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The iPhone 15 Pro could start at more than $1,000 in the first-ever price increase

Apple fans have plenty of reasons to look forward to the iPhone 15 launch later this year, but they may also need to brace themselves for a bigger financial hit. According to the latest rumors, the iPhone 15 Pro will experience a price increase for the first time since the $999 phone was introduced in 2017.

Jeff Pu of Haitong International Securities, dropped the bombshell in a research note (via MacRumors) this week. The introduction of hardware updates like solid-state buttons, USB-C, a titanium frame and a periscope lens, he reasons, will mean Apple will finally have to raise the prices of its iPhone Pro after six generations in a row that started at $999, dating back to the iPhone X in 2017. Likewise, he believes the iPhone 15 Pro Max or Ultra will have a higher starting price in the US than the $1,099 that Apple has maintained for nearly as long.

Pu may or may not be right: he has a mixed registry, including the more recent increasingly probable claim that Apple’s mixed reality headset will launch in the first quarter of this year, but he’s not the first to make this prediction. Late last year LeaksApplePro said the bigger iPhone would jumps to $1,299 in 2023 and that it would be “almost impossible” to hit the $1,099 price point for another year. Then in January, at similar claim was made by an unverified source on Weibo.

U.S. iPhone fans will be disappointed if this new hike rumor proves to be accurate, but it’s worth bearing in mind that they’ve fared well over the past few years. iPhone buyers in other countries have seen several price hikes since 2017, UK editors at Macworld have frequently complained. Even after inflation, UK iPhone prices rose by 50% from 2007 to 2021, compared to only 12 percent in the United States

Additionally, inflation may be one of the justifications Apple uses (not unreasonably) for likely price increases in the US, along with supply chain difficulties and currency fluctuations. Also, more positively, the expected rebranding of the flagship model (at least in the Max size) as the iPhone 15 Ultra, to match the more expensive Apple Watch model. US consumers may be slightly more willing to break the $1,100 mark for an iPhone 15 Ultra than they would for a simple iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Then again, price hike rumors crop up nearly every year. We’ve heard time and time again that the iPhone 14 phones would see a $100 hike in the US, but ended up costing the same amount at every tier as the 13-series equivalent where one existed. It’s also unclear whether the upgrades Pu mentions, especially the titanium finish and periscope camera, will be exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro Max/Ultra model. But a price hike would hardly come as a surprise.

For all the latest news and rumors about this year’s new phones, check out our regularly updated iPhones 15 superguide.