Apple Inc.’s iPhone feature updates have been more incremental lately, and that’s not expected to shift with this year’s new models.
But when Apple
holds its iPhone launch event Sept. 12, one of the biggest changes could concern the price of its new models. After holding prices steady in recent years, Apple could boost the price of its new Pro-level iPhones by $100 to $200, according to Citi Research analyst Atif Malik.
Within Apple’s current lineup, the iPhone 14 Pro starts at $999 and the iPhone 14 Pro Max begins at $1,099, though its most expensive configuration will set you back $1,599.
The company didn’t immediately respond to a MarketWatch request for comment about its plans for iPhone pricing.
While consumers face budget pressures, Apple may be dealing with changing costs of its own. It’s expected to replace the stainless-steel edges on its Pro-level iPhone 15 models with titanium, for example.
“The edges themselves will be smoother, less fingerprint prone and not as shiny,” Evercore ISI analyst Amit Daryanani wrote in a recent report.
By itself, this change will not drive people to upgrade their phones. Other expected improvements to the iPhone 15 line include a faster chip for Pro models and the ability to charge more quickly using a USB-C connector, instead of Apple’s proprietary Lightning cable.
One thing working in Apple’s favor, Citi’s Malik wrote Tuesday, is that there is “expected to be a strong replacement cycle in [the] iPhone 12 installed base,” which essentially refers to people who got the then-latest iPhone three years ago and intend to upgrade on that cadence. Malik also sees the prospect of “additional excitement around ~30% faster charging on upgraded USB-C.”
He said he continues to have a positive “catalyst watch” on Apple shares headed into the event. Malik gave Apple’s stock a buy rating with a $240 price target.