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Apple unveils iPhone 14 with camera upgrades, satellite feature

The Apple Inc. logo at one of the company's stores in Sydney, Australia, on Friday, March 18, 2022.Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Apple Inc. unveiled the latest installment of its flagship product, the iPhone 14, banking on camera upgrades and a new emergency satellite-messaging feature to ward off competition from Samsung Electronics Co. and other smartphone rivals.

The company debuted the models Wednesday at a presentation dubbed Far Out, an event that also spotlighted Apple’s new watch line and AirPods earbuds. The standard iPhone 14 models look similar to the iPhone 13 from last year, but with a twist: Apple has dropped the mini version and added a model with a larger, 6.7-inch display.

The bulk of the iPhone upgrades are coming to the higher-end Pro line. Those devices will include a 48-megapixel camera and a screen that’s capable of always staying on in a low-power mode, similar to recent versions of the Apple Watch. That will let the new phones show widgets with bits of information — weather, calendar appointments and stock tickers, for instance — while the rest of the screen remains off.

The Pro devices also get the speedier new A16 processor, while the standard line runs a modestly souped-up version of the current A15. Apple describes the A16 as the fastest chip in a smartphone, 40 percent faster than the competition.

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Camera improvements include a new Action mode for video that helps stabilize shots. And the device embraces the eSIM standard, which dispenses with a physical SIM card. The iPhone 14 also offers crash detection, similiar to the latest Apple Watch. The standard iPhone 14 will cost $799 and ship on Sept. 16, with the Plus version coming in at $899 on Oct. 7.

The satellite service, meanwhile, will let users send SOS messages without a cellular connection. Apple plans to offer it free for the first two years, starting in November.

“We’re constantly challenging ourselves to raise the bar and make it better,” Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said during the presentation.

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The iPhone remains Apple’s most important product by far, generating roughly 50 percent of the company’s sales on its own and helping fuel additional revenue from services like the App Store and Apple TV+. It also coaxes customers to buy accessories like AirPods and the Apple Watch.

The iPhone 14 Pro gets a new display with thinner bezels and more active area. The screen is also brighter, at 1600 nits, the same level of brightness of the Pro Display XDR.