Is it a new iPhone Slim or should we expect a slimmer iPhone 17 Pro Max next year?

*Header image: renders of the iPhone 16 series (Image Source – PhoneArena)

The iPhone 16 series isn’t out yet and already we hear talks about the iPhone 17. One particularly juicy rumor points to what some people call “iPhone Slim”, a model that is reportedly going to be slimmer. Some say it will come instead of an iPhone 17 Plus, others, that it will be a separate “Ultra” model, pricier than a Pro Max.

Now I’m wondering though. Could Apple indeed be planning to have a slim iPhone 17 Pro Max and not a separate model? Could this be one of the reasons that Cupertino can justify a price hike for the Pro iPhones? Let’s talk about it!

The iPhone 17 Pro Max may need a design change… and lose some weight

Don’t get me wrong, I love the huge screen and I definitely want Apple to keep it. Rumors about a gigantic iPhone 16 Pro Max had me hyped, and I just don’t want to imagine a smaller Pro Max model now.

However, it’s getting heavy. Even my iPhone 13 Pro Max is a very heavy thing (especially when it falls on my face in bed at night) and it wouldn’t hurt for it to become lighter.

The iPhone 15 Pro introduced the titanium frame, and it helped, somewhat. The 15 Pro Max weighs 221g while the iPhone 14 Pro Max – 240g. As for the Pros, the situation is similar. The iPhone 15 Pro weighs 187g, while the 14 Pro – 206g. However, both phones are still heavier than the regular iPhone 15 which weighs in at 171g.

We hear from rumors that the iPhone 16 Pro Max will be one tablet of a phone. I love that when it comes to the big display. But the weight is something that Apple could improve on, as well as the thickness.

Imagine a big and sleek iPhone 17 Pro Max with a gorgeously huge display, but thin and slim thus weighing less. It would be ideal (as long as it doesn’t sacrifice battery). I feel this makes much more sense for an ‘iPhone Slim’ than a separate model.

iPad Pro M4 strategy for the iPhone 17 Pro Max?

Apple had loads of surprises this year with its iPad event. Alongside gorgeous OLED screens and a new Apple Pencil, the iPad Pros got a huge design improvement. They got slimmer. In fact, Apple itself said during the event that the 13-inch iPad Pro M4 is the slimmest Apple product ever.

We also have a price hike from 2022’s iPad Pro with M2 and this year’s iPad Pro with M4. The iPad Pro M2 (12.9-inch) was initially starting at $1,099, while the new one starts at $1,299. Yep, we have a slightly bigger screen, the aforementioned thin profile, and more storage to begin with (and all the luxurious M4 talks). But the thinness is also a factor.

This has me thinking. If Apple is indeed looking to price the Pro Max iPhone higher (as an ‘Ultra’ model, maybe?), why won’t it slim it down? Coupled with some other extras, the new lighter and slimmer Pro Max will seem justifiable for a higher price tag.

I’m wondering… why would Apple make an entirely separate product and call it an “iPhone Slim” or an “iPhone 17 Ultra”, instead of making the Pro versions slimmer and thus more high-end. Apple is already looking for ways to broaden the gap between the base iPhones and the Pro-branded ones. This could be another ideal option to make this gap even bigger.

One issue arises: Apple has done a “separate iPhone” thing before

The rumored “iPhone Slim/iPhone Ultra” strategy draws parallels to the iPhone X back in 2017. At the time, Apple released the regular iPhone 8 (which, by the way, I proudly carried as a daily driver until 2022) and 8 Plus. And then, as a “separate iPhone”, something not seen in the series thus far, Cupertino launched the iPhone X (redesigned, Face ID introduced). 

So there’s a precedent for Apple launching a regular iPhone 17 lineup accompanied by a fancy iPhone Ultra (Slim or not). But to me, it seems rather unlikely. First off, we’re way too early for the rumors to be even 80% certain. Second off, I struggle to see the reason.

In 2017, the iPhone X came at the ten-year anniversary of the iPhone. It marks a new generation, a new direction, and realizes a vision.

— Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design offer at the time, Apple, 2017

Also, with the iPhone X, Apple offered separate solutions to different buyers. Before that, we had one premium iPhone (or a big and a smaller version of it). Now, we have four though, so plenty of choices for buyers. If Apple were to release four iPhone 17 models and an Ultra, that could start to become complicated to buyers. Also, if Apple released 3 “regular” iPhones and a 4th, slim iPhone, that’d also seem strange, in my opinion. And Apple is all about simplicity, isn’t it?

iPhone Slim? Slim iPhone 17 Pro Max?

What seems to me the most logical is that Apple will release 4 models: two regular iPhone 17s and two Pro-branded ones. And the Pros will be slimmer. In fact, the Pros will be that rumored “iPhone Slim”. And they’ll come with a price hike, justified by their new “thinnest Apple product” look and a couple of other things that we’re yet to find out.
But of course, we don’t have any hard evidence and I don’t know anybody working in Apple, so I have no chance of knowing for certain if my speculation is true or not. However, according to my experience being an Apple fan, I believe my theory makes a whole lot of sense.

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