The Apple September event is coming up very soon, and it's bound to have plenty of key moments that people talk about afterward. After all, Apple is expected to announce the new iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Pro, Apple Watch 9, Apple Watch Ultra 2 and possibly USB-C AirPods — and maybe even a new iPad mini 7.
That's a lot of products to announce during the September 12 keynote, which gets underway at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT. We'll be there to bring you all the big news with our iPhone 15 event live blog, including something you probably won't experience watching the Apple event at home.
I'm talking about the reaction to the rumored iPhone 15 Pro Max price hike, which has been tipped to cost as much as $200 more than the iPhone 14 Pro Max. For those scoring at home in a still-shaky economy, a potential starting price of $1,299 is a lot of money.
Let me give you a very recent example. When Apple unveiled the Apple Vision Pro at its WWDC 2023 event in June, the attendees seemed generally excited and impressed by most of what the spatial computer can do. But there was an audible gasp in the crowd when Apple revealed that the Vision Pro will cost a whopping $3,500.
This reaction is not something you heard on the live stream of Apple's event, because those were not in attendance merely saw Apple's pre-recorded videos. And I'm guessing the same thing will happen when Apple CEO Tim Cook (or maybe Senior VP Greg Joswiak) reveals the iPhone 15 prices.
iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max: Why the rumored price hike?
However, we've heard that the iPhone 15 Pro could get a $100 price hike and that the iPhone 15 Pro Max could be $200 more expensive. For starters, both new iPhone 15 Pro models are tipped to feature a stronger and lighter titanium design. And titanium is pricier than the stainless steel used on previous Pro iPhones.
Another notable rumored upgrade for the iPhone 15 Pro series is a new Action button that would replace the ringer switch on previous models. This would allow you to quickly silence calls but also launch the camera and perform all sorts of customizable shortcuts.
And while both the new iPhone 15 Pro models should get camera upgrades, including a possible new sensor from Sony, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is tipped for an exclusive new periscope telephoto lens. This would allow the Pro Max to achieve 6x optical zoom, compared to 3x zoom for the iPhone 14 Pro Max. There's even rumors the iPhone 15 Pro Max could go to 10x zoom.
This could be part of the reason why the iPhone 15 Pro Max may wind up being called the iPhone 15 Ultra. But will it be worth an ultra premium price?
iPhone 15 Pro price outlook
There's already a more expensive flagship phone from Samsung in the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which starts at $1,199 / £1,249. So Apple going above that with the iPhone 15 Pro Max price is certainly within the realm of possibility, especially if the new phone includes double the storage of the iPhone 14 Pro Max — going from 128GB to 256GB.
And maybe the price hike rumors have been circulating so long for the iPhone 15 Pros that people at the Apple event will wind up shrugging it off. But I don't think that will happen, not when the overall smartphone market is still in decline, falling by 6.8% year-over-year according to IDC as people hold on to their phones for longer.
Even Apple has not been immune to market forces, with iPhone shipments down 2% in the 2nd quarter compared to the previous year. So coming out with the most expensive iPhone ever in that environment is a risky move to say the least. And the reactions to that rumored price hike — both at the Apple event and in retail — will go a long way toward determining if the bold bet pays off.