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As Apple prepares to send its iPhone 15 lineup into mass production next month, a new report has surfaced suggesting that its largest flagship model could be more expensive this time around.
According to analyst Jeff Pu of Haitong International, Apple is on track to build around 84 million iPhones across the entire lineup to cover the final few months of 2023 following its expected September release. In that same note to investors, Pu also predicts that the iPhone 15 Pro Max will sell for a higher price than its predecessor due to the extra features that Apple is expected to pack in this year.
For the most part, the iPhone Pro and iPhone Pro Max have differed only in size, with the larger model offering longer battery life simply because it had room for a bigger battery. The only exception to that trend was in 2020 when the iPhone 12 Pro Max was set apart with a larger sensor and a 2.5X telephoto lens over the 2X lens in its smaller sibling. However, Apple course-corrected the following year with the iPhone 13 Pro models, which adopted the same sensor and a 3X telephoto lens on both the 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch versions — and a noticeably larger camera bump on the iPhone 13 Pro to match.
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However, this year the iPhone 15 Pro Max may pull even further ahead, with reports that it will be the only model to get a new periscope lens system this year. That will give it an even bigger lead in optical zoom capabilities, likely reaching at least 6X, while the iPhone 15 Pro retains the same 3X lens found in Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro models.
That’s likely to be the only distinction between the two, but Pu believes it may be enough to justify a higher price tag for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which could be more costly for Apple in other ways. Apple is also expected to upgrade to a new triple-stacked sensor system for the Pro cameras and a new titanium design. Higher-end features like the variable-refresh rate 120Hz always on display are also expected to remain exclusive to the Pro lineup for at least this year. However, the Dynamic Island will likely make its way down to the standard iPhone 15 models, along with the transition from Lightning to USB-C ports.
Nevertheless, it’s worth keeping in mind that we’ve heard this song from Pu before, and he doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to pricing predictions. In 2020, he predicted the entire iPhone 12 lineup would see a price increase due to the higher cost of the new 5G technology and OLED screens, with the new iPhone 12 mini priced at $749 — $50 more than the 6.1-inch iPhone 11, while he believed the standard 6.1-inch iPhone 12 would jump to $849.
In the end, Apple arguably did use the iPhone 12 mini as a way of pushing up prices for its standard models, as the 5.4-inch iPhone landed at the same $699 starting price as its 6.1-inch predecessor. However, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max sold at the same $999 and $1,099 prices that have been the norm since Apple ushered the higher tier in with the 2017 iPhone X — arguably Apple’s first “Pro” model.
While Pu has a pretty good read on what’s happening inside Apple’s supply chain, his insight on pricing comes from manufacturing costs, not sources within Apple itself. Even if Pu’s information is accurate, and the iPhone 15 Pro Max costs Apple more to produce and manufacture, that doesn’t automatically translate into a higher selling price. Apple could choose to absorb some of those extra costs to keep prices the same.
[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]