Update below 08/06. This post was originally published on August 03
Apple leaks have consistently acknowledged one thing: iPhone 14 models are getting more expensive. That is, until now.
In a new blog post, anonymous leaker Lanczuk revealed that Apple “has decided to freeze the launch price of the iPhone 14 base model through a decision at a high executive level.” And given Lanzuk’s solid track record, there’s every reason to believe this.
Lanczuk explains that Apple’s decision was “based on the stagnation of the global mobile phone market and the decline in demand … so the price of the basic model was frozen despite some price increase factors”.
As detailed by other leakers, these factors include an increase in component prices due to shortages and Apple upgrading several key components of the iPhone 14 lineup. Most notably, the leak claims an all-new front-facing camera module from LG Innotek, three times its previous price.
Lanzuk is no doubt aware of the shock and potential disbelief his news will cause, and emphasizes that his information comes from a rock-solid source within a “major US financial institution.” Moreover, Lanzuk has a track record worthy of respect. Although insiders have occasionally missed it, there have been a number of accurate leaks for Apple and Samsung devices over the past year.
08/05 Update: More information regarding the iPhone 14 release has leaked, and it’s mostly good news. Ming-Chi Kuo is an influential analyst and industry insider Reports Apple has successfully expanded production of the upcoming base model in India ahead of its launch.
“Foxconn’s iPhone manufacturing site in India will ship the new 6.1″ iPhone 14 simultaneously with China in 2H22 for the first time (India was a quarter or so behind),” explained Kuo. “In the short term, India’s iPhone capacities/shipments still have a considerable gap with China, but this A major milestone for Apple in building a non-Chinese iPhone manufacturing site.
My contacts believe this strategy will yield an immediate payoff, with Apple able to supply a substantial stock of the iPhone 14 for its September release. This is in stark contrast with the supply chain issues facing the iPhone 14 Max. While Kuo is expected to launch the new 6.7-inch model alongside the rest of the range, Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) CEO Ross Young warned that “iPhone 14 Max panel shipments”. [are] Still back through August.”
So if you plan to buy Apple’s most affordable large-screen iPhone to date, I suspect you’ll need to move fast when they go on sale.
08/06 Update: Speaking to me today, popular tipster AppleLeaksPro says the new prices are in line with what he’s been hearing for months. “The Pro is more expensive to manufacture,” LeaksApplePro explained, citing a new punch-hole display, upgraded 48MP camera, stainless steel chassis (a cost differentiator from the iPhone XS) and an A16 chipset.
“There are a lot of differences,” the leaker told me, adding that Apple is expected to focus primarily on the iPhone 14 Pro models at launch. “My guess is that Apple won’t talk much about the iPhone 14.”
AppleLeaksPro says the driver behind all this is “differentiation”. This ties in with similar moves Apple has made in recent years to widen the price and feature differences between standard and Pro models of iPads, Macs and MacBooks. Although it’s hard to pinpoint any feature that makes the iPhone 14 Pro models objectively professional-oriented, the strategy is successful.
All of this means a rift is opening up in the leak community. Last month, a prominent analyst at Wedbush explained that price hikes across the range were inevitable because “prices are rising throughout the supply chain and Cupertino has to pass this cost on to consumers in this release.”
As I understand it, there is some truth in both positions. Supply chain pressures are driving up costs, as are several new components in the iPhone 14 lineup (esp New front cameras)
That said, I understand that Apple has decided to make 2022 the year to push the difference between the Pro and non-Pro models, even if that means swallowing some of the cost increases on the standard models. While this is a significant factor behind the iPhone 14’s previous comparisons in both design and performance, the updates may be smaller than any previous generation iPhone upgrade.
As a result, expect this to be one of the more controversial iPhone launches in recent years.
If correct, Lanzuk’s claim means the iPhone 14 will retain its $799 asking price (instead of jumping to $899), raising hopes 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 for the iPhone 14 Pro models, which are still expected to increase in price:
- iPhone 14 Pro – $1099 (iPhone 13 Pro $999)
- iPhone 14 Pro Max – $1199 (iPhone 13 Pro Max $1099)
Moreover, I argue that Lanzuk’s claim still amounts to an effective $100 price increase across the range. That’s because the $799 iPhone 14 replaces the $699 iPhone 13 Mini as the entry-level model, and the $899 iPhone 14 Max replaces the $799 iPhone 13. Given their increase in screen size, these increments are also easy. For Apple to market to consumers.
Is the iPhone 14 lineup worth it? Design, camera and performance upgrades are certainly visible in the Pro models, but with the potential transition from Lightning to USB-C in 2023 I’d still sound a note of caution if you don’t need to upgrade this year.
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