Apple expects 85% of early buyers to opt for a Pro

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The replacement of the iPhone mini with a Plus model opens up a big question around the likely split of iPhone 14 sales. I’d expect a lot of people to go for the Plus, but a supply-chain survey indicates that Apple expects most early buyers to opt for one of the two Pro models.

Orders received by Apple suppliers indicate that the Cupertino company expects a full 85% of early iPhone 14 buyers to choose either the Pro or Pro Max, and fewer than 5% to opt for the iPhone 14 Plus …

Making sense of this year’s line-up

iPhone 14 sales will be split across four models:

  • iPhone 14
  • iPhone 14 Plus
  • iPhone 14 Pro
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max

Apple had already removed feature differentiation between the Pro and Pro Max as of the iPhone 13, and the same remains true this year. You’re getting exactly the same phone bar the display size.

The same is true of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus – the same feature set in different sizes.

The, ah, big difference this year is that if you want the largest screen size possible, you no longer have to buy the top-of-the-range model. If you don’t need or want the Pro-only features, you can now save a lot of money by buying the iPhone 14 Plus instead.

Adding to this, Apple has put a surprising number of the new camera features into the iPhone 14/14 Plus models, giving less reason to opt for a Pro model.

This being the case, I’m expecting the iPhone 14 Plus to be an extremely popular choice.

But not early iPhone 14 sales, says Kuo

But Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says his supply-chain survey suggests that the Cupertino company expects very few iPhone 14 Plus sales in pre-orders and early orders. Indeed, he suggests that fewer than 5% of initial Apple orders are for the Plus, while around 85% are split between the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

This is not as strange or unlikely as it seems. While overall iPhone 14 sales will have a very different split, it’s the tech enthusiasts who tend to place most of the pre-orders, and to buy soon after the launch of a new line-up. It’s also tech enthusiasts who tend to go for the Pro models.

Look at our own poll, for example. Remove the 19% of you not planning to buy this year, and a massive 92% of 9to5Mac readers (at the time of writing) are planning to order either the Pro or Pro Max, with the latter leading by a modest margin. Fewer than 2% of you chose the iPhone 14 Plus.

So it does make sense that Apple’s initial orders would be heavily skewed in favor of the Pro models, while the balance will be adjusted after the initial flurry of launch orders, when normals get around to buying.

iPhone 15 line-up could have more differentiation

Kuo also suggests that Apple will widen the gap between standard and Pro models for the iPhone 15 line-up, and additionally that the company will reintroduce feature gaps between the Pro and Pro Max.

There is precedent for this in the form of the iPhone 12, where the Pro Max got two key camera features the Pro didn’t.

The wide camera on the iPhone 12 Pro Max features a 47% larger sensor than on the iPhone 12 Pro, with 1.7μm pixels. Apple says that this difference in sensor size makes for a whopping 87% improvement in low-light conditions.

The wide camera on the iPhone 12 Pro also features sensor-shift optical image stabilization, which stabilizes the sensor itself rather than the lens.

9to5Mac’s Take

Kuo used to be one of the more reliable sources of Apple info, because he has extensive supply-chain connections, and spends a lot of time talking with them. The information about the order split is likely to be reliable, as it is based on these conversations.

Of late, however, he has taken to throwing a lot of speculation and opinion into his tweets. That, I think, is the case for his follow-ups about greater differentiation between iPhone 15 models. It’s entirely possible he’s right, but this is based not on hard data, but rather his own belief.

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Author: Subham

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