07/04 Update below. This article was originally published on July 2
Apple’s iPhone 14 lineup is just two months away, and while leaks have revealed everything from their battery capacities to potential price increases, one surprising detail has been overlooked: a new name.
In September, Apple is expected to announce a more affordable version of the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which was widely assumed to be called “iPhone 14 Max”. But an in-depth supply chain report from analyst Omdia uses a much more logical name.
Breaking with leaks to date, Omdia’s senior research director David Hsieh calls the new device (and iPhone 13 Mini replacement) “iPhone 14 Plus”. It makes a lot of sense. It harkens back to Apple’s previous branding for its larger phones and creates greater delineation between two 6.7-inch models.
Update 07/04: New supply chain information has been leaked around Apple’s iPhone 14 release plans. Countering a previous report of Digitimeswhich claimed Apple was forced to cut the initial wave of iPhone 14 production from major vendor TSMC by 10%, a respected Apple analyst and insider has said Ming Chi Kuo revealed that production of the new range remains largely on track.
“TSMC’s rumored iPhone 14 orders down 10% does not match my investigation. [million] and 90 min units for components and EMS, respectively.”
This will be critical for Apple given that Kuo believes demand for the iPhone 14 lineup will be strongest in china than it was for iPhone 13 models:
“My latest survey indicates that some Chinese distributors/retailers/scalpers have to pay the highest prepaid deposit ever for iPhone 14 to ensure sufficient supply…At present, in the Chinese market, the iPhone 14 prepaid deposit is significantly higher than iPhone 13 and even twice as high in some regions.”
What motivates this request, given the historically minor improvements coming to the standard iPhone 14, remains to be seen. But the leaks will accelerate now that mass production has begun. Meanwhile, any potential iPhone 13 upgrade program would now be wise to wait until the iPhone 14 models launch in September.
Beyond that, the name ‘Max’ is also problematic. A maxed out version of any device implies that it’s the best of something before its physical size, hence expressions like “maxed out”. The connotations around “plus” aren’t that extreme, “plus size” is a long-standing association, and the word implies “more” rather than better. That would be a better fit, given that the standard iPhone 14 models will miss most of the major iPhone 14 Pro upgrades.
Apple’s newest brand also shows a desire to keep Max reserved for high-end hardware. In ascending order, the M1 range (and soon M2) includes:
- M1 Pro
- M1 Max
- M1 Ultra
Max sits above Pro. Yes, Apple’s branding has long been criticized for causing confusion (look no further than “the Apple Watch Edition”), but releasing an iPhone 14 Max that’s cheaper and slower than an iPhone 14 Pro would be weird even by Apple standards.
The detail from Omdia’s report adds even more weight to Hsieh’s language, which breaks down iPhone component suppliers, supply distribution and order volumes for the next two years. Countering that is the slew of high profile leaks that have been talking about an iPhone 14 Max for months. It would be a surprise for them to get it wrong so close to launch, but certainly not unprecedented.
Yes, there are bigger questions about the iPhone 14 lineup – including their telltale battery capacities, camera differences and generational chipset gap – but for Apple, it’s essential to push the messaging around these phones. And it all starts with a name.
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