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Apple CEO Tim Cook, introducing the iPhone 13 on Tuesday. Photo: Apple

With the iPhone 13 lineup providing only modest updates to Apple's flagship smartphone, the company may be even more reliant on promotions from wireless carriers to keep the sales momentum going.

Why it matters: Apple counts on the iPhone for a huge chunk of its own sales, while such sales are also critical to the rest of the mobile industry, including network providers and component suppliers.

Our thought bubble: Apple is the largest stock in the S&P 500, so its performance — which is up 14% year to date — has an outsized impact on any indexed portfolio.

Driving the news: Apple on Tuesday unveiled the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max — all updates to similar-size models from last year's line.

  • A sleeper hit among the updates could be a larger battery, which addresses one of the biggest issues facing modern smartphone owners: a phone that does everything they want but still struggles to get through a full day of heavy use.

The big picture: Subsidies, which had been on the wane, have increased over the last couple of years and have played a big part in keeping iPhone sales strong throughout the pandemic.

  • Apple talked about carrier trade-in discounts as a part of its pitch for the iPhone 13.
  • AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile have already announced a range of deals, including up to $800 off the iPhone 13 and up to $1,000 off the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Sep 13, 2021 - Technology

Epic may not benefit from Apple's App Store changes

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

"Fortnite" creator Epic Games' Apple lawsuit failed to level the walls of the App Store, though it did leave some cracks in Apple's fortress.

Yes, but: The modest changes Apple now has to make are more likely to benefit other iOS developers than to help Epic itself, unless the game-maker backs down from an all-or-nothing approach.

Pelosi's back-to-school math problem

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) may need votes from an unlikely source — the Republican Party — if she hopes to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill by next Monday, as she's promised Democratic centrists.

Why it matters: With at least 20 progressives threatening to vote against the $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill, centrist members are banking on more than 10 Republicans to approve the bill.

By the numbers: Haitian emigration

Expand chart
Data: CBP; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The number of Haitians crossing the U.S.-Mexico border had been rising even before their country's president was assassinated in July and the island was struck by an earthquake a month later.

Why it matters: A spike during the past few weeks — leaving thousands waiting in a makeshift camp under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas — has prompted a crackdown and deportations by the Biden administration.