Apple's new iPhone 13 launches in Singapore on Sep 24, touts faster 5G and sharper cameras

15 September, 2021
Apple's new iPhone 13 launches in Singapore on Sep 24, touts faster 5G and sharper cameras
Apple unveiled the iPhone 13 and a new iPad mini on Tuesday (Sep 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 in the US are offering incentives ahead of the year-end holiday season 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 colours.

In Singapore, prices for the iPhone 13 will start at S$1,299; the iPhone 13 Pro at S$1,649 and the Pro Max at S$1,799. The iPhone 13 Mini starts at S$1,149. 

All models will be available in Singapore on Sep 24 with pre-orders starting from Sep 17 at 8pm. 

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 US$399 and be available later this year. No Singapore pricing has been revealed at this time. 

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 S$499 and the Mini starts at S$749. Both will be available in Singapore from Sep 24.

Apple shares were down 1.2 per cent, 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 per cent year to date as of Tuesday's close, trailing the Nasdaq Composite Index, which was up 16.7 per cent 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 US$30.6 billion accessories segment, which was up 25 per cent 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 and skiing-oriented workouts, and a group workout function designed to let users work out together. The company also bundled three months of free service with its watch devices.
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