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In the two months leading up to the release of Apple’s iPhone 14 series, leaks have disclosed everything from their battery capacities to possible price rises, but one startling aspect was missed: a new name.

Apple is rumoured to release a less expensive model of the iPhone 14 Pro Max in September; this model was formerly known as the “iPhone 14 Max.” However, a thorough supply chain report from analyst Omdia employs a nomenclature that is far more sensible.

David Hsieh, senior research director at Omdia, breaks with previous leaks by referring to the new device—the iPhone 13 Mini replacement—as the “iPhone 14 Plus.” This is really logical. It makes more distinction between the two 6.7-inch variants and pays homage to Apple’s earlier branding for its largest phones.

07/04 Update: Additional supply chain details on Apple’s plans to release the iPhone 14 have surfaced. According to renowned Apple analyst and insider Ming-Chi Kuo, manufacturing for the new range is still substantially on schedule, debunking an earlier story from Digitimes that stated Apple was forced to reduce the initial wave of iPhone 14 production from major supplier TSMC by 10%.

“Rumored TSMC’s iPhone 14 orders cut by 10% is not aligned with my survey. I currently maintain my 2H22 shipment forecast for iPhone 14, about 100 mn [million] and 90 mn units for components and EMS, respectively.”

Given that Kuo predicts that Chinese demand for the iPhone 14 series would outpace that of the iPhone 13 models, this will be crucial for Apple:

“My latest survey indicates that some Chinese distributors/retailers/scalpers have to pay the highest prepaid deposit ever for iPhone 14 to ensure a sufficient supply… At present, in the Chinese market, the iPhone 14 prepaid deposit is significantly higher than the iPhone 13 and even twice as high in some areas.”

Given the typically small changes coming to the basic iPhone 14, it is unclear what is fueling this desire. But now that mass production has started, leakage will spread faster. Any potential iPhone 13 upgraders would now be prudent to hold off until the September debut of the iPhone 14 models.

07/05/Update: A new perspective has been provided on the iPhone’s 5G modem, which has probably grown to be one of its most contentious features.

2019 saw the signing of a six-year licencing agreement between Apple and Qualcomm, its main supplier, following a number of high-profile legal disputes. Apple also acquired Intel’s smartphone modem division with the intention of gradually replacing Qualcomm chips over the coming years. Since then, it has been speculated that every new iPhone will feature Apple’s first internal 5G modem.

The iPhone 14 hadn’t been any different until a shocking claim from Ming-Chi Kuo last week that the modem’s development “may have failed,” leaving Apple with no choice but to rely on Qualcomm going forward.

That has now been refuted by a source that ShrimpApplePro shared (the anonymous account known for its accuracy). The insider admitted to being “speechless” in response to the failed reports, explaining that “[Apple] just postponed the mass production time from the original second quarter of 2023 to the fourth quarter of 2023.”

The source also revealed that Apple is working on the Ibiza code-named modem, which includes the wireless frequency module and power management integrated circuit.

The short and sweet of this, if accurate, is that while we can forget expecting an Apple modem in the iPhone 14 series, the equipment does appears poised to come in 2023 iPhone 15 models. It is quite doubtful that Apple will be able to create gen-one processors at the appropriate scale, therefore this introduction will almost certainly be phased in (nor would it be desireable given the potential for bugs).

However, history demonstrates that Apple can more closely combine silicon and software and provide a better user experience the more control it has over its hardware. To maintain a consistent user experience, Apple won’t be able to separate the performance of its early modems from Qualcomm modules, but once the corporation has full control, fans may anticipate major advantages.

When iPhones, iPads, Macs, and smart home devices are connected to Apple routers, additional performance and functionality will be available. From there, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple re-enter the home networking market. Actually, this is just the beginning.

Beyond this, there are other issues with the name “Max.” When a device is described as being “to the max,” it means that it is the finest possible version of that object, regardless of its physical size. The meaning of the word “plus” is not overly negative; it has long been associated with “plus size,” and it suggests “more” rather than “best.” Given that the majority of the iPhone 14 Pro enhancements won’t be available to normal iPhone 14 models, this would be a better fit.

Additionally, Apple’s most recent branding indicates a desire to reserve Max for high-end devices. The following items make up the M1 (and shortly M2) range in descending order:

  • M1
  • M1 Pro
  • M1 Max
  • M1 Ultra

Pro sits below Max. Even by Apple’s standards, releasing an iPhone 14 Max that is less expensive and slower than an iPhone 14 Pro would be strange. Yes, branding has long been criticised by some for being confusing (just look at the “Apple Watch Edition”).

The specifics of Omdia’s analysis, which breaks down iPhone component suppliers, supply distribution, and order volumes for the following two years, lend additional support to Hsieh’s assertions. The sheer volume of well-known leakers who have been speculating about an iPhone 14 Max for months works against this. It wouldn’t be unusual for them to be off this close to launch, but it would be surprising.

Although there are more significant concerns with the iPhone 14 series, such as their startling battery capacity, camera disparities, and generational CPU gap, Apple must get the messaging around these phones just right. And a name is where it all begins.

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