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iPhone 15 Pro Max price is a steal, considering Apple’s huge increase in manufacturing costs

Published Oct 17th, 2023 1:50PM EDT
iPhone 15 Pro Max Screen
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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Contrary to what we were told by rumors and leaks ahead of Apple’s iPhone launch, Apple did not increase iPhone 15 prices. As was the case last year, Apple kept the pricing structure in place in the US (with one important twist) and lowered prices in the UK and EU.

That one exception is the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which now starts at $1,199. That starting price is $100 more expensive than last year, but it’s because there’s no longer a 128GB option to sit at the $1,099 price point. Instead, Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro Max now has a minimum of 256GB, and it’s priced the same as the 256GB iPhone 14 Pro Max from last year.

Preorders then showed that consumers were hurrying to score a brand new Pro model, with the iPhone 15 Pro Max selling out within an hour. Manufacturing issues might have contributed to that, but the handset remains sold out even now, about a month later.

Now, a new report puts the iPhone 15 Pro Max price in a different perspective. It turns out the new handset is significantly costlier to manufacture. But Apple hasn’t passed on those increased costs to the consumer.

On that note, all iPhone 15 models are said to be more expensive to manufacture than their predecessors. Yet Apple kept the iPhone 14 price structure in place for one more year.

iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max retail boxes.
iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max retail boxes. Image source: Jonathan Geller, BGR

Apple does not disclose what it pays for iPhone 15 parts and assembly. But the estimates inevitably appear from third parties like Nikkei (via Apple Insider).

The iPhone 15 Pro Max cost estimate comes after a teardown from Nihon Keizai Shimbun and Fomalhaut Techno Solutions of Japan. According to the report, the iPhone 15 Pro Max costs Apple $558 to manufacture. That’s a 12% increase compared to iPhone 14 Pro Max estimates. Again, Apple has not passed on that cost to the consumer, though it did increase the starting price by eliminating the lowest storage tier.

The manufacturing cost hike is all the more noteworthy because the iPhone 14 Pro Max reportedly cost 3.7% more to build than its predecessor.

The display, titanium frame, and the A17 Pro chip are some of the more expensive parts of the iPhone 15 Pro Max compared to its predecessor. Also, the tetraprism telephoto lens, a first for the iPhone lineup, is about four times more expensive than the previous zoom camera.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max display costs 10% more than the previous version, while the A17 Pro is 27% more expensive than the A16 Bionic. The titanium-aluminum frame is 43% more expensive than the stainless steel chassis from last year.

It’s not just the iPhone 15 Pro Max that’s more expensive to manufacture. The report says the iPhone 15 Pro costs Apple $523 to produce, or 8% more than its predecessor. The iPhone 15 Plus manufacturing cost is estimated at around $442, or 10% more expensive than the previous Plus model.

Finally, the iPhone 15’s bill of materials is believed to be around $423, which is a whopping 16% more expensive than estimates from the iPhone 14. As we’ve pointed out repeatedly, the iPhone 15 is a much better proposition than its predecessor. It’s basically a repackaged iPhone 14 Pro that sells for $799 instead of $999.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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