What the “worst” iPhone 14 pre-orders really mean

This story is part of Hotspot iPhone 2022CNET’s collection of news, tips, and advice on Apple’s most popular products.

Apple unveiled iPhone 14 last week’s lineup with the usual fanfare, but there’s an early indication that fans aren’t demanding base models and are instead focusing on iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max.

The iPhone 14 could be the loser of Apple’s new lineup of phones.

Senior Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a blog post on Monday that iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus pre-orders “Worse than iPhone SE 3 and iPhone 13 Mini.”

There are two possible reasons why consumers are avoiding the basic iPhone 14 models. These phones didn’t receive any of the more exciting features that come with the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, like the faster A16 processor and 48MP main camera. Plus, consumers don’t feel the price difference between the $800 iPhone 14 and the $1,000 iPhone 14 Pro thanks to great promotions from carriers and generous exchange values ​​from Apple.

In 2022, the transition to the pro is easier than ever.

“In terms of the base [iPhone 14] Compared to the price points, it is very convincing [iPhone 14 Pro]”The carrier’s discounts and promotions are great,” said Dan Ives, managing editor of equity research at Wedbush Securities.

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This continues the evolution of Pro models from a nice luxury to a must-have for anyone upgrading to a new iPhone. The gap between the two fonts has widened considerably over the years, starting with just the size, then the camera and now a whole host of features including the new camera aperture and the highly-touted Dynamic Island feature. Anyone who wants to brag about the fact that they own a new iPhone, will have to pay extra for a different device physically.

It doesn’t hurt that Apple is likely to make higher profits on those Pro models.

The carriers help in the upgrade game. With a $800 to $1,000 discount on new iPhones, carriers are enticing consumers to choose the higher-priced Pro and Pro Max phones. But there’s another undercurrent that’s boosting sales right now: About 240 million out of a billion iPhones have been in owners’ hands for three and a half years or more, according to Ives research, and those people might upgrade.

When they do, they are less likely to opt for the baseline iPhone 14. There aren’t a lot of new features on the iPhone 13 released last year or the iPhone 12 in 2020, though. CNET’s Patrick Holland says That “there is no compelling reason to upgrade from either of these phones” to the new iPhone 14. It doesn’t get a new chipset, loses the sharper main camera, and lacks the fun “Dynamic Island” app bubble plus an always-on display, all the features that make the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max more advanced than last year’s phones.

The iPhone 14 Plus that costs at least $900 has a larger screen than the baseline iPhone 14 despite not getting any extra features, and could be more endearing to consumers than the iPhone 13 Mini, which has attracted a loyal but niche subset of buyers Apple phones. But for just $100, consumers can opt for the iPhone 14 Pro.

The dominance of the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max may have surprised even Apple, as pre-orders for the top-tier phones now list delivery windows for mid-to-late October. While reports suggest that Apple ordered 90 million iPhone 14 series phones for the holiday quarter, which is on par with the number of iPhone 13 series phones it shipped last year for the same period, the uptick in pre-orders for Pro and Pro Max models could mean Apple must increase its orders. For the holidays – if not, stores could run out of top-tier iPhones in a month.

Post-launch pre-orders are a relatively stable indicator of iPhone sales over the last five years of the holiday seasons. While sales could stabilize after this initial surge of early adopters, it’s possible that despite inflation and more conservative consumer spending towards the end of the year, this could be a big holiday season for Apple.

“It will be one for the record books in Cupertino,” Ives said.