Apple fans have plenty of reasons to look forward to the launch of the iPhone 15 later this year, but they may also need to prepare for a bigger financial hit. According to the latest rumors, the iPhone 15 Pro will get a price hike for the first time since the $999 phone was introduced in 2017.
Jeff Pu of Haitong International Securities, dropped the bombshell in a research note (via MacRumors) this week. The introduction of hardware upgrades such as solid-state buttons, USB-C, a titanium frame, and a periscope lens, he reasons, will mean Apple finally has to increase the prices of its Pro iPhone following six generations in a row that started at $999, dating back to the iPhone X in 2017. Similarly, he believes the iPhone 15 Pro Max or Ultra will have a higher U.S. starting price than the $1,099 Apple has stuck to for almost as long.
Pu may or may not be right–he has a mixed record, including most recently the dwindlingly likely claim that Apple’s mixed-reality headset will launch in the first quarter of this year–but he isn’t the first to make this prediction. Late last year LeaksApplePro claimed the biggest iPhone would jump to $1,299 in 2023 and that it would be “almost impossible” to hit the $1,099 price for another year. Then in January, a similar claim was made by an unverified source on Weibo.
U.S. iPhone fans will be disappointed if this new hike rumor proves accurate, but it’s worth mentioning that they’ve had it good over the past few years. iPhone buyers in other countries have seen multiple price hikes since 2017, as Macworld’s British editors have often complained. Even taking inflation into account, iPhone prices in the U.K. went up by 50 percent from 2007 to 2021, compared to just 12 percent in the U.S.
Then again, inflation may well be one of the justifications Apple uses (not unreasonably) for the likely price rise in the U.S., along with supply-chain difficulties and currency fluctuation. Plus, more positively, the expected rebranding of the top model (in the Max size, at least) as the iPhone 15 Ultra, to tie in with the most expensive Apple Watch model. U.S. consumers may be slightly more willing to break the $1,100 mark for an iPhone 15 Ultra than they would for a mere iPhone 15 Pro Max.
Then again, price rise rumors crop up most years. We heard multiple times that the iPhone 14 handsets would see a $100 hike in the U.S., but they ended up costing the same amount at each tier as the 13-series equivalent, where one existed. It’s also unclear if the upgrades Pu mentions, specifically the titanium finish and periscope camera, will be exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro Max/Ultra model. But a price hike certainly wouldn’t be a surprise.
For all the latest news and rumors about this year’s new phones, check out our regularly updated iPhone 15 superguide.