Apple's Ultra iPhone Plans Sound Cool But Costly

Over the past few weeks, numerous reports and leakers have pushed rumors concerning an Ultra iPhone that would offer the best smartphone tech from Apple in terms of camera, screen, and chip technology. In his latest PowerOn newsletter, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman predicts that the Ultra trim won't replace the "Pro Max" iPhone. Instead, it will be a standalone model that offers perks like a faster chip and a price tag to match. Apple's iPhones are already one of the most expensive phones you can buy, save for Samsung's foldable phones. Take, for example, the top-end 1TB trim of the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which can go up to $1,600 before taxes, while the starting point is $1,099. 

Selling an Ultra model for an additional few hundred dollars won't be much of a struggle, assuming Apple offers enough differentiating upgrades over the Pro models. "Internally, the company has discussed doing just that — potentially in time for the 2024 iPhone release," Gurman writes. So far, we haven't heard any concrete rumors covering the Ultra model. Still, it won't be surprising to see Apple trying to sell it with standout camera hardware or even a fresh design.

Handsome tech, handsome price

Talking about the Ultra model that could possibly hit the shelves next year, Mark Gurman notes that "it will probably offer further camera improvements, a faster chip, and perhaps an even larger display." The first two possibilities make some sense. Apple's Pro models already stand out with an additional camera and LIDAR sensor. In the past, Apple has included slight hardware differences between the Pro and Pro Max variants. Take, for example, the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which came armed with a more capable wide-angle lens and also offered a telephoto lens that could reach a slightly higher optical zoom range than the regular Pro.

Gurman also mentions rumors that the Ultra iPhone will come equipped with a periscope-style telephoto zoom camera. Also called a folded lens setup, we've already seen this implementation on Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Notably, it would ditch the physical volume and power buttons in favor of a button-less design, instead putting taptic engines in those locations underneath the metallic frame. Apple might also offer a fully immersive screen the Ultra model, ditching the whole concept of a boat-shaped notch and the pill-shaped cutout design that arrived with the iPhone 14 Pro models. Apple has reportedly experimented with under-screen Touch ID in the past few years, and it could possibly arrive with the rumored Ultra iPhone within the next few years.