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iPhone 15 Pro 'major price hike' now looks like a lock — here's why

 iPhone 15 Pro render showing cameras and display
iPhone 15 Pro render showing cameras and display

With roughly a week until we’ll get our first likely look at the new iPhone 15 lineup, one of the biggest unknowns relates to how big the iPhone 15 Pro’s price could be. We’ve heard countless rumors indicating that Apple’s most premium iPhones will get a price increase, so don’t be surprised if that rumored $100 price increase turns out true.

However, the latest rumor mill hints that we could see a “major price hike” with the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. DigiTimes’ senior analyst  Luke Lin hints at this eventuality mainly due to softening demand for smartphones and rising component costs. These factors could force the iPhone 15 Pro Max to surge up to as much as $1,299, making it Apple’s most expensive iPhone to date.

With Apple's September 12 event now official, it’ll only be a matter of time before we know how much the new phones will cost. And the higher price could stem from some of the rumored features that make the iPhone 15 Pro models so desirable.

Premium features come at a cost

iPhone 15 Pro renders
iPhone 15 Pro renders

Apple’s made it clear that there’s been a divide within its iPhone lineup. Its Pro models have typically been given premium features to warrant higher prices, and it should be no different this time.

What is different is that the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max are tipped to receive big upgrades to warrant their expected price increases. The titanium alloy frame that’s been rumored to grace the iPhone 15 Pro lineup appears to be one of the culprits behind the expected price increase.

Titanium is stronger and more durable than stainless steel; considering how this rare earth metal is widely used in industries like the aerospace industry, it doesn't come cheap. Even though the stainless steel-clad iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max could withstand drops, the other benefit of going with a titanium alloy frame is shaving off more weight.

Sure, titanium might not have a dramatic impact on the phone's weight, but it could offset other materials rumored to come in the iPhone 15 Pro lineup. Take, for instance, the potential of boosting battery life by using “stacked batteries” that are more dense.

Whether Apple decides to call its premium device the iPhone 15 Pro Max or iPhone 15 Ultra, a periscope telephoto camera capable of up to 10x zoom is also a premium feature that should increase its price higher than its sibling. In fact, it’s possible that this model could cost upward of $1,299 — while the iPhone 15 Pro could go as high as $1,199.

Softer global demand, offset by higher cost

Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max showing preorders.
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max showing preorders.

Another interesting tidbit that could be driving the iPhone 15 Pro prices higher is current demand for smartphones. The iPhone 14 Pro Max is the most shipped smartphone in the first half of 2023, but the softening demand projected for the second half of 2023 could also impact Apple’s bottom line.

Apple has ordered 80 to 90 million iPhone units for this time period, according to Lin. Not surprisingly, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is leading the way, followed by the iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus.

To recover missed revenue from iPhone sales, Apple could boost prices for the iPhone 15 Pro models. Weakening demand simply means fewer sales opportunities, so Apple could offset this by boosting the price of its premium models.

Bigger phones, more material cost

Smartphone display refresh rate shown off on Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Smartphone display refresh rate shown off on Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Apple has kept the sizes of its Pro models at 6.1-inches and 6.7-inches, respectively, for the last few generations, but other rumors claim that we’ll see display sizes of 6.3-inches and 6.9-inches. Obviously, these larger sized models would inherently cost more from a material point of view.

Bigger phones mean more materials for their chassis, frame, display, and more. These all would add up and contribute to higher prices that Apple might pass on to customers. It’s not something we’d like to say, but that’s just the reality.

All of these reasons could be enough to justify higher prices for the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max / 15 Ultra. The most recent smartphone shipment report does reveal that consumers aren’t afraid to pay more for smartphones, which is evident in how the iPhone 14 Pro Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra all fell in the top 10 most shipped phones for the first half of 2023.

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