You may have missed the news over the weekend, as you saw how focused most of us were on ringing in the new year. But it seems as if the iPhone 14 Plus is not generating much interest among shoppers. And that could have major ramifications for Apple’s iPhone 15 plans.
The original post came from Korean blog Naver (Opens in a new tab), indicating that the iPhone 14 Plus is simply not selling. Apple doesn’t break down iPhone sales by product type, but that’s not the first place we’ve seen this claim.
What’s unusual about Naver’s report is that it suggests the iPhone 14 Plus’ struggles could push Apple in one of several different directions when it comes to releasing the iPhone 15 this fall. Specifically, Naver sees three options: Apple lowers the price on its Pro phones so that the standard iPhone and Plus model don’t feel like an afterthought; Apple is enhancing features found in standard phones and Plus phones; Or Apple is getting in on the iPhone 15 Ultra model, making the iPhone 15 Plus look like a better value in the process.
There is a fourth option, though, if sales of the iPhone 14 Plus are really bad and Apple is at a loss on how to solve that. Namely, the Plus model could drop completely and stick with three iPhone 15 phones.
Three, four iPhones are a crowd
It’s not written that Apple should come out with four new models every fall. The release of the iPhone 14 in September was the third year in a row that Apple had done so. In 2020, it added the iPhone 12 mini to other iPhone 12 models, and the mini made a return trip when the iPhone 13 family debuted in 2021.
You might remember that none of those tiny iPhones sold so well, either, that Apple decided they had to go big with the release of the iPhone 14. But despite a 6.7-inch screen in a device worth just over $100, The standard iPhone, shoppers are said not to be jumping on this offer.
In other words, every time Apple comes out with four phones, it always feels like one phone too much, at least from a marketing standpoint. So why not correct this mistake by getting rid of the extra fourth iPhone?
Yes, there are mitigating circumstances with the release of the iPhone 14, other than the fact that we don’t have sales figures of any kind for the latest iPhones. (The number of iPhone 14 sales hit stores in late September, which is only reflected in Apple’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report.) Even a quick comparison between the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro reveals that the Pro models got bigger features, fading the enthusiasm of the iPhone 14 Plus. It’s possible that adding something like Dynamic Island to the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus – it’s been rumored – could make people more willing to buy these phones this fall.
What does this mean for the iPhone 15 Plus
However, another way to look at this is that the market has been telling Apple for three years in a row that the fourth iPhone isn’t all that attractive. Big or small screen, consumers don’t seem to care.
With the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Pro Max (or iPhone 15 Ultra, if that’s the direction Apple will take with its higher-end model), Apple will have a natural good/better/best arrangement for its smartphone lineup. The iPhone 15 will be the device to get when you want a great camera phone that won’t cost more than $800. The iPhone 15 Pro can offer better cameras and performance for just a few hundred dollars. And if you want to push the boat out, that’s what the Ultra is for.
This would open Apple up to selling both large and small screen devices at a reduced price. Tag the iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 13 mini and you can keep those devices in the fall to entice shoppers who value screen size above any other factor.
Do I actually think this will happen when the iPhone 15 release date rolls around? Mostly not. Apple likely decided long ago what phones would be part of its iPhone 15 lineup without any input from me.
But if people were interested in a lower-cost 6.7-inch iPhone that lacked the high-end features found in Apple’s Pro models, they would have embraced the iPhone 14 Plus. Their lack of presence – at least, reportedly – indicates that there’s not much Apple will do to convince them that the iPhone 15 Plus is a better option. Sometimes you just have to admit that less is more, especially when it comes to phone releases.