09/09 Update below. This post was originally published on September 7
Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are getting more expensive, and now we may know exactly why.
According to a new report by Digitimes, the “[iPhone 15] Pro series is likely to suffer from a major price hike because of the chassis upgrades from stainless steel to titanium and the periscope lens upgrade, which is only for the Pro Max, for performing 5-6x optical zoom.”
In previous reports, titanium has been cited as a big cost increase for Apple, but with claims that the iPhone 15 Pro would not jump in price, it appeared this wouldn’t be passed on to end users. Throw in the cost of Apple’s first 10x optical zoom camera, and this aligns with claims that the iPhone 15 Pro Max could rise by as much as $200, becoming the most expensive iPhone ever released.
As such, the iPhone 15 lineup could well be priced as follows:
- iPhone 15: starting from $799 (unchanged)
- iPhone 15 Plus: starting from $899 (unchanged)
- iPhone 15 Pro: starting from $1,099 ($100 increase)
- iPhone 15 Pro Max: starting from $1,299 ($200 increase)
Speculation has mounted that elements such as the titanium chassis, which, while stronger and lighter than stainless steel, is not essential to the phone and is being integrated specifically because Apple wants to widen the gap between its Pro and non-Pro iPhones.
Why? For most of the iPhone 14’s lifecycle, sales of the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max raced ahead of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus. This is because the iPhone 14 Plus costs just $100 less than the iPhone 14 Pro, a difference that becomes insignificant over an average two-year carrier contract.
Since Apple has similar profit margins across all iPhone models, it would prefer to even out demand to benefit its supply chain. With the new prices, an iPhone 15 Pro will cost $300 more than an iPhone 15, and the iPhone 15 Pro Max will cost $400 more than the iPhone 14 Plus.
Even spread across a long carrier contract, these figures will be enough of a difference to make upgraders think twice. At the same time, Apple can increase the average selling price of its iPhones from the Pro increases, just as the rest of the smartphone market is suffering its largest-ever decline.
So what are the differences, and are they worth paying for? You’ll have to wait for reviews to answer the second part of this question, but as has become custom in recent years, the standard iPhone 15 models will essentially be new versions of the iPhone 14 Pro for lower prices. That means an A16 chip, Dynamic Island design, and a 48-megapixel camera.
In contrast, Apple is going all out with the iPhone 15 Pros: record-breaking bezels, new chassis material, Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, the first 3nm smartphone chip in the A17 and the Pro Max’s aforementioned periscopic zoom camera. Battery life should also get a big boost.
Yes, it’s the perfect Apple trap: the range’s starting prices are reasonable, but spend more and you’ll get a lot more…
09/09 Update: Another prominent industry figure has added his voice to the claims Apple will introduce higher prices for the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.
In an investor note seen by MacRumors, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives claims that the iPhone 15 Pro will start from $1,099, with the iPhone 15 Pro Max coming in at $1,199. Both prices represent a $100 increase compared to their predecessors.
Ives also says that prices for the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will be unchanged, coming in at $799 and $899, respectively. This aligns with previous leaks.
While upgraders eyeing up the iPhone 15 Pro models will no doubt be disappointed at the news of price increases, the writing has been on the wall for some time. Moreover, Ives’ pricing is on the lower end of the scale, given that several insiders have tipped a $200 price increase for the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
If Ives is right, I’d argue Apple’s new prices are potentially problematic. A $100 increase is unlikely to tempt most upgraders to plump for a standard iPhone 15 model, and the periscope zoom camera exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro Max is likely to make it by far the most popular option when the model is facing shipping delays.
My advice: if you want an iPhone 15 Pro Max, pre-order ASAP, or you could be in for a long wait.
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