Since 2020, Apple has released four numbered iPhones with each new generation. Yes, the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini would mutate into the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Plus by 2022, but four handsets with two Pro models is the groove that Apple has settled into.
Could that get a shock change this year? One leaker briefly put the cat among the pigeons yesterday, by suggesting that the iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 15 Ultra could be two different handsets.
“Based on the information I was able to obtain, we could see changes in the lineup of the new iPhone 15,” wrote the tipster Majin Bu on X (the platform formerly known as Twitter).
Bu then speculated that a theoretical Ultra model could offer 2GB more RAM, “much better camera features” and up to 2TB of storage, with a starting price of $100 more than the Pro Max.
Based on the information I was able to obtain, we could see changes in the lineup of the new iPhone 15. Apple could present a version called iPhone 15 Pro Max with 6GB of RAM and storage up to 1TB and another version called 15 Ultra with 8GB of RAM, memory up to 2TB and a much… pic.twitter.com/EIr3QjhPm9September 1, 2023
As evidence for this, Bu followed up with a tweet highlighting that case makers appear to have both Pro Max and Ultra options available.
But even before the end of the second tweet, Bu appeared to be retreating from the claim. “I personally know for sure that two 6.7-inch different models have been tested, but I don't think both will actually be released,” he wrote, before backtracking even further in his replies.
And if there was any doubt remaining, the well-connected Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman was on hand to pour cold water on the idea of a mystery fifth iPhone 15.
“There’s only one new high-end 6.7 inch iPhone,” he tweeted. “No Pro Max and Ultra this year. Perhaps next year as I wrote in February.”
What’s in a name?
It does indeed seem unlikely that Apple would add an ultra-premium model to an already crowded set of iPhones. It’s far more likely that case makers are hedging their bets by producing cases labeled “Pro Max” and “Ultra” than that they have insider information about a new model.
That said, what the top-end 6.7-inch iPhone 15 will be called is still up in the air. True, the “Pro Max” moniker has been in place since 2019’s iPhone 11 Pro Max, but it’s always been a bit of a mouthful as names go.
The idea of an iPhone 15 Ultra replacing the Pro Max has been swirling around for almost a year, and if the model is the only one to feature a periscope camera lens as predicted, the new branding would be a good way of differentiating it from the iPhone 15 Pro.
In other words, it’s not a stretch for Apple to introduce the iPhone 15 Ultra in nine days’ time. Just don’t expect it to coexist with the iPhone 15 Pro Max.