Perhaps the New Ultra-Thin iPhone Rumored for 2025 Is in Addition to, Not Replacing, the iPhones Pro

Re: my idle speculation on rumors of a more expensive, thinner-than-ever iPhone 17 model slated for 2025, Ryan Jones writes:

For maybe the first time, I suspect you’re off.

They tried upmarket, iPhone X, it worked. They tried Mini, not enough sales. They tried Plus, not enough sales. Pro Max became most popular.

So what do you do?

  • Make the Pro Max even bigger (they are, this year, 6.7″ → 6.9″)
  • cut the “extra” non-Pro phone, smaller didn’t work, bigger didn’t work
  • go up market again


  • iPhone 18 (6.1″)
  • iPhone 18 Pro (6.1″)
  • iPhone 18 Pro Max (6.9″)
  • iPhone “Ultra” (6.7″)

Oh, I like this thinking a lot. It fits with Apple’s historic strategy. When they try new things and they aren’t hits, they move on. The iPhone 5C was a one-off — no more colorful “beautifully, unapologetically plastic” iPhones. The iPhone Mini only lasted two years (iPhone 12 and 13), and these rumors suggest the iPhone Plus will only last three (iPhones 14, 15, and this year’s upcoming 16).

But when iPhone models prove popular, Apple doesn’t sweep them away. The revolutionary iPhone X, notably, appeared alongside the decidedly evolutionary iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, all three of which phones sported the then-new A11 Bionic chip. Two years ago Apple added the Ultra to the Apple Watch lineup, but only eliminated the titanium “Edition” models of the traditional Watches. It makes all the sense in the world that Apple might create a four-model iPhone family exactly like Jones suggests: keep the regular-sized standard iPhone, keep the Pro and Pro Max, and add a new, thinner-than-ever, more-expensive-than-ever, “Ultra” model at the top. Going upmarket is a strategy that has worked every time they’ve tried in the past. If they sell $2000+ iPads, why not sell $2000+ iPhones? iPhones are more important to more people than any device Apple makes.

Spitball: So how could Apple make an iPhone so thin that, like the new iPad Pros, it’s the first thing people notice about the device? How about getting rid of the glass back? Make the back aluminum or titanium, increasing rigidity, decreasing weight, and eliminating a point of failure for drops. This would require a new method for inductive charging — the whole reason all high-end phones, not just iPhones, have glass backs is that inductive Qi charging doesn’t pass through metal. Maybe something more like MagSafe on MacBooks?

The thinnest iPhone to date was 2014’s iPhone 6, at 6.9mm (not including camera lenses).

Monday, 20 May 2024