Will Apple make an iPhone 15 Ultra with an ultra-high price tag?

iPhone 14 Pro Max in hand at Apple Park September 7
(Image credit: TechRadar)

The new Apple iPhone 14 has barely been in hands a week and we’re already hearing plenty more about the next phone to rule Apple’s kingdom, possibly called the iPhone 15 Ultra. We’d heard this name before, but new leaks shed light on the entire next generation of iPhone 15 devices, as well as the one phone to rule them all. 

According to Twitter leaker @LeaksApplePro, the next Apple flagship will differentiate itself from the Pro model more so than this year. The new iPhone 14 Pro Max gets a larger screen and a larger battery, but is otherwise the exact same phone as the iPhone 14 Pro

According to the leak, the next iPhone 15 Ultra will sit above the iPhone 15 Pro with not only a larger display and battery but also some possible camera upgrades as well. Video recording at 8K resolution is mentioned as a possible feature that could come to the iPhone 15 Ultra phone without hitting the iPhone 15 Pro.

Like this year, Apple is expected to upgrade the chipset platform on only its higher-end iPhone devices, the expected iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Ultra. The rumored iPhone 15, and the iPhone 15 Plus, if Apple carries forth the Plus family from this year, are expected to use the A16 Bionic chip. That chip is currently available only on Apple’s higher-end iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max devices.

Apple is also hoping to improve battery life significantly for next year, according to rumors. The leak says Apple is pushing for 3-4 more hours of battery life, especially on its largest phone. The new phone may also get a price increase. This year’s most expensive iPhone 14 Pro Max starts at $1,099 in the US. Next year’s iPhone 15 Ultra could start at $1,199.

The leak also suggests that all of Apple’s next iPhones will come with USB-C. While we’ve been clamoring for Apple to finally adopt the standard on every device, it seems like a tectonic shift to imagine Apple will abandon its Lightning ecosystem wholesale on every device. Of course, the European Union has already mandated that every manufacturer, including Apple, move to a universal standard and add USB-C by 2024.

Analysis: Is an iPhone 15 Ultra an excuse for Ultra pricing?

We’re leaning towards believing that Apple could go with the iPhone 15 Ultra name. More differentiation in the naming makes it easier for customers to know exactly what iPhone they are getting and why. Now that Apple has adopted the Ultra name for the top of its Apple Watch lineup, it makes sense to continue that trend into the iPhone family.

That said, a new name might also give Apple an excuse to enter a new pricing tier. Samsung sells an Ultra phone, and its Galaxy S22 Ultra costs almost $1,200 when there are no great sales or discounts applied. That phone comes with more camera lenses than its brethren, including a 100X digitally-enhanced Space Zoom that actually provides amazing results.

If Apple wants to go Ultra, by all means, make an iPhone 15 Ultra. But if that phone comes with an ultra-high price tag, there better be an ultra-amazing feature boost to go along with it.

Philip Berne
US Mobiles Editor

Phil Berne is a preeminent voice in consumer electronics reviews, starting more than 20 years ago at eTown.com. Phil has written for Engadget, The Verge, PC Mag, Digital Trends, Slashgear, TechRadar, AndroidCentral, and was Editor-in-Chief of the sadly-defunct infoSync. Phil holds an entirely useful M.A. in Cultural Theory from Carnegie Mellon University. He sang in numerous college a cappella groups.

Phil did a stint at Samsung Mobile, leading reviews for the PR team and writing crisis communications until he left in 2017. He worked at an Apple Store near Boston, MA, at the height of iPod popularity. Phil is certified in Google AI Essentials. He has a High School English teaching license (and years of teaching experience) and is a Red Cross certified Lifeguard. His passion is the democratizing power of mobile technology. Before AI came along he was totally sure the next big thing would be something we wear on our faces.