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Why Apple might have to give the iPhone 16 a price hike

The iPhone 15 hit stores only about a month ago, and we’re 11 months away from the iPhone 16 launch. But we already have plenty of iPhone 16 rumors, including a report warning us that Apple might have to raise iPhone prices next year. The higher manufacturing cost of the iPhone 15 series may force Apple to increase the prices of the next-gen iPhone series, even though they went unchanged for another year with the iPhone 15 series.

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While the prediction makes sense, the iPhone 16 would mark the third time analysts have predicted higher price tags in as many years. They’ve been wrong about it twice so far, with the iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 series. But in both cases, there are some things to consider.

The iPhone 14 models had the same prices as the iPhone 13 versions in the US, except for the 14 Plus, which didn’t have a predecessor. Overall, this should have helped Apple increase the average selling price of the iPhone. Moreover, Apple did raise iPhone 14 across the board in international markets like the UK and the EU.

Apple’s iPhone 15 series debuted with the same price tags as the iPhone 14 models. Surprisingly, Apple dropped all models’ prices in the UK and EU.

The one thing that changed was the starting price of the iPhone 15 Pro Max. You have to pay $100 more for the cheapest Pro Max. But the handset comes with 256GB of storage, while the base model last year had 128GB. Therefore, at $1,199, the 256GB iPhone 15 Pro Max price matches the 256GB iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Also, you get a tetrarpism zoom camera on the iPhone 15 Pro Max, a first for the iPhone. That camera is actually more expensive than the previous zoom camera. It costs $30, according to Nikkei Asia, or 3.8 times more expensive than the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s zoom lens.

iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max retail boxes.iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max retail boxes. Image source: Jonathan Geller, BGR

Nikkei partnered with Fomalhaut Techno Solutions to disassemble the four iPhone 15 models and estimate the costs. As I already explained, the iPhone 15 Pro Max costs around $558 to make, or 12% more than its predecessor. This is an unofficial estimate, of course.

The display costs around $115, or 10% more than the iPhone 14 Pro Max screen. The titanium frame is supposedly priced at $50, or 43% more expensive than last year’s stainless steel frame. Then there’s the $130 A17 Pro chip that’s 27% costlier to make.

Interestingly, the report also addressed the flash memory upgrade. The cheapest iPhone 15 Pro Max has twice the storage of the most affordable iPhone 14 Pro Max, but the memory cost was only 5% more expensive. Memory prices have fallen, and this supposedly helped Appl balance the rising costs of the camera and processor.

Similarly, manufacturing costs rose for the other three iPhone 15 models. The base iPhone 15 reportedly cost $423 to manufacture, a 16% increase over the iPhone 14. The iPhone 15 Plus is 10% more expensive to make, at $442. Finally, the iPhone 15 Pro manufacturing costs are at $523, an 8% increase over its predecessor.

Nikkei notes that analysts were surprised Apple kept the same iPhone prices despite the rising costs. Apple might be cautious about raising iPhone prices, which could impact sales in the current economic climate. Still, Fomalhaut CEO Kashio thinks Apple might try to raise prices with the iPhone 16 next year for all models except for the next-gen Pro Max.

As previous years have shown, analysts aren’t always right about Apple’s iPhone pricing. We’ll have to wait until next year to see what Apple decides to do with iPhone 16 prices.

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