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Apple’s new iPhone 12 is available for pre-order, here’s what to expect

Apple has made the iPhone 12 available for pre-order. Tech Analyst Rene Ritchie joins Yahoo Finance Live to break down the latest.

Video Transcript

- Pre-orders for the final two iPhone 12 models begin today. In addition to the Max, customers can also order the iPhone 12 mini and the new Home Pod mini smart speaker.

Let's bring in Renee Ritchie. He is a Tech Analyst who has been playing around with these devices since the Apple announcement earlier this year. Let's start talk about the price point here, because it is the most expensive phone that we're talking about. What is it, roughly $1,100? What do you think the demand picture looks like for the holidays with that kind of price point?

RENE RITCHIE: I think, you know, it's really interesting, because Apple has held the line on the higher end pricing, where a lot of companies have gone up by $100 or more because they've been adding 5G to it, or the new Qualcomm processors in general have been much more expensive. So we've seen the top end flagship phones like Galaxy Note jump up $100 or more, and Apple has really held that line.

So while they're expensive. I think they're not going to give anybody sticker shock. And they've added extra features, extra camera features to the Pro Max this year that I think will make it a little bit more enticing for people who both like cameras and also just want, quote unquote, "the best iPhone."

- And there's a lot of options across this segment here for consumers looking to get the latest model, including the mini. I mean, how much on the hardware side is really going to be attracting some of these older Apple users to upgrade? Because talk to me about those features, the most important ones that would drive that decision.

RENE RITCHIE: So I mean, it's-- unless you are really a small phone lover, it's hard to understand. But there's just been this massive niche community inside Apple that ever since they went big and bigger with the iPhone 6 and left behind, you know, aside from the original iPhone SE, they've just felt under served. Like they wanted all the flagship features in the smaller package. It's like wanting a little sports car, you know, with the roof down going down the highway. It's the lifestyle they enjoy.

And they're super happy. I've heard from a lot of people who are just super happy to have that small option.

And then on the high end, when you have those extra-- when you have the extra long battery life and the biggest screen possible and the extra photo features, you dial into a bunch of different market segments, including photographers, people who self identify as pros, people who are just affluent and want the best iPhone. So I think they have a good mix, especially the expansion on both ends going into the holidays.

- Yeah. I guess you could argue that with the mini, it's not just about the US market, but a lot of developing markets as well. Although, a $700 price point still is not a cheap phone.

You talked about the differences between these models. What I keep hearing is it's about the camera, it's about the battery. It doesn't seem like we're seeing significant upgrades from one cycle to the other. Are we at peak smartphone here? Is that what's happening, it comes down to the camera?

RENE RITCHIE: Yeah. Well, I think there's sort of two sides of that. There is one section of the market that are on an annual upgrade program, whether it's Apple's or their carrier program, where they just pay a monthly fee and they get a new phone every year. And then there are people who have enough money or have figured out how to sell their old phone and get the new phone, where it doesn't matter, they just want the new phone every year.

But I think in terms of mass market, it's really more like there are new cars every year, there are new TVs every year, there are new refrigerators every year, but you don't see the same tech media coverage saying, oh no, if you have last year's fridge, you don't need to upgrade. And I think for many people, they have a phone for two or three years now, they're fine. And Apple has been pretty clear that they usually only expect people who are two or three years out to be upgrading.

- The one other device we're looking at is Apple's Home Pod mini smart speaker. It's $99. Pretty good price point in the market, but what do you think the demand is for that, just given that their competitors like an Amazon, like a Google already have something similar on the market?

RENE RITCHIE: Yeah. I think that's one of the most interesting parts. And I think Apple is going to have to lean on two things. One is their longstanding tradition of privacy, where people might be simply more comfortable having an Apple speaker in their home than they would be a Google speaker, or even an Amazon speaker. And also their integration, because when you do buy into Apple's ecosystem writ large, there are a bunch of features that you get that just work together, like their new intercom feature that gives you functionality that you don't get if you sort of try to put together your own mishmash of brands.

- Tech Analyst Renee Ritchie. Good to talk to you today.

RENE RITCHIE: Good to talk to you too.