01/31 Update below. This post was originally published on January 28.
Apple surprised iPhone fans last year with the degree of differentiation between the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models. Now, a new leak has revealed that the gap between them will grow even wider with the iPhone 15 lineup.
Working with the Apple leaker Unknownz21MacRumors has Revealed multiple specifications and design differences between the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro models, including information from leaked internal Apple documents. Unknownz21 has a remarkable track record, once getting a previous version of iOS 14 months before launch.
The latest information from the leaker is unlikely to go down well with iPhone buyers on a budget. MacRumors claims that the documents it obtained “confirm” that Apple’s new 3nm A17 chipset will be exclusive to iPhone 15 Pro models, as will a redesigned chassis with Solid state power and volume buttons. Even the connectivity of phones will be different, with Wi-Fi 6E reserved for professionals, something previous leaks had not distinguished.
For this last point, given its unprecedented nature (for example, all iPhone 14 models used Wi-Fi 6), Unknownz21 made the documentation public. He also called this “the tip of the iceberg,” with additional leaks, including full images, ahead of the range’s EVT (Engineering Validation Test) stage, which begins in March.
Considering that various leaks have already told us that the iPhone 15 Pro models will once again have superior cameras and exclusive ProMotion displays, there is hardly anywhere where the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus have parity with their pricier siblings.
01/30 update: more news has emerged about Apple’s iPhone 2023 plans, or rather what will no longer happen. Noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has revised his prediction that a foldable iPhone will arrive in 2023, stating that Apple has shifted its focus to prioritize a foldable iPad instead.
Kuo says Apple is making a foldable iPad with a carbon fiber stand, making it lighter and more durable. He even reveals that Apple has a supplier for this part, Anje Technology. Kuo explains that a 2024 launch is more likely, but he is “positive” about this timeframe and the device’s ability to “increase shipments and improve product mix.”
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman previously reported that Apple is working on a foldable iPad design with the bottom half of the foldable iPad functioning as a keyboard when typing. Gurman predicted a launch wouldn’t be until 2026, putting two industry heavyweights in opposition. Apple fans will hope Kuo is right.
01/31 Update: Ming-Chi Kuo has revealed more information about Apple’s future iPhone plans. The prominent analyst state that the iPhone 15 Pro Max (potentially ‘Ultra’) will be the only iPhone 15 model to have a periscope camera, functionality that enables higher levels of optical zoom.
This backs up his previous leaks, but the main news is that Kuo claims this won’t be part of a larger transition for the iPhone range to periscope cameras, at least for several years:
“As previously predicted, the highest-end model of the new iPhone 15 2H23 model (15 Pro Max or 15 Ultra) will adopt the periscope camera. The market expected that adding periscope cameras to more iPhone models would boost demand for lens upgrades in 2023-2024. But my latest survey indicates that only one or the highest-end new iPhone 16 model in 2H24 will have the periscope camera, not the two models the market expected.”
This will come as a shock to iPhone fans, given the widespread adoption of periscope cameras on rival flagship smartphones. Furthermore, it suggests that Apple is looking to extend feature differentiation even into iPhone Pro models.
Yes, longer battery life has always been a benefit of the iPhone Pro Max, but that comes down to physical size rather than Apple’s desire to make the iPhone Pro inferior. However, periscope cameras do not require a Pro Max size chassis. Creating deliberate feature differentiation (that isn’t a result of physical size) isn’t a line Apple has previously crossed with the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro ranges.
In fact, the last time Apple tried this was with the dual-versus-single rear camera setup of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus in 2017. Although in this incarnation of the iPhone, the Plus was the equivalent of current Pro models.
Apple is traditionally the master of product segmentation, but this is a risk. Especially coupled with global price increases, the company is expected to introduce the iPhone 15 lineup later this year.
Apple is taking a big risk here. iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus sales have been disappointing, and buyers choose to spread the higher cost of Pro models over carrier contracts for the clear benefits they provide. So widening that gap is unlikely to give the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus a sales boost.
According to the leaks, Apple’s solution is a classic carrot-and-stick strategy. The carrot is that Apple is supposedly bringing the Dynamic Island design to the standard models. the stick is higher iPhone 15 Pro prices. Whether the gamble is worth it, only time will tell.
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