Sep 12, 2023 - Economy

The most expensive iPhone ever is coming

iPhone prices over time, by model
Data: Apple; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Apple's new iPhone 15 Pro Max is the tech company's priciest phone ever, starting at $1,199 — $100 more than the same model last year but with double the storage.

Driving the news: Apple introduced its full iPhone 15 line — along with the new Apple Watch 9 and Apple Watch Ultra models — during an event Tuesday from its headquarters in Cupertino, California.

  • The starting prices of other iPhone models remained unchanged from last year, including the iPhone 15 Pro, which Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives called a "surprise move."
  • Ives wrote in an analyst note that the Pro Max increase is "a smart strategic move with the enhanced technology, A17 chip, and battery technology."

Why it matters: Each year, Apple aims to make the new iPhones compelling enough to convince a significant chunk of existing owners to upgrade, a task that has become harder as the years have gone on, Axios' Ina Fried reports.

  • Among the enhancements to the latest iPhones are improved cameras and a more standard USB-C charging cable.
The iPhone 15 Pro is displayed after its introduction on the Apple campus, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023, in Cupertino, Calif.
The iPhone 15 Pro is displayed after its introduction on Apple's campus in Cupertino, Calif. Photo: Jeff Chiu/AP

Flashback: The first iPhone debuted in 2007 and started at $499. But the next year, the price dropped to $199 where it stayed for several years.

  • The prices started climbing in 2016 with a hike to $649 for the iPhone 7 and increased to $699 in 2017 for the iPhone 8.
  • Apple has had three iPhone SE models, which are billed as the "most affordable iPhone."
  • Last year, the starting price for iPhone 14 increased to $799.

iPhone 15 trade-in deals: What to know

Like in past years, Apple and wireless carriers will have trade-in deals that make some phones "as low as $0" after monthly credits when trading in eligible iPhone models, according to a news release.

Yes, but: For AT&T and Verizon, the monthly credits are spread over 36 months and T-Mobile's credits are for 24 months.

iPhone 15 release date and preorders

iPhone 15 preorders start Friday, Sept. 15 and the devices will be available starting Sept. 22.

iOS 17 release date

Apple will roll out its software update days before the new iPhones arrive.

  • iOS 17 will be available as a free software update on Monday, Sept. 18 Apple said in a news release.
  • The iOS update is an annual fall tradition that brings new features to Apple's smartphones.

More from Axios:

Go deeper