According to tech journalist Mark Gurman from Bloomberg, Apple is considering launching a new premium iPhone model to complement its existing Pro and Pro Max offerings. This could potentially be released in 2024 and would be part of the iPhone 16 series or later.
In September 2022, Gurman had reported that Apple might rename the iPhone Pro Max to “Ultra”, following the naming scheme of the Apple Watch Ultra and M1 Ultra. However, his latest report suggests that instead of renaming the Pro Max, Apple may introduce the “Ultra” as a separate, more expensive high-end model, in addition to the Pro and Pro Max.
The most expensive iPhone model currently available is the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which starts at a price of $1,099 and goes up to $1,600 for the 1 terabyte storage option. According to Gurman, Apple CEO Tim Cook is optimistic about consumers being willing to pay more for a premium device, as the iPhone has become an essential part of their daily lives.
Gurman quoted Cook as reportedly saying on an earnings call: “I think people are willing to really stretch to get the best they can afford in that category,” noting that the iPhone has become “integral” to people’s lives. The Apple CEO reportedly observed that consumers now use their iPhones to make payments, control smart-home appliances, manage their health, and store banking data.
In order to convince consumers to upgrade, the new high-end model will likely offer improved cameras, faster processing, and possibly a larger display. There is also a chance that the device will be completely portless, as Apple plans to introduce solid-state haptic volume buttons in the iPhone 15 lineup.
Gurman has suggested that the iPhone 15 lineup will feature a range of materials, CPUs, and cameras to differentiate the product tiers. He added that the Pro Max variant of the iPhone 15 will feature a periscope lens for better optical zoom.