iPhone 15 Leak: iPhone 15 Ultra ‘Substantial’ Build Cost Increases

For those who are not know, the iPhone 15 Ultra is anticipated to take the place of the Pro Max in Apple’s upcoming iPhone lineup. The key word in all of this is “replace.”

The Ultra was once anticipated as the fifth iPhone 15 model, a brand-new hero model showing Apple’s pinnacle of innovation. It’s a strategy that goes well with the $2000 and $6100, respectively, maximum-specified MacBook Pro and iPad Pro variants that are the company’s flagship products. The ‘Ultra’ moniker is also used for Apple’s best M1 processor.

Fears of a significant price hike subsided as additional leaks revealed that the iPhone 15 Ultra is merely a rebranding effort. Instead of the confusing X, XR, XS, and Pro Max word salad of recent years, Apple would simply replace the iPhone 15 Pro Max with the iPhone 15 Ultra. The lineup would also include the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Ultra. But wait a minute.

Leaks as of 11/14 Update Additional details regarding the elevated manufacturing expenses for the iPhone 15 Ultra have been revealed by ApplePro. The leaker told me that the revised bill of materials will cost up to $100 more.

Although it might not seem “significantly more,” it’s vital to keep in mind that this is Apple’s expense, not the purchaser’s. For instance, Nikkei Asia reported last month that Apple paid $501 for the components for the iPhone 14 Pro Max, and the device’s starting price is $1099. The statement that $1 in component costs equals $2 added to the asking price is, however, oversimplified.

According to LeaksApplePro, the A16 [iPhone 14 Pro] costs $50 more to produce than the A15 [iPhone 14 and 13]. “However, the Pro’s pricing is still unexpectedly low at $999… Strange price politics exist at Apple. That might be a $150 increase, if I had to guess (but that’s just a guess).

How Apple decides to price the iPhone 15 range worldwide is another important consideration. With the iPhone 14 series, Apple effectively raised prices for the rest of the globe, in some cases by as much as 20%, in order to subsidise costs in the US and China.

“It’s quite a common thing,” notes LeaksApplePro, “If your costs increase, you make the “compliant” market pay for the less compliant one, so everyone’s happy.”

The problem is this is unsustainable long term, making it all the more likely that the US and China will have to bear the increased costs for this generation. The silver lining? At least you still have plenty of time to save up.

11/15 Update: LeaksApplePro has contacted me with further information. The leaker highlights Apple’s next-generation A17 chip as a major factor, noting that it “will certainly be more expensive.”

This is an interesting twist because 1. The iPhone 14 Pro’s A16 was twice as expensive as the A15 used in the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14, and 2. The Economic Daily News reported in September that Apple had rejected a price increase for the chip from TSMC, its primary chip supplier.

“Originally, it was rumored in the industry that the price of TSMC would increase next year, ranging from about 6% to 9% according to the process, but later it was rumored that there was a negotiated correction, and the increase jumped from 3%, and the growth rate of the mature process was 6%,” TSMC explains. “However, the latest rumor is that Apple, a major customer, refuses to raise the price.”

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