NEW YORK: Apple Inc on Tuesday announced a new version of its low-cost iPhone SE that includes 5G connectivity, a new iPad Air and a faster chip for its desktop Mac computers.
The $429 price point is a slight increase from the previous iPhone SE model, priced at $399. The new phone starts shipping March 18.
The iPhone SE comes with an A15 Bionic chip, which Apple says is the fastest among competition, a 4.7-inch retina display and a home button with touch ID.
“This is important for our existing users who want a smaller iPhone at a great value,” Chief Executive Tim Cook said.
Apple announced a new chip called M1 Ultra to enhance performance for Mac desktops. The M1 Ultra is made by connecting two M1 Max chips and is eight times faster than M1 chips.
The new iPad Air gets its first refresh in two years with a new design, 5G connectivity and a faster M1 chipset, popular in MacBooks. The starting price remained $599 and it will be available starting March 18.
Apple expected to launch new low-cost 5G iPhone
The new iPad Air also features a 12-megapixel front camera.
Apple also announced new iPhone 13 models in two new finishes, including alpine green.
The company which has been broadening its services and other products also said its Apple TV+ product would begin showing Major League Baseball games on Friday nights. The weekly double header will be available in eight countries.
5G capabilities have been a big part of Apple’s focus for the high end of its flagship product as customers look for powerful devices with better connectivity, with the iPhone 13 showing off custom 5G antennas and radio components for faster speeds.
Now, Apple’s cheaper SE model is getting a 5G update, which may entice cost-conscious consumers to get new phones. 5G service is spotty in many areas around the world, but the capability gives buyers some “future-proof” protection for when the service becomes stronger.
“Since iPhone users hold on to their phone for more than 2.5 years, including 5G capability would be an attractive feature for users to upgrade their older 4G iPhone,” said analyst Neil Shah of Counterpoint Research.
The United States, Japan and Western Europe have been the top markets for iPhone SE sales in recent years, according to researcher IDC.