Multiple reports have suggested that, like the mini before it, the iPhone 14 Plus is struggling in terms of sales. Now a new article from the Korean blog Naver (opens in new tab), first spotted by MacRumors (opens in new tab), outlines possible solutions Apple is reportedly considering for the release of the iPhone 15 in fall 2023.
Before we get into specifics, it’s worth outlining what plenty of observers believe to be the main problem: the limited value associated with the non-Pro iPhone 14 models that came out in 2022.
Instead, for $200 more than the Plus model, you can buy the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which not only comes with the same size display but also includes Dynamic Island, always-on display support, a 120Hz display, an extra rear camera with a far higher resolution and optical zoom, the faster A16 chipset and more.
Given Apple still released a second generation of iPhone mini long after its soft sales performance was obvious, it’s safe to assume plans are too far along for a theoretical iPhone 15 Plus to be cancelled. So what are Apple’s options to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself?
iPhone 15 Plus: Apple's options
The Naver post claims that there are three remedies that Apple is weighing up. The first is to actively reduce the differences between Pro and non-Pro iPhones, and we’ve already heard that Dynamic Island will appear across all handsets in 2023, reducing the aesthetic differences. There’s talk of the 48MP camera coming to the cheaper iPhone models, too.
The second option is a price cut for the iPhone 15 Plus. That's not something Apple would be especially happy about, but it would undoubtedly make the phone more appealing. The only problem with this is that a price cut of $100 would make the Plus model the same price as the regular iPhone, meaning that the regular model of the iPhone 15 would need a similar reduction — and that might be too much for Apple to swallow.
Finally, there’s mention of making the iPhone 15 Pro Max more premium (and, therefore, expensive) which would have the knock-on effect of making the cheaper, big-screen iPhone more appealing by comparison. This is essentially the long-running rumor of an iPhone 15 Ultra without the U-word, though the translation is a little bit ambiguous here.
iPhone 15 Plus outlook
Which route will Apple take this coming fall? It’s pure speculation, but it seems a combination of all three could jumpstart Plus sales in 2023. With a super-high-end Ultra handset pushing up prices at the flagship end, a modest $50 price cut for a product that inherits a bunch of 2022 Pro features could make all the difference.
If not, Apple may have to consider that the number of different iPhones available is becoming a problem. Perhaps it’s time to consider reducing the number of iPhones to just three per year.