The unofficial kickoff to the tech gadget buying season opened Wednesday when Apple unveiled a suite of new products at a press event, highlighted by the largest iPhones ever released.

Gene Munster, an analyst and investor with Loup Ventures, said the annual presentation was a huge deal because 1 in 6 citizens of the world use Apple products, "and when there's an update to a product line, people really pay attention."

Apple unveiled three new iPhones and an update to the Apple Watch. 

Dsc09195
New iPhone XS Max on display at Apple's launch event
Jefferson Graham

The company is forecast to sell 220 million iPhones in 2018, which is flat compared to last year, but Apple has successfully raised unit prices without consumer backlash. Last year's iPhone X had been Apple's priciest ever, starting at $999. But this year, the successor model, iPhone XS Max, with a 6.5-inch OLED screen, starts at $1,099, but fully loaded maxes out at $1,449.   

Apple also introduced two other models, the iPhone XS, which is an update to the iPhone X, with more power, and a lower priced, $750 6.1-inch model, the iPhone XR. 

Apple says 1.3 billion people have purchased the iPhone since 2007, but Google’s Android system has a larger market share, 85 percent worldwide, according to researcher IDC, due to many lower-priced models being available.

In the U.S., according to researcher eMarketer, Apple's market share is 45 percent, compared to 53 percent for Android.

Follow USA TODAY's Jefferson Graham (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.