Samsung was the first smartphone manufacturer to launch a smartphone globally with the Ultra-branding. It was called the Galaxy S20 Ultra and it offered the best possible hardware paired with the best possible cameras from Samsung in 2020. Samsung then launched a Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G and then merged its Note series with its S series with the launch of the Galaxy S22 Ultra a few years later. Xiaomi also joined the ‘Ultra’ bandwagon with the launch of its Mi 11 Ultra in 2021 and its recently announced successor, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra. A reliable source now hints that Apple is also preparing to launch an ‘Ultra’ device of its own, one that would not only pack in more capabilities than its ‘Pro’ models, but would also be priced higher.
According to Mark Gurman from Bloomberg, Apple has reportedly, internally discussed launching a new iPhone model in 2024. This new model would be a higher-end iPhone compared to the currently available ‘Pro’-branded devices and would also be priced higher than the currently available iPhone 14 Pro Max model. Gurman states that in an earlier earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook was confident that its customers will shell out more money for more features as the iPhone “has become integral to people’s lives” allowing users to make payments, control IoT-enabled appliances, and track their health as well.
Gurman bets on Apple adding further camera improvements, over the already expected improvements to the iPhone 15 Pro models coming this year. Other expectations for this upcoming ‘Ultra’ iPhone also include a faster processor and possibly an even bigger display. It could also be a port-less iPhone, ditching the lightening port to charge only wirelessly.
In his recent research notes, TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi-Kuo, also mentioned camera improvements that could be coming to the iPhone 15 series in 2023. In his tweets, he also stated how Apple could adopt the periscope lens for an upcoming iPhone 16 Pro Max or Ultra branded device. Adding a periscope lens would in theory offer improved optical zoom and also help differentiate its Pro from the Pro Max devices better, starting with the iPhone 15 series itself.
With Samsung already offering two unique products like the Galaxy S Ultra model (with S-Pen capabilities) and the Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip devices in its premium segment, it will indeed be interesting to see where and how Apple further diversifies its premium iPhones which is currently stuck with one form factor. With the outgoing iPhone 14 series, Apple sells a base iPhone 14 followed by a slightly pricier iPhone 14 Plus with a bigger battery and display. Above this are the top-tier Phone 14 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro Max models with better cameras and the newly introduced display with the Dynamic Island cutouts.