The 2023 iPhone 15
Apple in September 2022 released the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 and 14 Pro models, but we've been hearing rumors about the iPhone 15 since well before the latest iPhones came out.
The iPhone 15 many months away, but it's hard for Apple to keep secrets about the iPhone lineup just because of how many suppliers are involved. There will be four iPhone 15 models in the same sizes as the iPhone 14 models, including two 6.1-inch iPhones and two 6.7-inch iPhones. One of each size will be standard iPhone 15 models, while the other two will be more expensive higher-end "Pro" models. As with the iPhone 14, some of the best features will be reserved for the iPhone 15 Pro models.
Rumors so far suggest we can expect USB-C for all models, and the Dynamic Island is going to expand to the standard iPhone 15. Apple will use Qualcomm modem chips for the new devices as its own modem chips aren't quite ready. The standard iPhone 15 models will get an upgrade to the A16 chip, while the iPhone 15 Pro models could use improved 3-nanometer A17 chips. Pro models could see an upgrade to titanium frames, along with periscope lens camera technology for improvements to zoom.
This roundup covers everything that we've heard about the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro, but keep in mind that it's early in the development cycle and Apple's plans could change.
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iPhone 15 Ultra?
According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple might potentially replace the "Pro Max" version of the iPhone 15 with a new "Ultra" model. Apple in 2022 introduced the Apple Watch Ultra, and it has also used "Ultra" naming for the highest-end version of the M1.
It stand to reason that the highest-end iPhone available, often the "Pro Max," could be renamed the iPhone 15 Ultra.
Rumors suggest the iPhone 15 models will look similar to the iPhone 14 models, but the pill-and-hole cutout will expand to the entire lineup. That means all iPhone 15 models will have no notch, instead adopting the Dynamic Island introduced in the iPhone 14 Pro models.
As there are no major design changes expected, Apple will likely continue to offer four models: The 6.1-inch iPhone 15, the 6.1-inch iPhone 15 Pro, the 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Max, and the 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Pro Max. The "pro" models will have higher-end features and will be more expensive, while the standard iPhone 15 models will be cheaper.
Titanium Chassis and Curved Edges
The iPhone 15 Pro models could feature thinner, curved bezels in comparison to the iPhone 14 Pro models, producing an Apple Watch-like appearance, according to leaker ShrimpApplePro. The displays would remain flat with the slimmer, curved edges, similar to the Series 7 and Series 8 Apple Watch models.
The iPhone 15 models could also have curved front glass, but they are not expected to have slimmer bezels.
Rather than stainless steel, the iPhone 15 Pro models are expected to use a titanium frame, which has been rumored by several sources at this point. Titanium is used for the Apple Watch Ultra, and it is lighter and more durable than stainless steel. It is, however, also more expensive.
Solid-State Volume and Power Buttons
The iPhone 15 Pro models are expected to feature solid-state volume and power buttons that would be similar to the Home button in the iPhone 7 and the Force Touch trackpad on MacBooks. As of now, the iPhones use a mechanical button that physically depresses, but the solid-state button would use haptic feedback to instead mimic the feel of a button press.
If Apple does add solid-state buttons, the iPhone 15 Pro models could have two additional Taptic Engines at the left and right sides of the device. The two new Taptic Engines would join the existing Taptic Engine.
A solid-state design could perhaps protect against water ingress, but it would likely require new iPhone case designs that offer physical access to the volume and power buttons at all times.
No Touch ID
Though there have been ongoing rumors suggesting Apple has considered bringing Touch ID back to its flagship iPhones using an under-display solution, the iPhone 15 models are not expected to include Touch ID and will continue to use Face ID.
Apple is working on an under-display Face ID feature, but it won't be ready until 2025. Instead, in 2023, the iPhone 15 will continue to use the Dynamic Island, which Apple could expand to all models instead of just the Pro models.
Apple is considering swapping the Lightning port on the iPhone 15 devices for a USB-C port, which would allow it to comply with European regulations that are in the process of being passed. These regulations would require Apple to produce iPhones with USB-C ports in Europe, so Apple either needs to make a worldwide design swap or develop special iPhones for sale in Europe.
Reliable sources that include Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo have said that Apple is going to make the swap, so this is a strong possibility at the current time. Of course, Apple's plans could change.
Data Transfer Speeds
The iPhone 15 Pro models with USB-C ports will support higher-speed data transfer speeds, while the standard iPhone 15 models will continue to feature USB 2.0 speeds, the same as Lightning.According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the iPhone 15 Pro models will support "at least" USB 3.2 or Thunderbolt 3. With the upgrade, iPhone 15 Pro models would be able to transfer video and other file types at much quicker speeds.USB 2.0 transfer speeds are limited to 480Mb/s, while USB 3.2 supports speeds up to 20Gb/s. If Apple offers Thunderbolt 3 support for the iPhone 15 Pro models, data transfer speeds could be up to 40Gb/s.
Periscope Camera Lens Technology
There have been multiple rumors about Apple's work on "periscope" telephoto lens technology, and this type of lens could be introduced in the 2023 iPhones, likely in the iPhone 15 Pro models. According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, only the larger iPhone 15 Pro Max is going to get the periscope camera lens, so it's possible it will be limited to the highest-end and most expensive model.
Periscope lens technology offers optical zoom capabilities that exceed those possible with a standard telephoto lens, allowing for 5x or even 10x optical zoom. With a periscope lens, the iPhone's zoom capabilities would be significantly enhanced as the current Pro models are limited to 3x zoom.
Apple competitor Samsung has come out with smartphones that use periscope lens technology that enables 4x to 10x optical zoom and up to 100x digital zoom. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Apple will implement 6x optical zoom technology when it adopts the periscope lens.
While periscope lens technology will be limited to the larger iPhone 15 Pro models in 2023, it is expected to expand to both iPhone 16 Pro models in 2024. That means the 6.1-inch iPhone 16 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 16 Pro Max will both have the updated periscope telephoto lens.
Apple is expected to adopt Sony's latest "state of the art" image sensors for the iPhone 15 models. Compared to standard sensors, Sony's image sensor doubles the saturation signal in each pixel, allowing it to capture more light to cut down on underexposure and overexposure. The sensor will allow for improvements in portraits and other images even when strong backlighting is an issue.
Sony is using semiconductor architecture that puts photodiodes and transistors in separate layers, allowing for more photodiodes. It is not clear if all of the iPhone 15 models will use the new sensor technology, or if Apple will limit it to the higher-end "Pro" iPhone 15 models.
Qualcomm Modem Chips
Apple will use Qualcomm's 5G modem chips for the 2023 iPhone 15 lineup, as it has done since 5G iPhones were introduced. There were rumors suggesting that Apple could use its own in-house modem chips as soon as 2023, but the technology is not yet ready.
Apple is working to overcome heat-related issues with the modem chips that it is creating, and the Apple-designed modem chips will not be ready for use in iPhones until at least 2024.
The iPhone 15 is expected to be equipped with the Qualcomm X70 chip, which has improved AI for faster processing speeds, a better coverage range, improved signal, lower latency, and up to 60 percent improved power efficiency.
The iPhone 15 models could be the first to feature an A-series chip built on Apple supplier TSMC's next-generation 3-nanometer node. 3nm chip technology is expected to increase processing performance by 10 to 15 percent, while also reducing power consumption by up to 35 percent.
Apple chip supplier TSMC is rumored to be scaling back on plans for 3-nanometer chips after losing an order from Intel. It is not clear if the disruption will impact Apple's 3nm chip production, but TSMC is producing the 3nm A17 chips expected to be used in the iPhone 15 models.
The iPhone 15 Pro models could feature an increased 8GB RAM, according to Taiwanese research firm TrendForce. Current iPhone 14 Pro models offer 6GB RAM.
Rumors suggest that the iPhone 15 Pro models will use the same LPDDR5 memory that is in the current iPhone 14 Pro models, with no notable updates coming until the iPhone 16, with Apple set to upgrade to LPDDR5X memory in 2024.
Unverified rumors from Weibo have suggested the iPhone 15 Pro models could be more expensive, creating a larger gap between the price of the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max and the iPhone 15 Plus.
Right now, the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max are priced starting at $999 and $1099, respectively, so a higher price tag would mean the iPhone 15 Pro starting price could be over $1000 if the rumor is accurate.
The iPhone 15 models will likely be released in September 2023 if Apple follows its traditional September launch timeline.
Beyond the iPhone 15
Apple is planning to implement under-display Face ID technology in the 2024 iPhone 16 models, according to The Elec. The shift will provide more usable display area, and when not in use, the TrueDepth Camera for Face ID will not be visible as it will be under the display.
The Dynamic Island is not likely to be eliminated because the iPhone will still need a front-facing camera