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

Apple’s new iPhone 13 touts faster 5G, sharper cameras to spur trade-ins
Apple CEO Tim Cook showcases the advanced camera system on the new iPhone 13 Pro. (Apple/Reuters)
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Updated 15 September 2021

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

Apple’s new iPhone 13 touts faster 5G, sharper cameras to spur trade-ins
  • Analysts expect customers hanging onto older models like the iPhone X will be eager to upgrade

Apple Inc. unveiled the iPhone 13 and a new iPad mini on Tuesday, 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 charge with subsidies of up to $1,000 if customers trade in a previous model and sign up for an installment plan.
Verizon Communications Inc. and T-Mobile US Inc. offered similar deals but with slightly lower subsidies up to $700. The biggest subsidies will go to customers who turn in iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models.
Ben Bajarin, head of consumer technologies at Creative Strategies, said he expects those aggressive subsides will increase as Apple and carriers try to hold onto customers.
“That offer is unique to Apple, and it’s a strength they have to keep these sales cycles going for them and for the carriers,” Bajarin said.
The iPhone is Apple’s most important product, but Apple has rolled out a web of service and other products that are seen as locking customers into a system they enjoy — and would find expensive to leave.
The Series 7 smart watch will feature a larger display and faster charging. It will start at $399 and be available later this autumn.
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 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.
The new iPad Mini’s price rose by $100, but it also added new capabilities like compatibility with the company’s Apple Pencil and a faster chip than the larger-screened base model iPad, bucking a trend of smaller screens being cheaper. Apple showed the Mini in use by professionals like doctors.
Apple also updated its base-model iPad with a new camera. The new iPad will start at $329 and the Mini at $499. Both will be available next week.
Apple shares closed down about 1 percent, a sharper fall than a slight downturn in broader markets.
“It seems like there’s nothing really revolutionary announced, but of course, as usual, they announced enough improvements to at least generate some enthusiasm among consumers,” said Rick Meckler, partner at family investment office Cherry Lane Investments.
Apple’s biggest product launch of the year comes as some of the shine has come off its stock as business practices such as charging software developers commissions on in-app payments have come under regulatory scrutiny.
Apple shares were up about 11.6 percent year to date as of Tuesday’s close, trailing the Nasdaq Composite Index, which was up 16.7 percent over the same period.
Kim Forrest, founder and chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital, said she was not concerned by the lack of splashy, unexpected products, since Apple’s upgrades would keep customers. “I think the consumer, once it gets the Apple chip in its head, it’s very hard to dislodge,” she said.
The Apple Watch has become a cornerstone of its $30.6 billion accessories segment, which was up 25 percent in Apple’s most recent fiscal year even as its iPhone revenue declined slightly. Analysts widely believe that Apple users who buy more than one product — such as an Apple Watch and iPhone — are more likely to stick with the brand and spend on the company’s apps and services.
Apple focused on fitness features such as improving how the watch tracks bicycling workouts and dust protection for hiking. The watch is paired tightly with Apple Fitness+, a paid service offering guided workouts with Apple instructors. The company added pilates, skiing-oriented workouts and group workouts.
Shares of exercise bike and online training company Peloton were down about 1.6 percent.


Philip Morris seals $1.5bn deal for UK's Vectura

Philip Morris seals $1.5bn deal for UK's Vectura
Image of Philip Morris factory
Updated 18 sec ago

Philip Morris seals $1.5bn deal for UK's Vectura

Philip Morris seals $1.5bn deal for UK's Vectura
  • Chief Executive said the acquisition of Vectura was a critical part of his strategy to move the company "Beyond Nicotine"
  • Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation said they have sent a letter urging the UK government to look into any conflict of interest issues

Cigarette maker Philip Morris (PMI) clinched its 1.1 billion-pound ($1.5bn) takeover of asthma inhaler maker Vectura on Thursday, as part of the company's long term plan to develop "smoke-free" products and switch to being a "broader healthcare and wellness" company.

The deal won the support of the British company's shareholders who decided to take the 165 pence-per-share offer from PMI, with nearly 75 percent backing the deal but angered health groups such as Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation that have questioned whether a tobacco group should own a company that cures the very respiratory illnesses cigarettes cause.

PMI Chief Executive Jacek Olczak has argued that acquiring Vectura is a critical part of his strategy to move the company "Beyond Nicotine".


He told the Telegraph last month that opponents of the deal were "not interested in progress" and accused them of "settling old scores" with the tobacco industry.


Olczak said PMI would provide Vectura's scientists with the resources and expertise to reach its goal of generating at least $1 billion in net revenue from "Beyond Nicotine" products by 2025.


In the meantime, Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation said they have sent a letter urging the UK government to look into any conflict of interest issues.


The letter was co-signed by 35 charities, public health experts and clinicians.


"There's now a very real risk that Vectura's deal with big tobacco will lead to the cigarette industry wielding undue influence on UK health policy," said Sarah Woolnough, Chief Executive of Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation.


PMI has received regulatory clearances for the deal and following the public tender process, its offer cannot now be withdrawn.


While the company received the 50 percent threshold to make its offer unconditional, it has not yet reached the 75 percent of shares it needs to delist Vectura.


PMI said it was extending its offer to Sept 30., to give Vectura shareholders time to accept its proposal.
 


Amazon brings free cloud skills training program to unemployed in MENA

Amazon brings free cloud skills training program to unemployed in MENA
Amazon Web Services will help unemployed and underemployed people
Updated 1 min 10 sec ago

Amazon brings free cloud skills training program to unemployed in MENA

Amazon brings free cloud skills training program to unemployed in MENA

DUBAI: Technology giant Amazon is launching its free cloud computing training program in the Middle East and North Africa, as the region puts more premium on tech-based skills.

The program will help unemployed and underemployed people in the region, Amazon Web Services said in a statement, and connect them with local employers.

The first cohorts are taking place in Egypt, Lebanon, and Tunisia, and will later expand to additional countries in the Gulf.

Participants of the 12-week program, called “AWS re/Start,” will learn entry-level cloud computing functions, and will also include career coaching – all delivered by accredited instructors, Amazon said.

“As cloud adoption continues to grow in MENA, we look forward to expanding the program to more countries and helping to bridge the gap for in-demand cloud skill,” said Tejas Vashi, Amazon's global team lead of the program.

The company has partnered with local firms in the countries they are launching the program.

It comes as the region pursues aggressive efforts to boost digital industries, with governments in Saudi Arabia and the UAE launching key policy initiatives centered on technology.


KSA and South Africa look to technology, desalination collaboration

KSA and South Africa look to technology, desalination collaboration
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 9 min 19 sec ago

KSA and South Africa look to technology, desalination collaboration

KSA and South Africa look to technology, desalination collaboration
  • Bilateral trade is still currently dominated by crude oil and its byproducts
  • Both countries share a desire for a diversified economy not dependent on the export of raw natural resources

South Africa has a long trading relationship with the Kingdom, and sees it as an important and strategic market in the Middle East for trade and co-operation in technology and water desalination, as well as for South African goods and services. 

Ahead of a Joint Business Hybrid In Person/Webinar to be hosted by the Federation of Saudi Chambers on Thursday, Arab News spoke to Imran Simmins, First Secretary Political at the South African Embassy in Riyadh, who said the bilateral trade is still currently dominated by crude oil and its byproducts.  

Business representatives in agriculture, food and entertainment, industry, healthcare, technology, tourism, defence, and mining sectors see plenty of potential for collaboration between both countries, and will use the event to explore bilateral growth opportunities together.

“Commodities from South Africa are mainly agricultural products and live animals. On the basis of Vision 2030 and the NDP 2030, with their focus on industrialization, we envisage a future dominated by trade in manufactured products,” Simmins said.

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, both countries committed to use technology to improve their economies. He said the pandemic has forced technology to play a more central role in life in general, as well as how specifically economic activity is conducted. 

“This is one major field in which both countries will be collaborating in the future,” Simmins added.

Simmins added: “South Africa is becoming drier and drier with each drought spell being more serious and expansive than the previous one. The country is beginning to look beyond rainwater for its livelihood. Saudi’s seawater desalination expertise will definitely be crucial.”

Both countries share a desire for a diversified economy not dependent on the export of raw natural resources, a key part of both their developmental plans; the National Development Plan (NDP) in South Africa and Vision 2030 in Saudi Arabia.

This has seen both nations commit to cleaner forms of energy despite being endowed with coal (South Africa) and the crude oil (from the Kingdom) that dominates trade relations. 

In 2018, King Salman announced a $10 billion investment in the South African economy. 

Aramco and the South African Ministry of Energy are currently exploring the possibility of building an oil refinery and a petrochemical plant in Richards Bay, on the country's north east coast. The refinery will serve the entire Southern African region. 

Trade in technology, goods, and services will need every assistance available from bilateral trade events before oil and natural resources cease to dominate trade between South Africa and the Kingdom.

 


Swiss government lowers 2021 GDP forecast

Swiss government lowers 2021 GDP forecast
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 55 min 14 sec ago

Swiss government lowers 2021 GDP forecast

Swiss government lowers 2021 GDP forecast
  • The economic slump in 2020 was not quite as severe, meaning the catch-up potential is also lower overall
  • The upturn is expected to pick up next year with growth anticipated at a rate of 3.4 percent 

Switzerland’s economy is expected to grow by 3.2 percent this year, the government said on Thursday, lowering its full year outlook as a less sunny global picture limited Switzerland’s recovery.

“The economic recovery is set to continue as expected, though growth is initially less dynamic than forecast previously,” the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said in a statement.

A less vigorous global recovery, marked by capacity bottlenecks limiting the growth of global industrial production and tightened coronavirus measures hampering the services sector in some countries, meant Switzerland’s economic recovery was expected to grow less this year than the 3.6 percent growth it forecast in June, the government expert group found.

“The downward revision compared with the June forecast (+3.6 percent) is also due to the fact that, according to the latest data, the economic slump in 2020 was not quite as severe, meaning the catch-up potential is also lower overall.”

The upturn is expected to pick up next year, with the Swiss economy anticipated to grow by 3.4 percent in 2022, the government said, higher than its previous forecast of 3.3 percent.


Saudi crude oil shipments hit highest level in six months - JODI

Saudi crude oil shipments hit highest level in six months - JODI
Updated 6 min 22 sec ago

Saudi crude oil shipments hit highest level in six months - JODI

Saudi crude oil shipments hit highest level in six months - JODI

Saudi Arabia's crude oil exports rose in July to its highest level for six months, according to figures released by the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI) on Thursday.

Some 6.327 million barrels per day (bpd) were shipped from the Kingdom, a rise of 0.362 million bpd compared to June. 

The country's total oil exports — crude and other products — stood at 7.650 million bpd in July, compared with 7.323 million bpd the previous month.

Crude output rose by 0.547 million bpd to 9.474 million bpd in July from 8.927 million bpd in June, figures posted by JODI show.