An iPhone 14 Pro currently costs $999, which makes it a pricey device, but there have been rumors that the iPhone 15 Pro could set you back even more. Around $100 more, according to analysts, which would mean you could end up paying at least $1,099 for an iPhone 15 Pro and $1,199 for an iPhone 15 Pro Max.
Needless to say, price increases are never a good thing, especially when you’re talking about products that are already rather expensive. Word is that the iPhone 15 Pro range will come with a great many upgrades, like the A17 Bionic chipset, solid-state buttons (maybe), a periscope camera, and potentially even a titanium chassis.
Unfortunately, it seems those upgrades will come with a very real price, with analysts blaming the improvements for this rumored price hike. But as much as Apple might try to justify increasing prices in this way, it’s still a bad idea. Here’s why.
Things still aren't great, economically
The current economic situation and the rise in the cost of living mean a lot more people are having trouble making ends meet. If you’re struggling to afford groceries or rent, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a way to spend several hundred dollars on a new phone.
Say you do need a new phone and have your heart set on an iPhone. The last thing you want is for the prices to rise. That’s especially true of the entry-level models, but this logic also applies to the Pro lineup as well. The more expensive your product, the less inclined people are going to be to buy one.
That extra $100 could be better spent on paying for rent or gasoline, rather than fanciful features like Wi-Fi 6E support or improved optical zoom capabilities. Especially if you’re not particularly technologically inclined.
Thankfully, there's been no word on price changes for the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus thus far. Having to spend more for the base models would be an even more painful announcement, since most rumors point toward the good upgrades going to the iPhone 15 Pro — with the standard model seemingly being neglected for another year.
The last thing we need is all the best new features being locked behind an even steeper paywall.
Apple doesn't have a solid low-cost iPhone
When Apple launched the iPhone SE 2022 last year, the phone didn’t have as many upgrades as people hoped. It retained the same iPhone 8-like form factor as the iPhone SE 2020. In fact, the only major difference was the inclusion of the A15 Bionic, rather than A13, and 5G connectivity.
Recently rumors claimed that the iPhone SE 4 won’t be arriving until 2025 at the earliest, which would put the launch at least two years away. Noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also recanted a previous claim, which suggested the next iPhone SE could be based on the iPhone 14. Apparently, that device was simply a prototype for testing Apple’s in-house 5G modem.
While the iPhone SE 2022 offered a great deal for just $429, there’s no denying the fact that it’s still rather dated. Not only in terms of much of the internal hardware but also in the way it looks. The iPhone 8 launched in 2017, after all, and was the last flagship iPhone to lack a full-screen display — a feature now common to phones across the premium, mid-range and budget segments.
Apple may not be a company you typically associate with “budget” devices. Still, unless it can offer a more modernized device for a lower price tag, any increase to the flagship line-up’s price just feels like an insult.
Blame the iPhone X...and Samsung
While flagship phones were never what you’d call cheap, there have been some considerable price hikes over the past several years. The iPhone X was the first iPhone to cost more than $1,000, and plenty of other phone makers have followed suit.
Samsung in particular seems to be willing to test the limits of shoppers' budgets. The Galaxy S23 Ultra costs a whopping $1,199, so Apple could very well match this price with the iPhone 15 Pro Max this year.
While it’s easy to claim that people don’t like paying so much for their phones, the numbers don’t really paint the same picture. Sure we may grumble about having to fork out almost a grand for a new phone, especially those of us that remember when the iPhone 4 cost less than $600, but people are still buying them — especially from Apple.
Last year iPhone sales accounted for 52 percent of the company’s revenue, and Apple was very open about its struggle to keep its Pro models in stock during the latter part of the year. It was clear that demand was far outstripping that for the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus.
Will a $100 price hike for the iPhone 15 Pro reduce that demand? There’s no way of knowing at this stage. But no matter what people will pay, or how justified Apple may claim this kind of price increase will be, it still stings to think about a phone pushing over the $1,000 barrier once again.
Bottom line: Price hikes suck, but feel inevitable
Honestly, it’s only a matter of time before iPhone prices go up again. There were a lot of rumors that the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max would cost $100 more than they did. We may get some respite for another year, particularly after Samsung failed to follow through with rumors of a similar $100 price hike, but we can’t expect the change to be deferred forever.
Apple is a big company, and the iPhone is its cash cow. So long as people are buying, Apple will continue to milk the line-up for every last cent. And it won’t let inflation, and rising production costs eat into its profit margins for too long.