Now that Apple’s big Vision Pro event is behind us, we can focus on the company’s next big thing, which happens to be the iPhone 15 series launching this September. We’re about three months away from the actual reveal, but strangely enough, we’re in the same place we were a year ago regarding iPhone rumors. The iPhone 15 Pro is rumored to be more expensive than its predecessor, which is a familiar refrain. But this time, it might actually happen.
Throughout the iPhone 14 rumors season, we heard the same thing over and over: The price of the iPhone 14 Pro will exceed the $999 price tag that Apple reserved for the cheaper iPhone Pro model in previous years.
I explained at the time repeatedly that the price increase expectations made sense. Not only would the iPhone 14 Pro deliver better hardware than its predecessor, but Apple would also have to deal with the increased costs of manufacturing goods amid rampant inflation.
What ultimately happened was shocking, at least for the US market. Apple retained the iPhone 13’s price structure, except for the iPhone 14 Plus, which didn’t have a predecessor. Prices went up in international markets, however.
As a result of the differentiation between the base models and the Pros, the latter were the most sought after, despite price increases. This helped Apple increase the iPhone’s average selling price (ASP), even as the company struggled to manufacture enough iPhone 14 Pro units to meet demand.
Fast-forward to mid-June 2023, and we hear the same kind of chatter around the iPhone 15 series. The iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max should be more expensive than their predecessors. Analyst Dan Ives told CNBC that he expects Apple to continue to raise the iPhone ASP with the iPhone 15 series. The only way to do that is to increase the prices of the upcoming models.
The most logical price increase for the iPhone 15 Pros would be a $100 bump in the US. That’s what we expected last year. But what if the iPhone 15 Pro is $200 more expensive than the iPhone 14 Pro? We’d be looking at the most significant price hike for Pro models in years. The iPhone 15 Pro Max would start at $1,299 in such a case. Such a significant move should lead to additional price hikes in international markets.
Still, there’s no reason to panic. Remember that Apple will continue to differentiate the non-Pros from the Pros. Especially the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which will be the only phone in the series to feature a periscope zoom camera. The more money you spend, the better the iPhone you get.
Also, that means the iPhone 15 will essentially be a version of the iPhone 14 Pro. It’ll feature the same Dynamic Island notch design and the same powerful chip. On top of that, the phone is getting USB-C connectivity, just like the Pro models.
A price hike for the Pro handsets doesn’t mean the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus will see similar cost changes. Apple could keep prices in place for the non-Pro models to increase demand. I explained we’d reached a place where I’d be happy with a non-Pro iPhone. Priced correctly, the base iPhone 15 could become a huge seller. That’s all speculation on my part, however.
Also, remember that carriers are dying to make the iPhone affordable for as many people as possible. You’ll probably be able to upgrade for free to the iPhone 15/Plus. The Pros should see considerable carrier discounts as well.
Back to Ives, the analyst is bullish on Apple, expecting a monster upgrade cycle. Some 250 million iPhones have not been upgraded in four years, and the iPhone 15 could become a big money maker for Apple, “a trophy case moment.”
Furthermore, Ives sees Apple’s valuation increase to $4 trillion in the next 18 to 24 months. Apple Services will also see a big boost, according to the analyst.
As for the reason why is raising iPhone 15 prices, they haven’t changed from last year. The economy might pressure Apple to raise prices, as some components will be more expensive. That would be especially true for the next-gen A17 chip that will power the iPhone 15 Pro models.
That said, there’s always a chance that Apple might surprise iPhone fans with lower-than-expected prices for the iPhone 15 Pro prices. But it sure looks like price hikes are inevitable this year.