Early signs are not looking good for Apple’s baseline iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus. While the Pro models have a three-week lead time for orders, feature phones are readily available, and we’ve heard shipments of panels for the larger version are “close to zero.” Reports indicate that Pro models make up 64% of the demand — a significant increase from the 51% of the iPhone 13 era.
While being able to sell a more expensive model is a good problem for Apple, this kind of demand mismatch still isn’t ideal. And according to a note from analysts at Nomura that I’ve seen Investing.com (Opens in a new tab)Apple will look for “a more balanced mix of lower-end and high-end shipments” with the iPhone 15.
This, according to analysts, means upgrades to the base iPhone 15 to get more people to choose it, with Nomura anticipating three big upgrades for the iPhone 15. First, the phone will get a Dynamic Island on their LTPS OLED screens.
Second, Nomura believes we’ll see an improvement in the camera, bringing it closer to the iPhone 14 Pro. The note to customers says, “They will have their main (wide) cameras upgraded to 48MP with image sensor size at 1/1.5” (slightly smaller than the i14 Pro’s 48MP sensor size, but much better than the i14’s 12MP).
Finally, the analysts wrote, “They will use the 4nm A16”. This is not unexpected, as it will simply bring the regular iPhone 15 in line with the iPhone 14 Pro, in terms of power. The iPhone 15 Pro is supposed to have the upgrade to the A17 chip – which could be designed for a 3nm manufacturing process.
Of course, Nomura doesn’t think Apple will stick around with the iPhone 15 Pro either, even if she argues that improvements in general are “less important to consumers.”
It highlights the upgrade of the Periscope camera, and Upgrade to 8 GB of RAM and haptic feedback buttons as the most important improvements—all upgrades we’ve heard before are mooted, though analyst Ming-Chi Kuo takes issue with the periscope camera.
A pinch of salt is ready
Can you believe this report? Maybe, but I’m not sure the logic is sound. I don’t think the iPhone 14 is worth getting — I’ve long advocated buying the iPhone 13 Pro instead — it feels like an overcorrection of something that isn’t really a problem.
Apple has intentionally made the recent iPhone Pro models more desirable for fairly obvious sales reasons. If the regular iPhone 14 is struggling compared to the Pro model, that’s a sign the strategy is working — maybe a little too good, but it works just as well.
A sensible response to that, in my opinion, would be to adjust the quantities the phones are made in rather than trying to level the playing field between them.
But even if the natural response was to try to make the two categories of phones more comparable, I’m not sure any change can be framed as a response to disappointing sales numbers.
Remember, Apple was stuck releasing the iPhone 13 mini a year after the iPhone 12 mini was clearly a sales disaster. It’s hard to imagine Apple being more flexible in responding to market reaction this time around.
In other words, if we see these upgrades arrive in the iPhone 15, the reason is likely to be a little simpler: advances in Pro products eventually make their way to non-Pro products. Whether that flattens the sales gap between phone categories in 2023 depends on what the Pro models can offer — and whether the rumored iPhone 15 Ultra actually exists.