I dislike the Pro Max name, but I’m glad Apple is sticking to it


One of the rumors about this year’s iPhone lineup was that the top-end model might be called the iPhone 15 Ultra, instead of the iPhone 15 Pro Max. But just ahead of the reveal, we noted Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman is confident the Pro Max name is sticking around.

In a new report detailing what to expect at next week’s “Wonderlust” event, Bloomberg says Apple is planning to stick with the “Pro Max” branding this year …

I think that’s good news, despite the fact that I’ve never been a fan of the Pro Max branding. It always seemed to me that the name was both clumsily long, and the use of two superlatives just sounded faintly ridiculous.

Prior to the launch of the Apple Watch Ultra, I’d probably have been on board with a naming lineup of iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Ultra.

But the launch of the Apple Watch Ultra changed that for me. Since the new Watch was indeed significantly more capable than the standard model – even if rather few of us actually need the somewhat specialized capabilities – then if Apple were going to launch an iPhone Ultra, it would need to be, well, ultra.

You could argue that the iPhone 15 Pro Max is, since it’s getting at least one feature that will be unique to the flagship model: the periscope lens, with a rumored 6x(ish) optical zoom.

That will undoubtedly make it a popular choice – indeed, one market intelligence estimate predicts that the iPhone 15 Pro Max will account for a full 40% of all iPhone 15 sales. But c’mon, a periscope lens for longer optical zoom is just Apple playing catch-up at this point; an Ultra feature, it is not.

So I’m glad Apple isn’t abusing the Ultra name by using it for a likely popular but still technically unexciting feature.

Who knows, perhaps one day Apple will launch an actual iPhone whatever Ultra, which is truly worthy of the name? If you have thoughts on what might justify the name, do share them in the comments.

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