring and sum­mer months, an­a­lysts say the new devices may not be dif­fer­ent enough to com­mand the ex­cite­ment Ap­ple’s other re­cent re­leases have en­joyed.

“It’s not go­ing to be a big block­buster,” said O’Don­nell.

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