08/06 Update below. This post was originally published on August 03
Apple leaks have consistently agreed on one thing: iPhone 14 models are getting more expensive. That is, until now.
In a new blog post, anonymous leaker Lanzuk has revealed that Apple has “decided to freeze the launch price of the iPhone 14 base model through a decision at the top executive level.” And given Lanzuk’s solid track record, there is every reason to believe this.
Lanzuk explains that Apple’s decision was based on “global mobile phone market stagnation and demand decline… so the price of the basic model is frozen despite some price increase factors.”
Detailed by other leakers, these factors include an increase in component prices due to shortages and Apple upgrading several key elements of the iPhone 14 lineup. Most notably, an all-new front-facing camera module from LG Innotek, which leaks claim is triple the price of its predecessor.
Lanzuk is undoubtedly aware of the shock and potential disbelief his news will generate and stresses that his information comes from a rock-solid source within a “major US financial institution.” Moreover, Lanzuk has a track record that deserves respect. While the insider has had the occasional miss, there have been a number of accurate leaks for both Apple and Samsung devices in the last year.
08/05 Update: further information has leaked regarding the iPhone 14’s launch, and it is more good news. Influential analyst and industry insider Ming-Chi Kuo reports that Apple has successfully expanded production of the upcoming base model in India ahead of release.
“Foxconn’s iPhone production site in India will ship the new 6.1″ iPhone 14 almost simultaneously with China for the first time in 2H22 (India being one quarter or more behind in the past),” explained Kuo. “In the short term, India’s iPhone capacities/shipments still have a considerable gap with China, but it’s an important milestone for Apple in building a non-Chinese iPhone production site.”
My contacts believe this strategy will deliver an immediate pay-off, with Apple able to supply substantial stock of the iPhone 14 for its September release. This contrasts starkly with the ongoing supply chain issues faced by the iPhone 14 Max. While Kuo expects the new 6.7-inch model to launch alongside the rest of the range, Ross Young, CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC), has warned that “iPhone 14 Max panel shipments [are] still way behind through August.”
So if you plan to buy Apple’s most affordable big-screen iPhone to date, I suspect you will have to move fast when they go on sale.
08/06 Update: speaking to me today, popular tipster AppleLeaksPro says the new prices align with what he has heard for several months. “The Pros are substantially more expensive to manufacture,” LeaksApplePro explained, citing the new punch-hole display, upgraded 48MP camera, stainless steel chassis (which has been a cost differentiator since the iPhone XS) and A16 chipset.
“There are a lot of differences,” the leaker told me, saying the expectation is that Apple will focus primarily on the iPhone 14 Pro models at launch. “My guess is that Apple will talk little to nothing about the iPhone 14.”
AppleLeaksPro says the driver behind all of this is “Differentiation”. This ties in with similar moves Apple has made to increase the price and feature differences between the standard and Pro models of iPads, Macs and MacBooks in recent years. The strategy has proven successful, even if it is harder to pinpoint any feature that will make iPhone 14 Pro models objectively professional-oriented.
All of which means a split is opening up in the leaks community. Last month, noted analysts at Wedbush explained that price increases across the range were inevitable because “Prices have been increasing across the whole supply chain, and Cupertino needs to pass these costs to the consumer on this release.”
From what I understand, there is some truth to both positions. Pressure in the supply chain is increasing costs, as are several new components in the iPhone 14 range (particularly new front cameras).
That said, I understand that Apple is also determined to make 2022 the year it drives differentiation between Pro and non-Pro models, even if that means swallowing some of the cost increases in the standard models. This is a significant factor behind the iPhone 14’s similarity to its predecessor, both in design and performance, with the upgrades likely to be smaller than any previous generational iPhone upgrade.
As a result, expect this to be one of the more controversial iPhone launches in recent years.
If correct, Lanzuk’s claim would mean the iPhone 14 retains its $799 asking price (instead of jumping to $899), which also builds hope that the new iPhone 14 Max will also be priced $100 lower at $899. These price points make sense, given Apple’s determination to widen the feature and performance gap to iPhone 14 Pro models, which are still expected to go up in price:
- iPhone 14 Pro – $1099 (iPhone 13 Pro $999)
- iPhone 14 Pro Max – $1199 (iPhone 13 Pro Max $1099)
Furthermore, I would argue that Lanzuk’s claim still equates to an effective $100 price increase across the range. This is because the $799 iPhone 14 will replace the $699 iPhone 13 Mini as the entry-level model, and the $899 iPhone 14 Max will take the place of the $799 iPhone 13. Given their respective increases in screen size, these rises are also easier for Apple to market to customers.
Will iPhone 14 lineup be worth it? Design, camera and performance upgrades on the Pro models certainly appear so, but with a potential transition from Lightning to USB-C in 2023 I would still urge caution if you don’t have to upgrade this year.
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