As the highest-valued company in the world with a market cap of $2.5 trillion, Apple (AAPL -1.22%) regularly makes headlines. However, public scrutiny often increases around September, when Apple regularly announces its updated lineup of iPhones and other products. 

This year has been no different as analysts attempt to gauge the success of 2022's iPhone 14 series. The launch has had highs and lows, with the costlier models seemingly outselling the base versions for the first time in years. 

Regardless of what might play out with Apple's latest iPhones, the company has consistently proven its resiliency in the market -- and that the MacBook manufacturer is an asset to any portfolio looking for long-term gains. 

Combating stagnation 

As smartphone technology advances, devices are becoming more powerful every year, offering more storage and longer battery life. As a result, tech companies are having an increasingly difficult time convincing consumers that a yearly upgrade is necessary. Apple has remained chiefly unscathed by smartphone stagnation as its ecosystem of interconnected products keeps consumers returning to the iPhone. However, its newest lineup of smartphones is the company's biggest push to stave off the phenomenon.  

On Sept. 7, Apple unveiled its 2022 lineup of smartphones, including a base model iPhone 14, a larger Plus version, the 14 Pro, and the 14 Pro Max. The smartphones saw Apple widen the gap between the base versions and Pros, pushing consumers toward the more expensive options. For instance, the Pro models received a 48-megapixel camera, up from 12 the previous year, a software update that integrates the camera cut-out into a helpful user interface tool called Dynamic Island, a faster A16 Bionic chip, and a new always-on display feature. 

Meanwhile, the iPhone 14 saw marginal improvements on 2021's 13, primarily including one extra core in its A15 Bionic chip, an extra hour of battery life, and satellite connectivity in the case of emergencies. As a result, consumers have flocked to the Pro models, with Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reporting that 85% of iPhone 14 orders have opted for the Pro models.

However, not all headlines have been rosy concerning the costlier Pro models. Some users have experienced an issue that makes the rear-facing camera physically shake in third-party apps. Bloomberg reported on Sept. 19 that Apple would release an update to resolve the problem next week, but it remains to be seen whether it is a software or hardware issue. The company's stock doesn't seem to be affected by the reports so far, but Apple will be working hard to resolve the problem through a software update as a hardware issue would be costly. 

A winning business model

Apple's current strategy of pushing consumers toward its Pro models is excellent if it succeeds; however, it does pose some risks. In the second quarter of 2022, Apple sold about 37% more of the base model iPhone 13 and 13 Mini than the two Pro versions in the lineup. The difference is not uncommon, as the iPhone 11 also sold about 80% more than the Pro versions in the first half of 2020. Judging by previous years, the current iPhone 14 Pro models will need to sell significantly more than previous years to make up for the loss of base model sales. 

Despite a slightly questionable iPhone launch, Apple remains a company investors can count on. Its powerful ecosystem of products means that even in the case of poor iPhone sales, the company is likely to continue pulling revenue in from alternate sources. Apple's walled garden of products makes it easy to draw consumers in with just one product. For instance, iPhone users who upgrade their smartphones every three years are still likely to turn to products such as the MacBook or AirPods to fill other needs because of their connectivity with the iPhone.

That's also before mentioning Apple's Services business that includes monthly subscriptions for video streaming, music, a fitness platform, cloud storage, and more. The booming segment saw year-over-year revenue rise 12% in the third quarter of 2022, hitting $19.8 billion, and has become the company's second-biggest revenue stream after the iPhone.

So is Apple's stock a buy?

As one of the most innovative companies in the world, Apple is one of the top stocks to invest in for the long term. In 2022, tech stocks have suffered considerably on the back of inflation rises and declines in consumer demand. The effects are evident in the Nasdaq 100 Technology Sector index's decline of 36% since January. However, Apple's more modest fall of 15% in the same time frame proves its stability and resiliency under strenuous conditions. 

September has been a busy month for Apple with a slightly chaotic iPhone launch, but the company remains a safe buy for investors in it for the long haul.