Gurman: Expect iPhone 15 price increases, Apple tested dark gray titanium color for Apple Watch Ultra

In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reiterates the recent reporting around iPhone 15 pricing. Gurman says that consumers should expect ‘minor’ price increases across the iPhone 15 lineup internationally, as well as in the US – particularly for the iPhone 15 Pro/Pro Max that will include a new titanium chassis design and upgraded camera system.

For the Apple Watch, expect chip spec bumps for the Series 9 and Ultra, but no SE this year (as it appears to be on a two-year cycle). Interestingly, Gurman says Apple tested a dark gray titanium color option for the Apple Watch Ultra last year, but it was scrapped for the 2022 Ultra launch. However, Gurman suggests that the darker color may return for the 2023 Apple Watch Ultra hardware refresh.

Bloomberg reported last week that Apple expects to ship about 85 million iPhone 15 units this year, roughly the same as the iPhone 14 in the same period last year. But the company expects overall revenue to increase due to unit price increases.

Here’s how Gurman framed it in today’s newsletter:

One other note on the next iPhone: I would look out for at least minor price increases across all four models outside of the US. I also wouldn’t rule out a price increase in the US — at least for some of the pro models — given the move to titanium and the costlier camera system on the iPhone 15 Pro Max. For context: Apple charges $100 more for titanium watches than their stainless-steel counterparts.

A Barclays analyst suggested the price of the iPhone 15 Pro Max could increase by as much as $200, thanks to increased product differentiation, like the premium titanium chassis and exclusive periscope zoom lens in the Max camera system, compared to the cheaper iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus models.

We haven’t heard much about what’s new with the Apple Watch this year aside from the faster chip. Gurman describes the upgrade as a “fairly sizable sizeable bump”. This year’s chip would be the first time since the Series 6 that Apple upgraded the Apple Watch’s CPU and GPU.

Regarding the Apple Watch Ultra, the addition of a new color option would surely help juice sales. As it stands now, the Apple Watch Ultra is an unusual outlier in the Watch lineup, as it only has one SKU (one color, one size). It also falls in line with a common historical precedent where Apple adds new color options in years that otherwise lack significant hardware upgrades.

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