Until 2020, Apple was very selective with its user base. They only sold expensive flagship phones. Eventually, it became clear that making hardware profits from a smartphone business is not sustainable long-term.
The sales of phones every year have been going down. People now keep their phones for over three years on average. This is a subsequent result of all smartphone upgrades nowadays being very iterative. Companies like to play it safe.
To obtain a higher profit margin, Apple had to change tactics. They began with the iPhone SE and discounted the previous year’s iPhone 11. The 12 Mini and 12 were launched and targeted at an average audience.
To people willing to spend more money, they still had the Pro lineup of iPhones. The differences between the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro were minor except for one extra telephoto camera.
Apple’s strategy with the Mini iPhone didn’t perform as well as they thought it would. The 12 Mini and its successor, the 13 Mini, sold very few units and only appealed to a niche user base.
Apple’s idea of getting more iPhones into people’s hands by launching multiple phones at multiple price points seems to work pretty well. They now make good profit margins from software-based services like iCloud, Apple Music, etc.
Things started to go wrong with the iPhone 14 series. The 14 Pro was so significantly ahead of the 14 Plus that most people spent the extra 100 USD for the Pro iPhone. In this article, we’ll try to analyze the upcoming iPhone 15 lineup prices and what strategies Apple might use to maximize profits.
August 22: Apple’s upcoming iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models are expected to see a price increase of at least 100 USD compared to their iPhone 14 Pro predecessors, according to a new report from DigiTimes. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max currently start at 999 USD and 1,099 USD, respectively. But based on DigiTimes’ forecast, the iPhone 15 Pro could be priced between 1,099-1,199 USD, while the iPhone 15 Pro Max could range from 1,199- 1,299 USD.
Other sources previously suggested this potential price hike. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported Apple was considering raising prices for the iPhone 15 Pro models. Analyst Jeff Pu also said the iPhone 15 Pro series may cost more than the iPhone 14 Pro series. So there are multiple indications Apple may position the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max at a new higher pricing tier than the current models.
July 27: Barclays analyst Tim Long (Via Apple Hub) has predicted that the iPhone 15 lineup will start at 799 USD for the Vanilla iPhone 15, 899 USD for the iPhone 15 Plus, and up to 1,099 USD for the iPhone 15 Pro. The iPhone 15 Pro Max could be priced up to 1,299 USD, with a possible 100-200 USD increase over the current model.
Existing iPhone lineup pricing
For simplicity, we’re only considering the US prices here. Prices in the EU, UK, India, etc., are wildly different and significantly higher.
The iPhone 14 started at 799 USD in the US, the same price as the 13 launched in 2021. Instead of a cheaper 699 USD 14 Mini, Apple launched a more expensive but bigger iPhone 14 Plus for 899 USD.
The iPhone 13 Mini is sold at 599 USD, along with the iPhone 12, which is also sold at 599 USD. The 6.1″ iPhone 13 sells for 100 USD lower than the new iPhone 14, at 699 USD. A significant reason why the regular 14 won’t sell well is the fact that it’s nearly identical to the 13 except for the primary sensor and front camera.
They moved from selling a smaller iPhone to a bigger vanilla iPhone. Since the Mini didn’t perform well in sales volume, Apple assumed that people just wanted bigger phones. The primary reason for that is the Pro models.
The 14 Pros had a much larger 48MP 1/1.28″ primary sensor. The wide-angle lens was also far superior. The displays were several generations better on the Pro models thanks to 2000 Nits of max brightness and a 120Hz LTPO 2.0 screen.
Since Apple made the Pro Model much more appealing than the Plus, it’s evident that the Plus didn’t perform as well as expected. There’s also a chance that the iPhone 14 Plus only exists as a placeholder phone meant to boost the sales of the 14 Plus.
By creating a practical pricing ladder, Apple convinces you to spend more money and get the more expensive models. That’s what seems to be happening with the iPhone 14 series.
2023’s iPhone 15 Pro & 15 Ultra May Launch at Higher Price
|Price in the US (Expected)
|iPhone 15 Pro
|iPhone 15 Ultra
According to the latest rumors, the Pro lineup in 2023 has massive upgrades. We’ve heard stories of a titanium frame, active cooling, 3nm TSMC chips, periscope zoom, etc. That’s a more considerable upgrade than the 14 Pro was to the 13 Pro.
The iPhone 15 series is rumored to feature more power-efficient OLED displays. The new display driver chip will be manufactured using a 28nm process to reduce power consumption. In comparison, the current model’s OLED displays are based on a 40nm process. This suggests iPhone 15 lineup will have a longer battery life.
The iPhone 15 lineup will pack significantly larger batteries than the iPhone 14 lineup. According to the rumors, the iPhone 15 will have a 3,877 mAh battery, the iPhone 15 Plus will have a 4,912 mAh battery, the iPhone 15 Pro will have a 3,650 mAh battery, and the iPhone 15 Pro Max will have a 4,852 mAh battery.
Owing to some meaningful hardware upgrades, we might see the Pro models shoot up in price. The 15 Pro might see a 100 USD bump to 1099 USD, and the iPhone 15 Ultra (Pro Max) might be priced at 1299 USD.
Instead of calling the best and biggest flagship iPhone the “Pro Max,” Apple might call it the iPhone 15 Ultra to create marketing hype around a changed name.
Expensive components in the upcoming iPhone 15 Lineup
The 15 Pro models are rumored to use Sony’s newer and more expensive sensors. They bring in more saturation signals in each Pixel. Under or overexposure will be avoided as a result. This is thanks to new technology separating photodiodes and transistors into separate brackets, drastically improving dynamic range.
Periscope zoom, titanium chassis, and the new primary sensor aside, the 15 Pro will ship with TSMC’s latest state-of-the-art 3nm A17 Bionic SOC that’ll be hyper-efficient and extremely powerful.
Using smaller transistors means cramming several more into the same space, improving the performance. All these components are costly to manufacture, so Apple might increase the prices of the Pro and the “Ultra” to sustain profit margins.
The iPhone 15 Pro will reportedly feature solid-state buttons. Solid-state buttons don’t require any physical movement. As per the report, the iPhone 15 Pro display will have ultra-thin bezels of size 1.55mm. This is smaller than the 2.1mm bezels seen on last year’s iPhone 14 Pro.
2023’s iPhone 15 and 15 Plus May Launch at Lower Price
|Price in the US (Expected)
|iPhone 15 Plus
Several reports claim that Apple’s expectations for the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus sales were not met. This is because the 14 offered nothing significant versus the 13, and the Plus was priced too close to the Pro.
For 100 USD more, you got 3X zoom, 120Hz, the dynamic island design, better materials, a new 4nm A16 SOC, ProRAW & ProRes Video, better cameras, Macro Mode, etc. It wasn’t at all worth considering the Plus over the Pro.
Many seem to agree. Statistics reflect decent demand for the Pro iPhones but comparatively worse demand for the Plus and Vanilla models. Since the sales of vanilla iPhones are declining, and not everyone can get the flagship models, Apple needs to do something so that people don’t move to competitors who offer much better value.
Which models will have a price cut?
Apple will probably drop the price of the iPhone 13 to 599 USD, and they might keep the Mini around 499 USD. The 14 will drop to 699 USD or just be discontinued. If there’s at least a 50 USD price cut, then the 15 will be priced at 749 USD, and the Plus at 849 USD.
A 100 USD price cut will bring prices down to 699 USD and 799 USD. This will confuse the entire lineup since the remarkably similar 14 and 13 are for a lower price. To create a more pronounced difference, the costs of the Pro models might go higher to differentiate from the base models.
For the new discounted prices to make sense, the entire iPhone 14 lineup must be discontinued. If we take the 14 and Plus out of the equation, we’ll be left with the 13 and 599 USD and possibly the Mini at 499 USD. The SE will stick at the 429 USD price.
The iPhone 15 might launch at 50 or 100 USD cheaper, and the 15 Plus as well. If the 15 models get discounted while the 14 models are still being sold, it’ll create chaos in the lineup.
In conclusion, we could see Apple bring comparatively lower prices of the vanilla and the Plus models to increase their sales. To do this, they’ll have to properly plan out their smartphone portfolio since even the existing one looks highly cluttered.