Tim Cook tries to reduce Apple’s dependence on devices
And increase its revenues from services
Apple’s product launches are not what they used to be. A decade ago the unveiling of a new iPhone would inspire quasi-religious ecstasy; devotees would camp on pavements outside shops as the release date drew near.
At the firm’s latest event, on September 10th, the format was the same: Apple’s boss stood on stage, clad in a regulation black jumper, and spoke of the world-changing power of the company’s latest wares.
But the fizz was gone. The iPhone 11 looks like a merely incremental improvement on the models that have gone before it.
Smartphones have become boring. Consumers around the world are upgrading less frequently. Sales have stagnated. That poses a problem for Apple, which has built its success on charging eye-watering prices for aspirational, frequently replaced devices.
Its response—to focus more on selling services and less on selling hardware—has been widely trailed. Those services comprise everything from extended warranties to the creation of an Apple-exclusive store for video games, and for streaming video, on which it plans to spend $6bn and which is designed to undercut rivals like Disney and Netflix.
The iPhone 11’s launch shows what that strategy means for the hardware side. Apple has been raising its prices for years, but that trend has slowed. The cheapest model of the iPhone 11 is the lowest-priced phone the company has launched in two years.
iPhone 11的发布表明了这一策略对硬件设备方面意味着什么。苹果多年来一直在提高手机的售价，但这一趋势已经放缓。iPhone 11的最低型号是苹果近两年来推出的价格最低的手机。
That makes sense: a service-focused company needs a broad user-base. But it is a delicate balancing act. If prices fall too low, the firm will lose its aspirational glow (the top-of-the-range iPhone 11 Pro Max will cost you $1,449). At the same time, Apple benefits from a captive audience. 这不无道理：一家以服务为核心的公司需要广泛的用户基础。但是，这也是一种微妙的平衡。如果价格跌得过低，苹果将失去其令人向往的光芒（最高型号iPhone 11 Pro Max的售价是1449美元）。同时，苹果也将受益于其忠实用户群。
Users of Google’s rival Android phones have many hardware-sellers to choose from, leading to fierce price competition. Those who prefer Apple’s ecosystem must buy iPhones. That should keep margins plump for the time being.