Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Plus, Pro, Max, and Ultra

Hartley Charlton (Reddit):

In his latest post on Medium, Kuo explained that the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max have seen “neutral” and “good” pre-order results compared to the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max. Delivery wait times of more than four weeks may indicate good demand for the new high-end devices. It is apparently “unclear” whether Apple will increase shipment forecasts of its Pro models, but there is a “growing” chance that it will cut orders of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus, which currently account for around 45 percent of the entire lineup’s shipments.


If demand for the two standard models do not improve, Apple may cut iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus orders as soon as November.

Francisco Tolmasky:

If true, then the iPhone may be developing the same problem the iPad has: products reverse-engineered from PRICE instead of USE. The iPhone mini made sense to be “worse,” so it didn’t feel cheap. The iPhone 14 however just feels like “the cheap one.”

Below I showed an iPad lineup where the differentiation (and marketing!) was based on USE CASE and not price, so no one feels like they’re “settling.” For example, the “low end” iPad Go is positioned as “rugged,” what you take on a hike or give your kid.

The price-based product segmentation works even worse for Apple products because everything is expensive, and there’s plenty of price overlap between Pro and non-Pro.


The end result is you don’t really feel like you got “the perfect phone for you,” but instead some weird compromise of trade-offs you could afford. The product matrix makes you feel sad when you should feel great.


This reminds me of Tim Cook’s recent leaked emails regarding iPhone XS sales from 2018[…] Pricing the XR too close to the XS without many new features meant that most people just upgraded to the higher tier iPhone.

Dave B:

The gap between the Pro and non-Pro line is by far the biggest it’s ever been, and it’s still just a $200 price difference.


I understand Apple wants to save some features for the Pro models, but this feature gap is too large, to the point that the non-Pro is now feeling like a mid-tier phone, with last year’s processor and old display technology.

The iPhone 13 mini, or even the regular iPhone 13, seems like a solid alternative if you don’t want to pay for the Pro features.

Adam Scheinberg:

iPhone Pro Max: max = bigger
M1 Max: faster
AirPods Max: different product entirely

AppleTV: an app
AppleTV: a piece of hardware

Apple TV+: base features
iCloud+: base features
iPhone Plus: bigger, same features

Macbook Pro: more features
iPhone Pro: more features
AirPods Pro: different product entirely

M1 Ultra: most powerful
Watch Ultra: same power, different product


6 Comments RSS · Twitter

Ah, the cycle of Apple upgrades. New devices come out, there's some completely shaky bit of evidence about how they're doing, and the following year Apple announces record revenues.

We're right on schedule.

Sorry, left out the critical bit: "New devices come out, there's some completely shaky bit of evidence about how they're doing, pundits pronounce sonorously about DOOM, and the following year Apple announces record revenues

Hard to disagree with Total here; those were my thoughts initially as well. We get these "Apple is reducing orders" reports regularly now, but it hasn't been like reducing HomePod orders to zero and selling the overproduction for years yet for iPhone. It's simply that production is going to go down and now, with some real world sales data, they know which models should take the brunt of that seasonal fall.

Reducing iPhone [standard] production could mean that the Pro models are selling better than expected, and the lesson about "most people just upgraded to the higher tier iPhone" might be paying off even more than Apple expected.

But I am conditioned by Apple's amazing ability to product record-setting profit reports, and I've resigned myself to being caught off guard whenever Apple's bottom finally does fall out (which means something to me, as I've invested far too heavily in Apple). I was kinda hoping to take some profits during the release of whatever is the next One More Thing, car or AR, but I do worry about the bottom falling out before we get there.

The post by Adam Scheinberg brings to mind my desire for Apple to revise the PowerBook name. It could be used in product differentiation like it was with the iBook. The MacBook Air and MacBook are the consumer devices, and the PowerBook is the pro model.

"the Pro models are selling better than expected"

An important point -- Apple is DOOMED because they're selling *more* of the higher priced product? BMW is having vapors.

I didn't read it as a Apple it's doomed piece.

More like a "the product matrix is confusing", piece.

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