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Apple maintaining US prices on iPhone 14 despite inflation

‘Tom’s Guide’ editor-in-chief Mark Spoonauer breaks down the perks of  Apple’s latest technology, including the iPhone 14 series.

Apple will keep the same prices for its iPhone 14 models from last year despite the U.S. facing scorching hot inflation.

The pricing decision, revealed Wednesday during Apple’s first in-person product event in three years, came as a mild surprise. Many analysts predicted Apple would ask its devout customers to pay as much as 15% more to help offset rising costs for many components.

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The standard iPhone 14 will come with a price tag of $799, while the iPhone 14 Plus and the iPhone 14 Pro will be $899 and $999, respectively. The iPhone 14 Pro Max's price will start at $1,099. All of the models will be available, starting Sept. 16, except the iPhone 14 Plus, which becomes available Oct. 7.

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The new iPhone models will be powered by a 5-core GPU and the A16 Bionic chip. Other features include a durable ceramic shield front cover, better cameras, crash detection and emergency SOS via satellite.

iPhone 14 and 14 Plus

Preorders begin Friday with availability for the iPhone 14 beginning Sept. 16 and iPhone 14 Plus beginning Oct. 7. (Apple)

With inflation still hovering at its highest level in 40 years, consumers have curbed their spending on many discretionary items. That’s likely contributing to a recent decline in smartphone sales, although the iPhone has fared far better than competing Android devices.

According to the most recent Labor Department data, the consumer price index rose 8.5% in July from the prior year, a figure lower than the 8.7% figure forecasted by Refinitiv economists. The popular inflation gauge slowed that month, though prices remained near a 40-year high.

APPLE SHOWCASES IPHONE 14, APPLE WATCH SERIES 8, AIRPODS AT ‘FAR OUT’ PRODUCT EVENT

By keeping iPhone prices the same, Apple faces the potential risk of undermining its profits if inflation drives up its own costs. It’s a hit that the company could easily afford, given it has reaped $44 billion in profits through the first half of this year.

Apple could also end up fattening its bottom line if more consumers looking to upgrade their mobile devices gravitate to the high-end Pro and Pro Max models, which generate bigger profit margins than the cheaper models.

Other items Apple introduced at its "Far Out" event include the Apple Watch Series 8 and the second generation of AirPods Pro. The starting price for the new Apple Watch — $399 — and the AirPods Pro — $249 — also remained flat from last year's versions.

Second generation AirPods Pro

Preorders for the second-generation AirPods Pro will begin Sept. 9 with availability in stores Sept. 23. The AirPods Pro will cost $249.  (Apple)

The tech giant also unveiled the Apple Watch Ultra, a new smartwatch geared toward athletes and outdoor enthusiasts.

The Apple Watch Ultra offers a multitude of new features "built for endurance, exploration and adventure" and comes with a $799 price tag, the tech giant said in a press release. Notably, it has a new bright orange action button that offers quick access to features geared toward diving, running, backpacking and other athletic pursuits.

Apple Watch Ultra

The Apple Watch Ultra will cost $799 and be available Sept. 23. (Apple)

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Apple's "Far Out" event was held just one day after Google, one of the tech giant's competitors, announced its own first-ever smartwatch, which is set to launch Oct. 6.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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