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A $1,300 iPhone 15 Ultra is ridiculous — and Apple’s going to get away with it – Digital Trends

A hot new iPhone rumor has popped up online. LeaksApplePro tells Forbes that the upcoming iPhone 15 Ultra could cost as much as $1,299. For the base model, to put it precisely. That’s a lot of money to pay for a phone, but I’m not surprised at all.
Apple likes to charge a premium for its iPhones that are a year, or two, behind on innovation. Fast charging, folded lens cameras, massive sensors with way too many megapixels, and some folding magic. These are all trains that Apple has conveniently missed but still made record-breaking money in each quarter.
People still buy those ‘overpriced’ phones. Hundreds of millions of them, actually. Apple sold nearly 240 million iPhones last year, and the pricier Pro models that start at $999 formed a huge chunk of it. Will the iPhone 15 Ultra prove to be a hard sell for Apple at $1,299? Unlikely.
Leaks suggest that the iPhone 15 Ultra will rock a titanium frame, which is significantly pricier than stainless steel. It also happens to be sturdier and more resistant to corrosion. Titanium also sounds very cool for a material that goes into something as boringly ubiquitous as a smartphone.
The most promising rumor predicts a periscope-style telephoto camera, the kind you see on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. Instead of putting the sensor directly behind the lens, a periscope system puts a prism underneath the lens, which then bends the light at 90 degrees and feeds it to the camera sensor.
The idea is to create a longer tunnel between the light source and the sensor so that the lens elements between them have more space to move and offer a higher zoom range. Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro has a lossless zoom range of 3.3x, while the Galaxy S22 Ultra serves a 10X optical zoom output.
You also get a 30x hybrid and 100x digital zoom range. This wider zoom range creates a world of difference. The iPhone 15 Ultra might also offer dual front cameras, most likely to up the bokeh effect game for selfies.
We are also hearing online chatter about a redesign, with a few ambitious leaks claiming that the iPhone 15 Ultra could go portless. The rest of the ‘cheaper’ iPhone 15 models will be using the USB-C port instead of a Lightning outlet, thanks to the EU.
Apple can pull off a portless iPhone 15 Ultra. All it needs to do is supercharge the MagSafe speeds, which is embarrassingly slow compared to the 50W wireless charging output you get on the OnePlus 10 Pro. I’m only concerned about how Apple will handle diagnostics and data recovery on a portless iPhone.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo hints we can expect solid buttons on the iPhone 15 Ultra, which sounds both cool and inconvenient. Nothing beats the clicky feel of a physical button in my opinion. Kuo has also predicted an upgraded 5x or 6x optical zoom range for the phone.
If the leaks are to be believed, the iPhone 15 Ultra is shaping up to be a massive upgrade over the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which is currently the best that Apple has to offer. Given Apple’s history, such upgrades don’t come cheap.
To recall, this is the same company that shipped a phone with nearly unchanged specs this year and still managed to sell it at a higher price in markets outside the U.S. I am looking at you, iPhone 14! Look, it’s not a bad phone for its price, but to call it a successor to the iPhone 13 is nothing but heresy.
With the iPhone 15 Ultra, we are looking at a laundry list of upgrades. A faster A17 Bionic chip based on the next-gen fabrication process, far better camera hardware, a potentially snazzy design makeover, and better build quality. I’d be indebted to the overlords at Apple if the charging speeds also pick up the pace.
I won’t be surprised at all if Apple charges a $200 premium for its first Ultra iPhone. After all, this is the same company that demands $200 for bumping up the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s storage capacity from 256 GB to 512 GB.
In case you’re wondering, the latter costs $1,399. I know at least half a dozen people that nuked their wallets for this storage configuration and still sleep peacefully each night.
The iPhone 15 Ultra sounds like an expensive phone. Even after you consider the upgrades it is rumored to offer, it is already far more expensive – and still not the best in terms of innovation – compared to Android flagships from Asia. But that likely won’t bother Apple or iPhone buyers.
Apple already sells iPhones that cost as much as $1,599 in its home market. I am talking about the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s 1TB storage configuration, which real human beings actually buy and love. But let’s take a jaunt outside the U.S. shores.
In India, I paid around $1,700 dollars for the iPhone 14 Pro’s 256GB storage model. If I was insane enough to fall for the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s 1TB model, the Apple Store would shave $2,300 from my bank account. I’m not even including the taxes here.
Again, I know people that paid this eye-watering amount for the iPhone 14 Pro Max. To put it into perspective, a lot of my tech industry friends have bluntly told me that this phone is good, but absolutely not a worthy upgrade over the iPhone 13 Pro Max. I agree with them to a large extent.
With the iPhone 15 Ultra, Apple already has its work cut out, thanks to all those meaningful upgrades. Will people think twice before splurging that amount? Yes. However, Apple will still sell a few dozen million units without breaking a sweat, like every other year.
Once again, and in an unsurprising turn of events, Google has missed the leak train. Leakers @OnLeaks and SmartPrix have leaked rumored renders of the upcoming Pixel 8 Pro. Going by the Pixel 7’s launch date, the next Pixel flagship has leaked a good six months ahead of its official introduction.
Google’s terrible track record aside, let’s discuss the leaked renders. It looks like the company’s design team is favoring rounded edges again. The Pixel 7 duo was an improvement over the boxy looks of its predecessor, and the Pixel 8 Pro only appears to add more of that rounded corner profiling. It actually looks good, albeit a bit wider.
The overall design remains more or less the same. Google is sticking to the dual-tone approach with glass on both sides, and a metal frame that also extends over at the back to form the horizontal camera strip. Another change compared to the Pixel 7 Pro’s dual cut-out design is that the Pixel 8 Pro only has single elongated pill-shaped outline housing all three camera sensors.
This triple-lens setup likely includes a primary high-resolution snapper, an ultra-wide angle camera, and a periscope-style telephoto zoom shooter. There’s another round cutout right below the LED flash, but it’s unclear if it’s a macro or depth camera, or some kind of IR or a specialized photosensitive sensor. 
A few days ago, a Reddit post sparked fresh debate asking if the Galaxy S23 Ultra was faking its moon photos. Ever since Samsung started offering a periscope-style telephoto camera on its flagships that delivers an unprecedented 10x optical and 100x digital zoom, moon photography has been marketed as one of the phone’s hottest tricks. 
There’s some valid history behind the skepticism, though. In 2019, Huawei faced accusations that the P30 Pro’s Moon Mode was faking the images using an overlay system, even though the company denied it. The Galaxy S23 Ultra finds itself in a similar storm, but the company has now explained how you are getting those crisp moon shots with its flagship. 
What Samsung has to say about all this
Samsung is not the first brand that comes to mind when you are out shopping for an object tracker. That kind of consumer trust and appeal is currently commanded by Tile, which kickstarted the trend, and Apple’s popular AirTag. However, Samsung wants to wiggle its way into that space with yet another object tracker that’s destined to arrive soon.
Citing unnamed sources, SamMobile reports that Samsung is planning a refresh of its Galaxy Smart Tag portfolio. And if all things go according to plan, the second-gen object tracker from Samsung will hit the shelves in the third quarter of 2023 — possibly around the same time frame as the launch of Samsung’s upcoming foldable phones.
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The youngest in team, he is responsible for reporting all the rumors and leaks related to gadgets and software. Other than spreading rumors, Bill also likes to write about social networking and cyber security.