Apple introduced new versions of the iPhone at an event in Cupertino, Calif., on Tuesday. The changes to the high-end iPhone were mostly incremental, aside from a nifty fingerprint scanner built into the home button. Apple also introduced a lower-cost version of the phone for the first time. The company has been loath to take its focus off the high end of any market it serves. Still, it has become increasingly clear that Apple needs to make a cheaper phone. Don’t worry, status seekers: In order to give Apple’s high-end customers an enduring visual clue of exclusivity, the expensive and cheap versions of the iPhone do not come in the same colors.
The annual event had all the pageantry of years past, but with less of the sense of invincibility. There is an increasing feeling that other leading phone makers are catching up. Apple’s stock peaked a week after the introduction of the iPhone 5 a year ago. Even though Apple says the iPhone 5 had a better first year than any previous version, the company has lost almost 30 percent of its market value since last September. A recent surge in the company’s stock price was inspired not by a buzzy new product, but by a series of tweets from a 77-year-old man.