5G and budget models: What to expect from Apple’s product launch event

A 5G budget-friendly iPhone and a new iPad top expectations from analysts for Apple Inc’s spring product launch event on Tuesday.

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,” Neil Shah, an analyst at Counterpoint Research, said.

With the SE currently priced at $399 (€366), a big question is whether Apple will raise the price of the phone, passing on some higher costs from snarled global supply chains.

The United States, Japan, and Western Europe have been the top markets for iPhone SE sales in recent years, according to researcher IDC.

The iPhone maker is also expected to launch a new version of the iPad Air and a high-end Mac Mini, a computer without a monitor that is also a budget-friendly way into the Apple product lineup.

Analysts also wonder if Chief Executive Tim Cook will comment on the war in Ukraine.

Apple said on March 1 it had paused all product sales in Russia in response to the Russian invasion. The Russian state media, RT News and Sputnik News are no longer available for download from the Apple Store outside Russia.

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