01/10 Update below. This post was originally published on January 07
iPhone 15 prices are going up, not down, as widely expected, according to the latest leaks. In a move that is sure to shock cash-strapped Apple fans.
Writing for HowToiSolve, prolific anonymous leaker LeaksApplePro adds credence to claims last week that Apple will “aggressively” price iPhone 15 models. The big difference is that aggression was assumed to mean lower iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus pricing to reverse underwhelming sales. Instead, LeaksApplePro says Apple will simply make the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 UItra more unattainable.
Flat-edged iPhone 15 Ultra concept based on leaks
“If sales of the iPhone 14 Plus have been so bad, what does Apple plan to do with the iPhone 15 Plus so that the same thing doesn’t happen? The answer is simple: nothing,” explains the leaker. “Apple will launch the iPhone 15 Plus alongside the other 3 models, and it will be unchanged from what is already expected. The price will be the same, the size will be the same, and so on. What Apple will do is provoke more sales by raising the price of the iPhone 15 Pro.”
If correct, this move will shock iPhone fans who have already dealt with major price rises internationally, and LeaksApplePro believes these changes are now set to impact US customers as well.
“It’s something that was expected last year and that Apple decided not to do, but rising production costs, inflation and shrinking profit margins are already starting to take their toll,” the leaker adds.
01/09 Update: LeaksApplePro has contacted me to warn that iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Ultra price rises are unlikely to be limited to the US. Explaining that previous iPhone price increases internationally are “due to currency fluctuations, not because Apple decided to just make them more expensive in those countries.”
In short: Apple may not see the price increases it has made in Europe, Asia, South America and Australasia as price increases at all. This despite the strength of the US dollar pushing prices for the iPhone 14 range in those countries up by 10-20%. Consequently, a calculated price increase, as LeaksApplePro claims, would come in addition to the price adjustments for currency fluctuations.
To put this into context, there was a €170 ($182) average price increase for iPhone 14 Pro models in Europe, so a planned circa €100 ($107) increase for the iPhone 15 Pro would leave the average European buyer (who has waited two release cycles to upgrade), paying close to $300 more for an iPhone 15 Pro than an iPhone 13 Pro. Even spread over the cost of a 2-year contract, that starts to bite.
01/10 Update: Further iPhone 15 leaks have broken over the last 24 hours, and perhaps the most head-turning is news from Economic Daily News revealing that the iPhone 15 range has already entered ‘machine trial production.’
According to the report, this is being undertaken by Foxconn, Apple’s primary assembly partner, and is happening earlier than for recent iPhone generations. EDN states that this is because Apple is looking to reduce the gap between the mass production time of iPhones across China and India this year.
“In previous years, the mass production time of the two places was about six to nine months apart. Last year, it was shortened to two months, and this year it will be shortened to a few weeks,” the report claims.
Assemblers use machine trial production to introduce the device’s specific design to their supply chain and factory floor (known as ‘New Production Introduction’ or NPI), helping them to ascertain the production needs.
Given the iPhone 15 lineup will make core design and material changes — Dynamic Island for standard models, titanium chassis for Pro models and the USB-C for all models, to name but a few — it is perhaps no surprise that Foxconn wants to nail down the mass production process ahead of time.
The most interesting aspect for potential buyers is that this news also means that Apple has finalized the design and feature set for all iPhone 15 models. Moreover, once production at any scale begins, it becomes next to impossible for assemblers to stop details leaking from the factory floor and Leak Season is truly upon us.
Apple iPhone 15 Ultra is tipped to have dual front-facing cameras – concept render
If correct, it would be a ruthless way for Apple to deal with what many saw as the biggest problem with the iPhone 14 Plus: its value proposition. For just $100 more, iPhone 14 Pro buyers get higher quality build materials, a better camera system, a superior screen (with Dynamic Island), and faster performance. Spread over a 2-3 year carrier contract, the additional spend is negligible.
In many ways, this is classic Apple: fix the problem, but only on its terms. iPhone 14 Plus models were not overpriced, iPhone 14 Pro models were underpriced. It also aligns with the company’s broader strategy of making Pro versions of its iPad, MacBook and Mac significantly more expensive than standard models.
The result is pricing that would create a $300 price gap between the same size of Pro and non-Pro models:
Given the lock-in of Apple’s ecosystem and the rumors of eye-opening upgrades for the iPhone 15 Ultra (including a titanium chassis and dual front cameras), the appeal of the range as a whole should hold. Moreover, many would argue that only Apple could solve a sales problem by increasing prices.
Well played, Apple. Well played.
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