When we heard that one of the new iPhone 15s might use a titanium frame instead of a stainless steel one, many of us thought of the Apple Watch Ultra. It was impossible not to make a connection. Introduced relatively recently and with durability and strength as one of its pillars for success, more than one of us saw how the company established a three-pronged strategy: aluminum, stainless steel and titanium to classify the devices.
Already at that time the name iPhone 15 Ultra sounded, which then many more rumors have repeated to make this new iPhone an unconfirmed reality. Regardless of whether we see this phone now, with the iPhone 15 or with the iPhone 16, as other rumors suggest, there is something that is key to a good understanding of Apple’s strategy: what does it mean for a device to be Ultra?
What should an iPhone Ultra have?
We know what it means to be Pro. We know it from iPhones with the last name Pro, which have several improvements over the entry-level models. Improvements in cameras and displays, for example. Would the Ultra go further? That’s the idea, but not just in phone body material. It should go further in key features. It should be the best iPhone ever made on several key points.
The Apple Watch Ultra has managed to stand out, but, giving up some features. Let’s draw an analogy. With the iPhone Ultra we would be talking about an iPhone with much more battery, something that would come from sacrificing the extreme thinness. We would also be talking about a much more rugged phone. In the Apple Watch this has translated into a new material, yes, but also in a design that passively protects the screen.
On the iPhone this passive protection could be seen on the back, especially in the form of less protruding cameras. Less likely to take the first contact in an impact. Something that fits with a thicker body and would give the design a quite different feel than it offers today.
There is a third element on the Apple Watch Ultra: the action button. Rumors already place this action button on the iPhone. Just replacing the mute switch, Apple could place a multifunctional button that we could customize. A button that could even respond differently depending on the state of concentration, for example, location or time of day.
Will we see this distinction?
And now we come to the key point of the conversation. It is clear that right now we are only talking about rumors, but several of the key points of an iPhone Ultra already seem to be coming to this year’s Pro models. So, will we see one more model or will we see an evolved and rebranded Pro?
According to some independent studies, the iPhones that are attracting the most attention from buyers are the most Pro models. The larger ones with higher specs. Along these lines, it makes sense that Apple might want to offer a device for that spectrum of customers. Whether it’s called Pro Max or Ultra remains to be seen, but the difference is not minor.
An iPhone Ultra would have to go far beyond the iPhone we know, to make a distinction that is not only in the titanium. It’s in the battery, in the screen, in the power, in the functionality itself. We will see, as WWDC 2023 approaches, how the rumors evolve, because everything seems to indicate that we may see a major change of course in the iPhone strategy.
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