Apple unveiled new iPhones that are largely unchanged from previous models and accompanied by an unexpected price cut for the cheapest model, underscoring the company’s efforts to counteract a sales slump of its flagship product.
The company’s new models are so similar to last year’s lineup they may be upstaged by Apple TV Plus, the company’s upcoming video service, which is rolling out on Nov. 1 at $5 per month.
Apple, in fact, is already using the video service to promote iPhones, offering a free year of Apple TV Plus with new device purchases.
IPhone shipments are down 25% so far this year, according to the research firm IDC, putting more pressure on Apple to generate revenue from services such as music and video streaming, games and its App Store.
It is cutting the price of the iPhone 11 to $700 from $750, the price of last year’s XR. The lower price reverses a trend in which premium phones get more expensive as people upgrade them less often.
Apple CEO Tim Cook didn’t have much new to say about the TV Plus service beyond its pricing and service date. Apple has been lavishing billions of dollars for original programs. The service will launch with nine original shows and films, with more expected each month. It will only carry Apple’s original programming, and will be available in 100 countries at launch.
The company’s new phone models resemble last year’s iPhone XR, XS and XS Max. And they have the same design — with more display space, less bezel and no home button — that Apple switched to with the iPhone X in 2017.
This year, Apple added an extra camera lens to each model. The two pricier models already have a telephoto lens for better zoom. Now, they will sport a wide-angle lens to capture more of a scene than regular shots.
The new iPhones won’t support upcoming cellular networks known as 5G. Apple paid billions of dollars to settle a dispute with chipmaker Qualcomm in April to gain the technology it needs for 5G iPhones, but those models won’t be ready until next year.