Apple could be planning an even more expensive iPhone

What if the iPhone 15 Ultra isn't a renamed Pro Max, but something even more expensive?

Apple iPhone 15 Ultra phone in silver and gold on white background
(Image credit: 4RMD)

We've been hearing rumours about the iPhone 15 Ultra for some months now, as it's likely to be Apple's best phone in 2024. Like pretty much everybody else I assumed the Ultra was going to be the new name for the most expensive iPhone, the iPhone Pro Max, but a new report suggests otherwise.

It seems that the iPhone Ultra may not be a new name for the priciest iPhone, but a newer, even pricier iPhone that'll sit above the Pro Max in the same way that the Apple Watch Ultra sits above the Apple Watch Series 8 range.

Why the Ultra iPhone will be ultra expensive

The source of this latest report is Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, who says that Apple is considering whether or not to release a more expensive iPhone, the iPhone Ultra. He's based that on a comment Apple boss Tim Cook made in the most recent earnings call; asked whether he felt ever-increasing iPhone prices were sustainable, he said "I think people are willing to really stretch to get the best they can afford in that category."

That's hardly Cook waving an iPhone Ultra prototype around, I know, but it does fit with Apple's current strategy: not so much the "good, better, best" approach of the Steve Jobs-era Apple as the "expensive, more expensive, even more expensive" thinking that produced a $10K gold-plated Apple Watch

We've already seen Apple differentiate the Pro and Pro Max from the slightly cheaper models by giving the premium models better processors and significantly better cameras, and that's likely to continue with the iPhone 15: we're expecting the better processors in the Pro and Pro Max to have better Wi-Fi and at least one of those phones to have a periscope zoom lens too. But that latter rumour was attached to the Ultra – so if that's an entirely new iPhone it's possible that the Pro and Pro Max won't get the periscope this year. 

I understand why Apple's doing this – business gonna business – but I'm still a little disappointed. The iPhone I fell in love with was the Coca-Cola of tech: everybody from the average punter to the American president got the same thing. 

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (