The iPhone 14 will be even more expensive than its predecessor, at least according to a new report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. If he’s to be believed, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will both be more expensive than their predecessors.
But the addition of a new iPhone 14 Max this year means there are some important details to keep in mind.
The impact of an iPhone 14 price hike
You can’t blame Apple for at least considering raising prices on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max; quite a bit has changed since the $999/$1099 pricing structure was set with the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. Inflation and supply shortages have pushed component prices higher than ever, and of course there’s that whole pandemic thing.
Those economic headwinds aren’t just affecting Apple, though. Consumers are paying more for nearly everything they buy. As a result, they’re tightening up their discretionary spending.
Apple agues the iPhone is an essential product for many people. It’s a purchase that, if you have to make it, you make it. Consumers will cut spending in other areas before they go without a smartphone. As Apple’s Q3 earnings results showed, iPhone sales can be strong even amid economic concerns.
But this might not be the case when a new iPhone is announced and it’s even more expensive than its predecessor.
Those iPhone users who were considering upgrading this year might delay or scrap their plans. People switching from Android to iPhone might opt for a lower-tier iPhone or stick with an Android phone altogether. First time smartphone buyers might also opt for an Android device or lower-tier iPhone.
Will the iPhone 14 Max steal the show?
But there’s a key caveat to all of this: the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max might be more expensive, but there are two other iPhone 14 models also launching next month.
The iPhone 14 will be similar to the iPhone 13 in nearly every aspect. Apple will likely have a hard time convincing most iPhone 13, and maybe even iPhone 12, users to upgrade. The real star of the show this year? The highly-anticipated iPhone 14 Max.
This will mark the first time that Apple has sold a 6.7-inch iPhone that doesn’t carry the “Pro” branding, and my hunch is that it’s going to sell incredibly well.
For the last few years, if you wanted the biggest iPhone screen, you had to splurge for Apple’s most expensive “iPhone Pro Max” model. This meant you were paying not only for the large screen, but also more advanced display technology, upgraded camera hardware, and a more premium design.
The iPhone 14 Max changes that: you’ll be able to get a 6.7-inch iPhone for under $1,100 and without all of the baggage of the “Pro Max.” It’ll be lighter than the iPhone 14 Pro Max thanks to its use of aluminum rather than stainless steel. The camera bump won’t be as large. And again, it’ll be less than $1,100.
The iPhone 14 Max makes the 6.7-inch form factor more financially accessible, and that’s arguably something that outweighs the iPhone 14 Pro price increase.
But it’s not all bad news for iPhone 14 Pro buyers.
Good news for buyers who want true “Pro” features?
Raising the price of the iPhone 14 Pro will also allow Apple to add more truly “Pro” features. Apple reportedly has some major camera upgrades on the way this year, alongside a new design, the A16 chip inside, and even support for 8K video recording.
Similar to the iPhone X release, it’ll also mean buyers looking for the “new” design will have to spend more. The iPhone 14 Pro will ditch the notch in favor of a new pill + hole punch design, while the iPhone 14 will retain the notch for another year.
If Kuo is correct and the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are more expensive (I’m skeptical), it’ll sting for those buyers. It will also sting that the most affordable iPhone 14 will be $100 more expensive this year because the ‘mini’ is going away.
The good news is the iPhone 14 Max will also be an option this year. It might be the reason the iPhone 14 mini won’t be a thing, but Apple knows iPhone buyers and what they want better than anyone.
Apple might also boost the storage capacities of the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max to help justify that price increase. Currently, the iPhone 13 Pro starts with 128GB of storage, but there are whispers that the iPhone 14 Pro could start with 256GB.
So if Kuo’s prediction comes to fruition and the iPhone 14 Pro is more expensive:
- It’s a poorly-timed price increase given macroeconomic concerns. But…
- It only impacts “Pro” buyers. And…
- Non-Pro buyers have the new iPhone 14 Max from which to choose. Finally…
- The combination of the iPhone 14 Max and more expensive “Pro” models will increase the average selling price and please investors.
My guess on pricing:
- iPhone 14 – $799
- iPhone 14 Max: $899
- iPhone 14 Pro: $1099
- iPhone 14 Pro Max: $1199