iPhone 15 "Ultra" could replace Pro Max atop the iPhone product stack in 2023
iPhone Ultra could be Apple's new flagship tierBy Shawn Knight
In brief: The new Apple Watch Ultra could be the first in a new line of Ultra-class products and might even replace the Pro Max atop the iPhone product stack. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman believes Apple is on track to introduce a redesigned iPhone in 2023. Apple used to overhaul the iPhone like clockwork every two years but nowadays, designs are lingering for three years.
The iPhone 12 in 2020 reintroduced us to the flat edge design that was used on the iPhone 13 and this year's iPhone 14.
If Apple sticks to this roadmap, we should get a major overhaul next year. Gurman believes the iPhone 15 family could include a shift to USB-C. Furthermore, it could set the stage for Apple to rebrand the Pro Max as the Ultra.
Apple debuted its Pro Max branding on the iPhone 11 series in 2019 as its flagship offering and has stuck around ever since as the top-tier iPhone model.
The new Ultra branding was introduced earlier this month on the Apple Watch Ultra, a rugged version of Apple's smartwatch for outdoor enthusiasts. Early reviews have been favorable and the timepiece is quite durable as well. Pricing starts at $799, however, which will put it out of range of some potential buyers.
The standard Apple Watch Series 8 persists from $399 and the refreshed Apple Watch SE is even cheaper from $249.
Assuming the coming year goes according to plan, most expect Apple to expand the Dynamic Island to all iPhone 15 models. The feature debuted on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max as an interactive notch that automatically resizes to display notifications, alerts and other activity. Support for the new feature is expected to grow as third-party developers create for it using the Live Activities API.
Apple curiously reserved its latest chip, the A16 Bionic, for the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max variants, further clarifying the line between mainstream and flagship classes. With a precedent now set, it's safe to assume Apple will continue this with the iPhone 15 family. The question is, will the Ultra be the only model to get the A17 Bionic or will it also trickle down to the Pro?
Image credit: Jeremy Bezanger, Gentcreate