Despite its large screen and huge battery, iPhone 14 Plus demand is weaker than expected
Apple wasn't happy with the sales numbers for the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 13 mini, so it decided that for 2022 it would offer a non-Pro version of its largest-screened phone. The device, named the iPhone 14 Plus, was given a nostalgic moniker as it brought back memories of the old days when Apple offered "larger-screened" phones like the iPhone 6 Plus. As late as 2017, Apple still used the "Plus" branding for the iPhone 8 Plus.
For those who don't need all of the trappings of the iPhone 14 Pro Max such as the Dynamic Island, the 48MP Wide camera, the telephoto lens, the A16 Bionic SoC, the Always-on display, and more, the iPhone 14 Plus is a good buy. It has a 6.7-inch OLED display with a 1274 x 2778 resolution and the powerful 5nm A15 Bionic chipset is under the hood.
With the largest battery ever placed inside an iPhone, you'd expect heavy demand for the iPhone 14 Plus
Considering that the 4325mAh capacity battery powering the iPhone 14 Plus is the largest ever to be put inside an iPhone (slightly larger than the battery on the iPhone 14 Pro Max), you would expect consumers to be extremely interested in the model. But that is not the case according to Digitimes. The report notes that contract manufacturer Pegatron, one of the companies that Apple uses to assemble the iPhone, reported a 28.3% decline in November revenue year-over-year and a 13.9% decline from October. This is partially blamed on weak demand for the iPhone 14 Plus.
A new report says that there has been weak demand for the iPhone 14 Plus
The iPhone 14 Plus is priced at $899 and up but the model was not released on September 16th like the rest of the iPhone 14 series. The iPhone 14 Plus wasn't launched until October 7th due to supply chain issues which means that it was overlooked by consumers in the beginning days of the 2022 iPhone release.
Pegatron's results for last month might have also been impacted by the global economic weakness as inflation has reared its ugly head leaving consumers with fewer bucks in their wallets to pay for premium flagship phones. With a redesign expected for the iPhone 15 series next year, some pundits believe that Apple could drop the "Plus" model in 2023 although we'd expect the company to give it another shot next year.
We also could see the iPhone 14 Pro Max replaced by the iPhone 15 Ultra with specs you'd expect to see from an iPhone with that name. One thing that we will see on an iPhone 15 Plus in 2023 will be the Dynamic Island, which this year is offered only on the iPhone 14 Pro models. The shape-shifting notification system will replace the notch on the non-Pro variants next year.
Apple reportedly seeks to balance the demand between Pro and non-Pro models next year
Japanese brokerage house Nomura said earlier this month that besides the Dynamic Island, the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will be equipped with the 48MP camera sensor found in the Pro models this year. Apple appears ready to have demand for the iPhone 15 line balance out between the Pro and non-Pro models. This year, Apple widened the specs gap between the two tiers by powering the non-Pro phones with last year's 5nm A15 Bionic chip. The iPhone 14 Pro series features the 4nm A16 Bionic SoC.
By widening the differentiation between the iPhone 14 Pro and non-Pro models, Apple saw a major shift in iPhone buying habits. Last year, the iPhone 13 Pro series made up 51% of iPhone 13 demand. This year, the iPhone 14 Pro models have been responsible for 64% of iPhone 14 demand. By trying to nudge consumers to purchase the more expensive Pro models, Apple looks to increase its iPhone revenue.
But balancing demand next year between the Pro and non-Pro iPhone units could put less stress on Apple's supply chain. It also could be a hint from Apple that it plans on raising iPhone prices in 2023. Prices have stayed static over the last few years and the combination of a redesign for the iPhone 15 series and higher prices across the board could mean that Apple doesn't feel as compelled to push consumers to purchase a pricier Pro model next year.