A Quick Run-Through of Rumors and Speculation Ahead of This Wednesday’s ‘Far Out’ Event for the iPhones 14, New Apple Watch Models, and Who Knows What Else

Name Games

The long-rumored lineup of iPhone 14 models is that the Mini is out of the lineup, and replacing it is a big-screened non-Pro model. So: two 6.1-inch new iPhones (regular and Pro), and two 6.7-inch new iPhones (regular and Pro). The Pro models, presumably, will be named iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. On the non-Pro side, one late-breaking rumor claims the big-screen model will be named iPhone 14 Plus, not “Max”.

This rings true to my Apple-marketing-attuned ears. Max, in Apple parlance, seems to mean more than just bigger — it implies a certain premium-priced technical sophistication as well. Max means something akin to “even more Pro than Pro”, like with the M1 Max chips. Thus, I think “Plus” fits perfectly for the 6.7-inch non-Pro iPhone 14 models.

On the Apple Watch front, Mark Gurman has been reporting for a long time that Apple is poised to release a new model (or models?) targeting the market for extra durability for sports and fitness, and has been speculating since July that it might be named “Apple Watch Pro”. This one doesn’t ring as true to my ears. I can hear it, because sometimes when Apple describes a product as “pro”, they really just mean “nicer in some ways”, not necessarily “better suited for professional usage”. Are AirPods Pro more professional than regular AirPods? No, but they’re more pro in Apple parlance, because they’re nicer.

I’m not sure that works for a more rugged/extreme Apple Watch, though. If this model is as big and chunky as these leaked CAD renderings indicate, I’d expect a name that implies ruggedness/sportiness, and I don’t think “Pro” does that. Apple Watch Extreme? Apple Watch Sport (which would hark back to the Series 0 lineup, where the aluminum models were called “Sport”)? I just don’t think “Pro” quite fits for a lineup where there already exist premium-priced models. Last year’s Series 7 Edition models, made from titanium, cost $800/850 for the 41/45 mm sizes respectively, and the Hermès models start at $1,250. Perhaps Apple will eliminate the titanium Edition models from the lineup, but from what I understand, the Hermès partnership has been very successful. “Pro” carries a connotation of superiority, so I can’t quite see Apple using that name for a bigger, chunkier, decidedly un-luxurious model.

Oh, how about “Apple Watch Max”? That works for me. Skips right over “Pro” and goes right to “big ass and more expensive”, sort of like AirPods Max except AirPods Max aren’t something you’d wear while climbing a mountain.

The Price Is Right

Last year the iPhones started at these prices (128 GB):

  • 13 Mini: $700 (+$30 bullshit carrier fee)
  • 13: $800 (+$30 bullshit carrier fee)
  • 13 Pro: $1000
  • 13 Pro Max: $1100

I’m thinking this year the new models (128 GB) will be priced like this:

  • 14: $800 (+$30 bullshit carrier fee)
  • 14 Plus: $900 (+$30 bullshit carrier fee)
  • 14 Pro: $1050
  • 14 Pro Max: $1150

The basic idea, I think, is to slowly but surely put more space between the regular new iPhones and the Pro models. Better cameras (more than just an extra third lens — better across the board), better displays (ProMotion), better chips (A16 vs. A15X or whatever they’re going to call it). Some people might think the 14 Plus would be more expensive, so as not to cannibalize sales of the 14 Pro Max, but Apple keeps its eye on the real prize: profit margin, not revenue. I think the iPhone 14 Plus, even if $250 cheaper than the 14 Pro Max, will be as profitable, if not more so.